Skip to main content

Child labour on controvertial MNC Monsanto Bt cotton farms just 0.18% of workforce, but 28% on other farms: Dutch report

By Our Representative
A well-researched Dutch report, which has sharply criticized Gujarat and Rajasthan governments for failing to take any steps against child labour in Bt cotton farms, has surprisingly praised multinational corporations (MNCs), including the controversial Monsanto, for taking “exemplary” initiatives in fighting the evil. It has said, efforts by “Bayer, Monsanto, Du Pont and few local companies have had some positive impact in reducing the number of working children.”
Giving data of of “positive impact” of MNCs, the report, titled "Cotton's Forgotten Children", authored by Dr Davuluri Venkateswarlu, says, “The proportion of child labour to the total workforce on the farms producing seeds for these companies has dropped significantly”, and in 2014-15 it has reached “less than 2 per cent.”
Approvingly quoting the data provided by Bayer and Monsanto, report,released in The Hague last week, says, “The incidence child labour in terms of proportion of children to total workers for 2014-15 is 0.014% on Bayer farms and 0.18% on Monsanto farms”.
As against this, the report says, during 2014-15, the proportion of children (below 14 years) to the total workforce on farms producing seeds by non-MNC companies, including Mahyco, which has a tieup with Monsanto, varied “between 20.4% and 28.6% in different states”.
This wasn’t achieved easily, though, the report suggests. “Since 2010, many developments have occurred which have influenced the nature and magnitude of child labour and working conditions of the labourers in the Indian seed industry. The intensified pressure from international NGOs and social investors like Norges Bank urged MNCs like Bayer, Monsanto, Syngenta and DuPont to continue their efforts to address the problem of child labour in their supply chain.”
The report points to how “the decision of Norges Bank to exclude Zuari seed company from its investment portfolio in 2013, as result of the prevalence of child labour, sent strong signals to companies about human rights concerns of social investors.”
Thanks to this, it adds, “Other companies like Namdhari, Kalash Seeds (formerly Bejo Sheetal), Advanta, Nuziveedu etc. have started interventions, though in a limited way, to address the issues of child labour in their suppliers’ farms.”
The report studied a total of 396 farms surveyed, pointing out, of these, 138 (35%) were producing seed for multinationals or its joint venture partners and the remaining 258 for local Indian companies. It says, “The names of MNCs included in the survey are Monsanto and its Indian partner Mahyco (Monsanto holds 26% share in Mahyco), Bayer, Advanta (owned by United Prosperous Ltd) and Xylem Seeds (subsidiary of DuPont Pioneer).”
Refusing to take a stand against the genetically modified (GM) cotton seed, despite a strong environmental lobbies led by Vandana Shiva against it, the report says, “The term ‘hybrid’ refers to a plant variety developed through specific, controlled crossing of two parent plants. Usually, the parents are naturally compatible varieties within the same species.”
Favouring this “hybridization, or the crossing of compatible varieties”, the report says, this happens “naturally in the wild; plant breeders basically just steer the process to control the outcome.” It adds, “Unlike hybrids, which are developed in the field using natural, low-tech methods, GM varieties are created in a lab using highly complex technology, such as gene splicing.”
The report further says, “These high-tech GM varieties can include genes from several species — a phenomenon that almost never occurs in nature. The Bt technology developed by Monsanto includes genetic material from the bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), which kills bollworm pest.”
Pointing out that this hybrid technology was introduced in cotton in 1970s in India, the report says, “In early 2000s Bt technology was incorporated in existing cotton hybrids. Whether it is traditional hybrid or Bt hybrid the process used for multiplication of seed (emasculation and pollination) is same.”
“The area under Bt cotton hybrids, has seen a significant increase in recent years. Bt cotton was officially introduced in India in 2002-03. Beginning with 93,992 acres in 2002-03, the area under Bt cotton hybrids increased to nearly 31 million acres covering about 94% of the total cotton area in 2013-14”, the report says.
The production area controlled by Monsanto, Bayer, DuPont, Advanta, Mahyco (Monsanto partner) increased almost four times from 7,680 acres in 2006-07 to 30,000 acres in 2014-15. During the same period the share of MNCs in the total production area increased from 12.7% to 31.6%.”

Comments

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

TN woman's No Caste, No Religion struggle 'follows' ideals of Marx, Ambedkar, Periyar

By Sheshu Babu*
In these days of rising communal tensions, a courageous woman from Tamil Nadu achieved her dream of obtaining 'No Caste, No Religion' certificate through persistent struggle. This is quite a significant achievement. It comes alongside some colleges in West Bengal introducing 'humanity', 'agnostic' , 'secular' or 'non-religious' in the application forms for online submission for students who are unwilling to disclose their faith.

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

Modi used to 'run errands' during Emergency, his role was that much: Top JP associate

By Rajiv Shah
In a sharp exposure, well-known Gujarati critic, journalist and activist Prakash N Shah, who had been among the main contact persons of Jay Prakash Narayan (JP) in Gujarat, has recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “merely running errands” during the Emergency (1975-77) period, adding the PM’s stature has been “sought to be unnecessarily inflated”, though adding, he is not saying this to “belittle him.”

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Govt of India 'moves' to hold Assam-type foreigners' tribunals across India, warns report

Counterview Desk
A People’s Tribunal on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has warned in its interim jury report that two recent notifications of the Government of India may lay down the groundwork for triggering an NRC process in different parts of the country, pointing towards recent moves towards this.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk
“Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

New sample suggests high pollution off Vadodara effluent channel, 'requires' action

Counterview Desk 
Gujarat’s top environmental group Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) has sharply criticized the Gujarat Pollution Control Board’s (GPCB’s) “on-serious, casual letter” dated September 5, which allegedly suggests that the top state state agency does not favour taking any action Central Gujarat’s effluent treatment plant, Vadodara Enviro Channel Ltd (VECL).