Skip to main content

Monsanto's marketing success? Bt cotton: India's poor, vulnerable farmers dependent on rainfed farming "suffered"

By Our Representative
A top world expert has termed the world's biggest multinational seeds company, Monsanto, which is now being bought over by Bayer, and is involved in a dispute with the Government of India on how much of royalty it should take back to home on selling it's genetically modified (GM) seeds, as nothing more than a "marketing success."
In Ahmedabad on Tuesday, where she addressed government officials, experts and activists, Angelika Hilbeck of the Institute of Integrative Biology, Agroecology & Environmental Biosafety Group, Zurich, Switzerland, said, the controversial US MNC functions just on one model, which is easy to predict -- share market.
Calling it "essentially a licensing company", Hilbeck said, after working with GM seeds for several, and facing severe criticism over its failure of huge claims of their success world over, "it is withdrawing and is being bought over by Bayer,another MNC, as it isn't sure any more with its consumers. Hence it wants to get away from the business."
"The yields from Monsanto seeds are tabling off. It is running against the wall. Things are running off", Hilbeck said, amidst reports that it's deal with Bayer is facing a major hurdle in the US: More than 1 million petition signatures were recently delivered by farming, consumer and environmental groups to the US Department of Justice calling on the department to block the proposed merger of Bayer and Monsanto.
The signatures, said a report, were delivered as two new studies "revealed irreversible impacts from the merger on consumers and farmers", adding, the studies released by Friends of the Earth, SumOfUs and the Open Markets Institute released analysis exploring the implications of how Bayer-Monsanto merger would impact competition and farmer choice, even as "magnify their market power in the seed/agrochemical sector and squeeze farmers and consumers."
Happy that India is refusing to bow down before Monsanto's plea for lower royalties the it should pay tongue government over its seeds, Hilbeck, who addressed media on the sidelines of her address, said, "This is largely because India is a democracy where bottom-up approach has been successful", insisting, however, the knowledge about organic farming without the use of chemical fertilizers remains low among the country's farmers.
India, Hilbeck said, is a signatory to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, an international agreement on biosafety as a supplement to the Convention on Biological Diversity effective since 2003, which seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by GM organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.
" Despite regulations, the implementation of the protocol remains weak", Hilbeck said, citing how insecticides on Bt cotton have almost doubled over the last few years. Data she released during her address showed, while insecticides on Bt cotton had been going down after it was introduced in early 2000s, in 2006 it was 4,623 metric tonnes, and reached 7,234 metric tonnes in 2013.
Pointing out that genetical engineering (GE) actually helps profiteer insecticide and fertilizer companies, she said, "Since the first commercial release of GE crops over 20 years ago, four commodity crops containing two types of GE traits produced in the same six countries -- USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, China -- are making up over 90% of all commercial GE plants grown worldwide to this day".
She continued, "Bt cotton in India is the most prominent example with wildly differing claims of success and failure for small holders", even though "deeper analyses show that it benefited 'small holders' at the upper end of the scale, meaning those with larger land holdings, irrigation systems and better education but failed the poorest of the poor and most vulnerable small scale producers on the lower end of the scale with very small holdings and rainfed cotton systems."

Comments

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.

Kashmirisation of India? Ayodhya communal harmony meet: Activists stopped, detained

Counterview Desk
In a joint statement, three civil rights organizations, Rihai Manch, National Alliance of People's Movements and Lok Rajniti Manch, and Socialist Party (India), have taken strong exception to the Uttar Pradesh government taking "preventive" steps against those seeking to hold a meeting on communal harmony at Ayodhya.