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7-Misc: Via Campesina supports Indian farmers against WTO and GE



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Via Campesina	
International farmers movement
Movimiento campesino international
Mouvement paysan international

secretaria operativa/operative secretariat:
Apdo Postal 3628 Tegucigalpa, MDC Honduras, C.A. 
Tel & fax : + 504 220 1218
E-mail: viacam@gbm.hn

Press release
Tegucigalpa 22/2/99


Via Campesina supports Indian farmers in struggle against WTO, Monsanto 
and the introduction of genetic engineering in India


On the 28th of November 1998 the Indian farmers' organisation KRRS 
cremated a field of genetically modified cotton plants. The  genetically 
modified crop was illegally planted by Monsanto without even having  
informed the owner of the field. Therefore the owner agreed and 
collaborated in the action.

Monsanto, as well as other TNC's are forcing genetically engineered 
products down the throat of farmers in order to gain greater control over 
the food chain to increase their profits. The ultimate proof of this 
strategy is the terminator technology. At the moment Monsanto is buying 
the company that developed the terminator technology and obtained a 
patent on it. This technology makes plants produce sterile seeds : 
Farmers using these crops cannot save any seeds and have to buy the seeds 
every year again from companies like Monsanto that sell the seeds. The 
patent gives Monsanto full control over this technology.

The introduction of this technology will force millions of farmers into 
direct dependence on the TNC's. Gene-technology products for agriculture 
developed so far, like terminator technology, BT-crops, herbicide 
resistance etc. are a threat to the environment and represent no benefit 
at all for farmers or consumers. They will be sold at a high price to the 
poorest farmers through the micro credit systems. TNC's like Monsanto 
want to selltheir products through the micro credit system because the 
poorest farmers are most reliable in paying back their loans (ca 98% is  
paid back). This makes it highly profitable for TNC's to sell their 
products through this channel.

During the so called " green revolution " this was a current practise and 
Monsanto tried the same through a partnership with the Grameenbank in 
Bangladesh.  This has failed to date due to pressure from social 
movements. 

Genetic engineering can only be seen, like the introduction of  
pesticides, as a next step in the industrialisation of agriculture at the 
expense of farmers, consumers and the environment. We call upon 
governments to stop the development of this backward destructive 
technology and to promote and support a future orientated farming system 
: the currently existing farmer based sustainable agricultural 
production, based on local resources and the long experiences of the men 
and women who farm.

Via Campesina fully supports the actions undertaken by KRRS and other 
Indian organisations and praise the courage of Indian farmers to counter 
the irresponsible and destructive behaviour of Monsanto in order to 
protect the environment and the local biodiversity by up rooting the 
modified cotton plants and neutralising them through cremation.

Via Campesina calls for further actions world wide against the 
introduction of  genetic engineering in agriculture. Via Campesina 
supports the demands of the KRRS and other Indian organisations:
- a total ban on the testing of genetic engineering in agriculture
- no patents on life, no amendment of the Indian patent act.
- Monsanto should leave India
- India should withdraw from the WTO

Via Campesina calls for following concrete action :

- make your support public and write to Monsanto and other TNC's to stop 
the introduction of genetic engineering in agriculture,
- to urge your governments to implement an immediate ban on the 
introduction of genetic engineering in agriculture and especially on the 
introduction of the terminator technology,
- to ask for direct action by your government against illegal actions by 
TNC's,
- actions to protect our agriculture against contamination and 
destruction through the introduction of genetic engineering in 
agriculture,
- to ask your government to avoid the abuse of micro credit systems by 
TNC's.
- to ask your government cease investing in backward and destructive 
technologies like genetic engineering and to put their effort into the 
support and the strengthening of the existing farmer based, sustainable 
agricultural systems.


===================================================
-| Hartmut Meyer
-| Co-ordinator
-| GENET
-| The European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering
-|
-| Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51
-| D - 37083 Goettingen
-| Germany
-| 
-| phone: #49-551-7700027
-| fax  : #49-551-7701672
-| email: genet@agoranet.be
===================================================

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