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7-Business: Farmers bodies oppose Indo-US research initiative



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Farmers against agri-initiatives
SOURCE: The Financial Express, India, by  Ashok B. Sharma
        http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=118529
DATE:   23 Feb 2006

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Farmers against agri-initiatives

NEW DELHI, FEB 23:  Similar to the country's nuclear deal with US, the
proposed Rs 1000 crore India-US Knowledge Initiative in Agricultural
Research and Education has become controversial with leading farmers'
organisation opposing the move.
The proposed partnership is aimed at transforming the country's farm
sector and research on the lines of that in US. Transgenic technology in
crops and animals is the core of the collaborative research programme.

The Indian government has proposed to allocate Rs 190 crore for
researches in crop biotechnology and Rs 200 crore for application of
transgenic technology in livestock and poultry in the remaining years of
the 10th Plan period and in the forthcoming 11th Plan period.

Rs 125 crore is likely to be the allocation for transforming
agricultural research. Other areas in which allocations are likely to be
made are - Rs 195 crore for natural resource management, Rs 200 crore
for value-addition, quality assurance and safety of agricultural and
food products and Rs 90 crore for developing agricultural-business strategies.

The proposed collaboration in research and education was mooted during
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's visit to US. Subsequently, a team of
Indian agricultural scientists visited US in December 2005 to work out
the modalities of the programme. A team of US agricultural scientists
are now in Delhi to prepare the final action plan.

Incidentally, the opposition to the proposed initiative in farm sector
has come from the farmers' outfits of ruling UPA coalition partners.
They have demanded a debate on the issue in both the houses of the
Parliament before the government signs the deal.

The executive chairman of the Congress party's outfit, Bharat Krishak
Samaj, Krishan Bir Chaudhary said, "The proposed venture is against the
interests of Indian farmers. Indian agricultural research system will
now be oriented to suit the needs of MNCs and the US. The programme will
facilitate biopiracy by US companies. India would pour in huge
investments only to facilitate the monopoly of MNCs."

He added that transgenic technology worldwide has created health and
environmental hazards and consumers are reluctant about GM foods.

The US through this collaboration intends to thrust GM food on Indian
consumers. The US and MNCs will gain free access to the genetic
biodiversity and indulge in biopiracy.

Efforts would be initiated for public-private partnership where the
private sector can help identify research areas that have the potential
for rapid commercialisation.

The joint secretary of CPM's farmers' outfit, NK Shukla said : "By this
agreement, US would extend a strong patent regime in agriculture,
affecting the interests of Indian farmers."


                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Farmers bodies oppose Indo-US research initiative
SOURCE: The Financial Express, India, by  Ashok B. Sharma
        http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=117962
DATE:   17 Feb 2006

------------------ archive:  http://www.genet-info.org/ ------------------


Farmers bodies oppose Indo-US research initiative

NEW DELHI, FEB 17: The proposed multi-crore India-US Knowledge
Initiative in Agri Research and Education has run into rough weather
with the farmers' organisations of the UPA coalition partners opposing
the move.

The proposed collaboration in agri research and education was mooted in
July 2005 during Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's visit to US.
Subsequently, a team of Indian agri scientists visited US in December
2005 to work out the modalities of the programme. A team of US agri
scientists are now in Delhi to prepare the final action plan ahead of
the expected visit of President Bush.

The farmers' organisations have criticised the move as 'surrendering the
interests of Indian peasants to the multinationals based in US'. They
have demanded that the government make the details of the programme
public and initiate a debate in both the houses of the Parliament.

The joint initiative intends to develop new and commercially viable
technologies for agricultural advancement in both countries. Efforts
would be initiated for public-private partnership where the private
sector can help identify research areas that have the potential for
rapid commercialisation. Transgenic technology and genomics would be
used for harnessing genetic potential of agriculturally important plant
and animal species.

Speaking To FE, the executive chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj, Dr
Krishan Bir Chaudhary said, "This agreement is against the interests of
Indian farmers. High skilled Indian agri scientists who have so far been
working for the interests of country's farmers will now be forced to
work for the US agriculture and dance to the tune of multinationals.
India would pour in huge investments only to facilitate the monopoly of
multinationals."

He further said that transgenic technology worldwide in crops has
created health and environmental hazards and consumers are reluctant to
consume GM foods. The US through this collaboration intends to thrust GM
food on Indian consumers. The US and multinationals will gain free
access to the genetic biodiversity and indulge in biopiracy.

Dr Chaudhary alleged that already the prime minister and the agriculture
minister have begun dancing to the tune of US and multinationals by
suggesting that farmers diversify out of wheat and rice cultivation,
when the government apprehending shortage has planned to import 5 lakh
tonne of wheat. He said that the government is enacting a law to
facilitate monopoly of multinationals over seeds.

The general secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, Atul Kumar Anjaan in
addition said, "The Indian scientists who would be pursing studies in US
under this exchange programme will have to pay a hefty fee of Rs 400
crore." He criticised the government's move to invite FDI in retail
sector as damaging to the interests of farmers and small retailers.

The joint secretary of CPM's farmers' outfit, NK Shukla said : "By this
agreement, US would extend a strong patent regime in agriculture,
affecting the interests of Indian farmers."

--
GENET
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