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GMO FREE REGIONS & PRODUCTS: On the GMO free movement in India



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  1,727 villages in Orissa declared GM free
SOURCE: Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security, India, Press Release
AUTHOR: GMWatch, UK
URL:    http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7692
DATE:   27.03.2007
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1,727 villages in Orissa declared GM free

Seven hundred newly elected representatives of Panchayats in Orissa and
the Governing Body members of Orissa Nari Samaj - a confederation of 53
block-level tribal women's organizations - resolved to protect nature,
promote biodiversity, and also took an oath NOT to cultivate Genetically
Modified (GM) crops.

The elected representatives declared 1,727 villages falling under 130
Panchayats in 12 districts as GM Free villages. These villages are in
the districts of Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Nawarangpur, Kalahandi,
Bargarh, Bolangir, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Sundargarh,
Mayurbhanj in Orissa.

This brings the total number of villages in the country, which have
decided to remain GM free, close to 1,900. These GM Free villages are
located in Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The oath in Orissa was taken at a conference organized by the Team for
Human Resource Education and Action for Development (THREAD) on "Model
Panchayats in Orissa£ at Siddharth village, Khurda, near Bhubaneshwar on
Mar 20. The State Election Commissioner, Shri Sanjib Chandra Hota was
the chief guest at the conference and the Regional Coordinator of
Institute for Social Studies Mr. K.K Pattnaik delivered the keynote address.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr G.John, Executive Director of 'Team for
Human Resource Education and Action for Development' (THREAD) informed
that the Panchayat leaders have also sent memorandums to the Prime
Minister of India and the state Chief Minister stating clearly that they
will not cooperate with any activities of either the National
Biodiversity Authority or the State Biodiversity Board unless control
over local biodiversity and related knowledge is passed on to the
communities. Demanding protection of local knowledge against piracy,
they insisted that people's access to natural resources should be given
priority over commercial trade.

The leaders expressed hope that their action will be emulated by other
villages, which will force Orissa to turn into a GM-free state. They
resolved to work towards community control over biodiversity, to
preserve and protect biodiversity for the sake of food sovereignty.
These leaders have already launched a movement against GM seeds in the
tribal belt.

Orissa Nari Samaj had continuously been opposed to the entry of GM crop
seeds since 2005. Decrying the seed company's agenda to lay siege to
poor farmer's livelihood, it had earlier sent thousands of letters from
2,500 villages in 53 blocks to the Chief Minister and the Chairman of
the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) against the large
scale field trials of Bt Brinjal. In its endeavour to make the people of
the state aware of the hazards of GM crops as well as the advantages of
organic food, THREAD has so far printed and distributed about 40,000
posters throughout the state stating the same.


photograph caption: 700 elected Panchayat leaders and members of the
Orissa Nari Samaj (ONS) taking oath for establishing model GM free
Panchayats. These panchayats represent 1,727 villages in 12 districts of
Orissa


Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security
G-3F, DDA Flats, Munirka, New Delhi-110 067
Tel: 9811301857; 9811191335


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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  148 more villages of UP pledge to remain free of genetically
        modified crops
SOURCE: GMWatch, UK
AUTHOR: Press Release, by Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security, India
URL:    http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=7680
DATE:   24.03.2007
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148 more villages of UP pledge to remain free of genetically modified crops

Gonda (Uttar Pradesh): Nearly 5,000 farmers from 84 villages spanning
eight blocks of Gonda district in Uttar Pradesh have pledged NOT to
cultivate genetically modified (GM) crops and instead practice organic
farming. An oath to remain GM free was administered by the organizing
secretary of the Deendayal Research Institute (DRI), Mr Abhay Mahajan.

It may be recalled that 2,000 farmers from 64 villages of Chitrakoot and
Banda districts in Uttar Pradesh took a similar pledge on February 7,
2007. Food and trade policy analyst Mr Devinder Sharma had then
administered the oath on behalf of the 'Coalition for a GM Free India',
a collective of citizen groups, mass based organization and farmer unions.

This brings the total number of UP villages, which have pledged to
remain GM free to 148.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mahajan emphasized on the virtues and
relevance of organic farming. He asked farmers to come forward and take
up sustainable farming methods, which is the only way to evade suicides
and revert to healthy living. He said that DRI at Chitrakoot is showing
the path to sustainable development, and has turned into a boon for the
farmers in the surrounding areas.

The swearing-in event took place at a farmers fair organized at LBS
Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Gopal Gram, Gonda, Uttar Pradesh on Mar 16
to draw attention to Organic farming. Scientists from the Indian
Institute of Sugarcane Research (Lucknow), Indian Institute of Vegetable
Research (Varanasi), State Agriculture and Horticulture Departments
urged farmers to develop their own seeds and technologies suited to
their local requirements. #

Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security_G-3F, DDA Flats, Munirka, New
Delhi-110 067_Tel: 9811301857; 9811191335


-------------------- archived at  http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------


                                 PART III
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Mittabagilu farmers to reject genetically modified seeds
SOURCE: mangalorean.com, India
AUTHOR:
URL:    http://mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=local&newsid=40961
DATE:   23.03.2007
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Mittabagilu farmers to reject genetically modified seeds


MANGALORE March 23: Farmers of Mittabagilu in Belthangady taluk of
Dakshina Kannada district have decided not to use genetically modified
seeds for the next khariff crop. It is the first village in the State to
make such decision.

President of Guruvainakere-based NGO Nagarika Seva Trust told
presspersons here on Thursday that Mittabagilu was one of the few
villages in the country that had sustained cultivation and protection of
over 52 traditional varieties of paddy.

Campaign

The "Week of rice action" campaign would begin in village on Tuesday and
the farmers would jointly give a call to reject genetically modified
seeds of multinational companies, he said.

As a part of the campaign a one-day seminar would be held on Tuesday, he
said, adding that NGOs working in the area of paddy protection in Tamil
Nadu and Kerala would participate in it. Organic farming expert from
Tamil Nadu Nammalvar would be the main resource person, Mr. Nayak said.

Economist B.M. Kumaraswamy said that the agreement on agriculture of the
WTO had allowed multinational companies to patent most of the paddy
varieties. The entire paddy production in the country would be in the
domain of MNCs soon, he said.


-------------------- archived at  http://www.gene.ch/ --------------------


                                 PART IV
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Organic farming only solution- Swadeshi Jagaran Manch
SOURCE: mangalorean.com, India
AUTHOR:
URL:    http://mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=local&newsid=40927
DATE:   22.03.2007
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Organic farming only solution- Swadeshi Jagaran Manch

Mangalore March 22: Organic farming is the only method that can be a
protective measure against the tragedy caused by gene technology and
chemical farming, observed Swadeshi Jagaran Manch State Convener Prof B
M Kumaraswamy.

Delivering a lecture as part of the 'Save Paddy Campaign' organized by
Nagarika Seva Trust(NST) and Krishikara Vedike at NGO hall here on
Wednesday, he said the so-called advanced technologies of modern farming
were the treachery of various foreign companies which in turn had
resulted in the destruction of the fertility of farming land in the
developing countries.

"Their sole aim is to attain monopoly in the food sector, thus to create
a feeling among the farmers that their existence is inevitable for
alleviating hunger from the world. But the reality is that they are
going to increase the hunger and decrease the sustainability of fertile
fields", Prof Kumaraswamy explained.

Stating that the Green revolution of Punjab has been proved to be a
tragedy in the later years, he said the people of the region were still
experiencing the after effects of the chemical farming, which had been
meant for acceleration and multiplication of food production.

Illusion

He said the monopolistic companies dealing with biotechnology, had been
trying to impose an illusion on the farmers that the marginal farmers
could easily become rich in short span of time by using their
technology, which were environment friendly, safe and efficient.

"But the reality is different. By inventing and marketing genetically
engineered(GE) and genetically modified(GM) seeds, companies like
Monsanto, Singenta have created a situation, where the farmers are
forced to think that such seeds are inevitable for large scale
production. They are ignorant about the factor that by owing before the
gene technology, they are destroying the entire indigenous seed
culture", the expert observed.

It is also wrong to think that one can contribute to environmental
protection by joining hands with such companies. The basilus thorinjus
(BT) used in the technology spreads poison in the soil, eventually
making the entire field poisonous and barren, he stated.

The 'teminator technology' of the companies aim at producing 'impotent'
seeds, so that the farmer should purchase fresh seeds every year. The
technology is obviously a 'death warrant' to the environment which is
totally fatal to bio-diversity, Prof Kumaraswamy cautioned.

Former Mayor Judith Mascarenhas presided. NST chief Somanath Nayak was
present.


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