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[genet-news] AGRICULTURE & DEVELOPMENT: Vidarbha (India) farmers, widows to protest Obama’s visit



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:   VIDARBHA FARMERS, WIDOWS TO PROTEST OBAMA?S VISIT

SOURCE:  Thaindian News, Thailand

AUTHOR:  Indo-Asian News Service, India

URL:     http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/business/vidarbha-farmers-widows-to-protest-obamas-visit_100454738.html

DATE:    04.11.2010

SUMMARY: "Farmers all over Vidarbha in eastern Maharashtra will stage candle-light protests on the eve of US President Barack Obama?s visit Friday, seeking to draw his attention to the plight of agriculture sector in the region, an official said. The US policy of providing huge subsidies to cotton farmers in America has triggered over 216,000 farmland suicides in India, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishor Tiwari said in a statement here Thursday."

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VIDARBHA FARMERS, WIDOWS TO PROTEST OBAMA?S VISIT

Farmers all over Vidarbha in eastern Maharashtra will stage candle-light protests on the eve of US President Barack Obama?s visit Friday, seeking to draw his attention to the plight of agriculture sector in the region, an official said.

The US policy of providing huge subsidies to cotton farmers in America has triggered over 216,000 farmland suicides in India, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) chief Kishor Tiwari said in a statement here Thursday.

He said that farmland widows would light a candle in all the affected villages in Vidarbha and they would make attempts to send a group of widows to Mumbai to protest Obama?s visit.

?After permission was granted to commercially cultivate American Bt. Cotton, the lush green Vidarbha cotton fields became dying fields, claiming lives of more than 10,000 farmers ? who opted for this (Bt. Cotton) seed,? Tiwari said.

He said the NGO wants to inform the US president how the claims that Bt. Cotton brought genetic revolution in agriculture are a hoax and lead to distress for over three-fourths of farmers using it and an average of three suicides per day.

Tiwari pointed out that while the whole country gets ready to celebrate Diwali Friday, six farmers committed suicide in the past two days ? taking the toll to 645 in 2010.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:   DAY 28 OF FARMERS MARCHING ACROSS INDIA TO SAVE AGRICULTURE

SOURCE:  Digital Journal, USA

AUTHOR:  Srijit Mishra

URL:     http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/299546#ixzz13quHu7eK

DATE:    29.10.2010

SUMMARY: "The Kisan Swaraj Yatra, known as the Farmers Freedom tour, is mobilizing farmers and public opinion across states of India. It is a call to save Indian agriculture. A number of farmers and farmer organization have come together under the banner of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA, which literally means hope in many Indian languages) and are touring across the country."

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DAY 28 OF FARMERS MARCHING ACROSS INDIA TO SAVE AGRICULTURE

Coimbatore - The Kisan Swaraj Yatra, known as the Farmers Freedom tour, is mobilizing farmers and public opinion across states of India. It is a call to save Indian agriculture.

A number of farmers and farmer organization have come together under the banner of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA, which literally means hope in many Indian languages) and are touring across the country. The Kisan Swaraj Yatra started on 2 October 2010, Mahatma Gandhi's 141st birthday, from Sabarmati, the same place from where Mahatma Gandhi had started his famous salt sayagraha or Dandi march on 12 March 1930. It will end on 11 December 2010 at Rajghat, New Delhi after having traveled across 20 states.

Today, on 29th October 2010, the yatra has traversed Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu and now reached Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore, a collaborating institute with Monsanto. Farmers' protested by donating money, which the authorities did not accept. The yatris message for the scientists is to take up research that benefit farmers and not the agribusiness corporations.

Farmers in their march as part of Kisan Swaraj Yatra protest against the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University's collaboration with Monsanto.

The overwhelming message from farmers and non-farmers, rural and urban areas, is that such a large mobilization to save Indian agriculture is the crying need today. The Yatra is raising issues like support systems for farmers, remunerative prices, control over seeds, land and other resources, forced displacement and the vicious cycle of high-cost chemical agriculture. The yatra has had Ministers in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka endorsing the demands, farmers taking out bullock-cart rallies, promising resolutely to be annadatas (providers of food) in the face of adversity and land-grabbing, adivasi (tribal) children laying out their vision of sustainable development, film personalities coming out in support, shopkeepers and transport officials donating money to keep the yatra going. 

To support their call, you may have a look at their petition <http://www.kisanswaraj.in/petition/> to the Indian government.

The Kisan Swaraj Yatra is an initiative to strike out a new path in agriculture, which provides a dignified livelihood to all our farmers and farmworkers, and keeps our soil alive and our food and water healthy.

It questions the ethos that "there is no alternative" and throws upon a world of possibilities where "many alternatives exist" (MAE).



                                  PART 3

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TITLE:   INDIAN FARMERS SURPRISINGLY RESIST MODERN FARMING TECHNOLOGY USING GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEEDS

SOURCE:  Washington Bangla Radio, USA

AUTHOR:  Supratim Sanyal

URL:     http://www.washingtonbanglaradio.com/content/111388810-indian-farmers-surprisingly-resist-modern-farming-technology-using-genetically-mod

DATE:    03.11.2010

SUMMARY: "Indian farmers have been mobilizing to protest the introduction of genetically modified crops into India and what they see as a takeover of Indian agriculture by Monsanto and other multinational biotech giants. The protesters say the crops are disrupting the domestic seed market and reducing income for all farmers."

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INDIAN FARMERS SURPRISINGLY RESIST MODERN FARMING TECHNOLOGY USING GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEEDS

Indian farmers have been mobilizing to protest the introduction of genetically modified crops into India and what they see as a takeover of Indian agriculture by Monsanto and other multinational biotech giants. The protesters say the crops are disrupting the domestic seed market and reducing income for all farmers. With genetically engineered seeds, farmers are required to buy new seeds each year and apply heavy doses of pesticides and herbicides. Traditionally, Indian farmers have used domestic heirloom seeds which are less expensive and more environmentally friendly. Indian farmers have mobilized into a group known as Kisan Swaraj Yatra (KSY) to take their protests to the public and to government officials. One recent demonstration occurred at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, a partner with Monsanto in its trial of cotton, brinjal and corn.



                                  PART 4

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TITLE:   FARMER GROUPS CALL FOR END TO TRANSGENIC BRINJAL EXPERIMENTS

SOURCE:  The Hindu, India

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/agriculture/article841236.ece

DATE:    22.10.2010

SUMMARY: "Various organisations including the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha have reiterated their demand to stop all experiments on transgenic varieties of brinjal being carried out by the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad. [...] The protesters accused the university of biopiracy and undermining the rights of the farming community by taking up the development of Bt brinjal."

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FARMER GROUPS CALL FOR END TO TRANSGENIC BRINJAL EXPERIMENTS

University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, accused of biopiracy

Various organisations including the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) have reiterated their demand to stop all experiments on transgenic varieties of brinjal being carried out by the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Dharwad.

Representatives of groups such as Sahaja Samrudha, the KRRS, the Dharwad Organic Growers Association and Kheti Virasat Mission had gathered at the UAS, Dharwad, for the Brinjal Mela organised as part of the ?Kisan Swaraj Yatra' and used the occasion to express their views.

The protesters accused the university of biopiracy and undermining the rights of the farming community by taking up the development of Bt brinjal.

Convener of Sahaja Samrudha Krishna Prasad said the gathering was meant to begin a dialogue on the issue and protest against the ?wrong? research agenda of the university. He said the university had used traditional varieties of brinjal grown in Karnataka and Goa, including Udupi gulla or Mattu gulla, which has received Geographical Indication (GI) status, for its transgenic experiments without the required approvals from the State Biodiversity Board.

Funding for research

Addressing the gathering, chairman of the Western Ghats Task Force Anant Hegde Ashisar stressed the need to fund agricultural research projects keeping in mind the rural farmer. He said the task force had sought more funds to take up research in agri-biodiversity related issues.

President of the KRRS Kodihalli Chandrashekar raised the issue of proposed amendments to the seed Bill. He called for a debate on the rights of farmers to grow, sow, re-sow, share or sell their farm seeds and planting materials.

Yagna performed

As part of the mela, a UAS Dharwad Sadbuddhi Yagna was performed, with the protestors praying that scientists at the university take up pro-farmer agriculture research and stop siding with multinational companies.

Registrar of the UAS, Dharwad, K.S. Vijaykumar assured the gathering that the university would continue the dialogue with farmers and take up research activities keeping in mind the interest of the farmers.




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