GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

[genet-news] AGRICULTURE & DEVELOPMENT: Farmers stop 'secret' GM rice trials in Karnataka (India)



                                  PART 1


------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   FARMERS STOP 'SECRET' GM RICE

SOURCE:  The Times of India, India

AUTHOR:  Tamil News Network, India, by Jayashree Nandi

URL:     http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Farmers-stop-secret-GM-rice/articleshow/6944074.cms

DATE:    18.11.2010

SUMMARY: "After Bt brinjal, it is the genetically modified rice that has started facing heat from the farming community. Right in the backyard of Bangalore, a GM rice field trial is being carried out on one of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra farms. Local farmers on Wednesday destroyed the paddy grown on the farm and set fire to some stacks to show their resistance to GM rice. Farmers of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha have been opposing genetically modified crops for a long time and are demanding seed independence."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


FARMERS STOP 'SECRET' GM RICE

BANGALORE: After Bt brinjal, it is the genetically modified rice that has started facing heat from the farming community.

Right in the backyard of Bangalore, a GM rice field trial is being carried out on one of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) farms. Local farmers on Wednesday destroyed the paddy grown on the farm and set fire to some stacks to show their resistance to GM rice.

Farmers of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) have been opposing genetically modified crops for a long time and are demanding seed independence.

GM rice using a transgenic SPT (Seed Production Technology) is under trial at a one-acre farm in Doddballapur on the outskirts of Bangalore. While the local farmers had no clue that this was being carried out, when they found out about it on Tuesday, they were outraged that a public-funded institution like KVK was carrying out field trials of GM rice and even without the local panchayat's knowledge.

A group of 75 people shouted slogans demanding justice for the farming community and destroyed the paddy with their scythes. As soon as they broke into the wire-fenced field trial zone, local police vans also reached the spot. The group managed to destroy the crops and set fire to some heaps, but they were dragged out of the farm and pushed into the police van. There were no KVK officials at the site.

"They were secretly conducting field trials of GM rice. We are totally opposed to this technology. Why are they trying GM seeds without our knowledge? Many cotton farmers had a bad experience with Bt cotton, and we also understand that these technologies are only for the benefit of multinational companies. It is shocking to see how public-funded institutions are not working for the benefit of the farmers," said KRRS vice president Venkata Reddy.

He said: "GM rice is a threat not just to the farmer but to all because of its health and environmental impacts.''

PANCHAYAT-SPEAK

"We were not informed of the trials. No one was asked for permission. In fact we got to know about it only after the KRRS farmers protested," confirmed H Nagaraj, gram panchayat member, Hadanahalli.

WHAT SCIENTIST/KVK SAYS

Asked about the nature of contract of KVK with the GM rice company, Du Pont, scientist who is dealing with the experiment, said it was only a test that KVK was helping the company conduct at their farm.

N Rajanna, programme co-ordinator, KVK, said many farmers visit their farms regularly and some like KRRS are opposed to GM crops.

The farmers demanded that traditional seeds be restored and KVK should document the biosafety of GM seeds. They also demanded that the university should not allow multinational companies to do field trials in their land. Charges of criminal trespass and property destruction were filed against the farmer leaders who protested.

WHERE?

Doddaballapur, where the field trial farm is located, is around 40 km from Bangalore, and is one of the main agriculture and sericulture hubs of Karnataka.

STAPLE CROP

Rice is the staple food of two-thirds of our population. According to the information available published under the RTI act and from the minutes of the GEAC (genetic engineering approval committee) meetings, there are more than 35 events of GM rice that are in various stages of research. Various varieties that claim that they are insecticide-, drought-, fungi- and bacteria-resistant. Seed production technology (creating male sterile lines) is currently being researched in India. The argument being used to promote GM rice is that it will be able to deal with food insecurity and vagaries of climate



                                  PART 2

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   FARMERS SEE RED IN GENETICALLY MODIFIED RICE TRIAL IN KARNATAKA

SOURCE:  Daily News and Analysis, India (DNA)

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_farmers-see-red-in-genetically-modified-rice-trial-in-karnataka_1468391

DATE:    18.11.2010

SUMMARY: "The farmers under the KRRS tried to stop the field trial of Dupont?s genetically modified paddy. The organisation said the trial was being conducted without necessary precautions to prevent the GM seeds mixing with and contaminating other varieties used in the area. ?GM rice is a threat not just to the farmer, but to every citizen in the country due to the threat it poses to health and environment. Several scientific studies across the world have confirmed the same,? Dr Venkata Reddy, vice-president, KRRS, said."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


FARMERS SEE RED IN GENETICALLY MODIFIED RICE TRIAL IN KARNATAKA

The police arrested 16 activists of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) for ?trespassing? into a field at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra on Wednesday. They were later released.

The farmers were protesting at the KVK, under GKVK, against the multinational seed corporations trying to take control over India?s seed sector.

The farmers under the KRRS tried to stop the field trial of Dupont?s genetically modified (GM) paddy. The organisation said the trial was being conducted without necessary precautions to prevent the GM seeds mixing with and contaminating other varieties used in the area.

?GM rice is a threat not just to the farmer, but to every citizen in the country due to the threat it poses to health and environment. Several scientific studies across the world have confirmed the same,? Dr Venkata Reddy, vice-president, KRRS, said.

Dupont, the second largest seed corporation in the world after Monsanto, is developing GM rice using a transgenic SPT (seed production technology), which basically leads to an increase in large quantities of genetically male-sterile female inbred parent seed. This could then be used for commercial hybrid seed production, KRRS said in a statement.

The sangha also pointed out that the trial has been violating several norms. ?The local panchayat was not informed about the trial, contrary to the existing rules,? a spokesperson said.

He further said, ?The locals were not notified about these dangerous experiments in any manner. There was also free access to the trial plot which, in the absence of any warning, could lead to the seeds getting mixed up with the other regular rice varieties and contaminating them in the process.?

The Sangha pointed out that the practise had been banned inKerala, where there was no open release, or experiments, of GM rice.

Earlier in the year, Bt Brinjal, the first GM food crop to reachthe stage of commercialisation, was put under an indefinite moratorium by the Union environment ministry.

The KRRS said that seed companies and their promoters in the government have been trying to push for open air experiments of a variety of GM crops including GM rice, and violated basic minimum requirements several times, after the moratorium on Bt Brinjal.

Dr Reddy urged the public sector research institutions in Karnataka to conduct research in favour of the farmer and not for the profit-motivated seed companies.

He also urged the state government to declare Karnataka as a GM-free state and demand the central government to stop such experiments in the state.

Agriculture was a state subject and the state government needed to play an active role in ensuring that citizens of Karnataka were safeguarded from such dangerous experiments, he added.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GENET-news is a public news service from GENET.
Visit GENET website to learn more about GENET: www.genet-info.org
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~