Let Us All Work For the Greatness Of India

Food & Agriculture

  • [heading style=”1″]GM Food[/heading]

     

    1. Poison on the Platter

    Poison on the Platter, is an eye-opening film, made by Mahesh Bhatt and Ajay Kanchan, illustrating how all of our lives are gonna be (adversely) affected by genetically modified foods.

    It is no more a farmer’s issue alone, it’s a matter of the consumers’ right to food safety. You and I

    Let’s put up strong resistance, demanding a ban on GM food/crops for 5 years, until they are proven safe for human consumption by independent, long-term studies.wouldn’t even be able to separate/choose a normal Brinjal from/over a GM one, if Bt Brinjal – a GM crop produced by the mighty agri-MNC Monsanto – is let through by our corrupt regulatory body.

     

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    2. Genetically Modified Food: Panacea or Poison

    The fact is, there has never been a single study on the human safety of these products. Any implication to the contrary is a pure fabrication. Make the corporate apologists produce a single study, and they can not. The important point is this. Among scientists, the scientific community is deeply divided as to whether these foods are safe or not, so the burden of proof is on industry. And so far, the corporations have failed to demonstrate the safety of these foods on humans through a single study. In the last thirty years global demand for food has doubled. In a race to feed the planet, scientists have discovered how to manipulate DNA, the blueprint of life, and produce what they claim are stronger, more disease-resistant crops. However, fears that Genetically Modified Food may not be safe for humans or the environment has sparked violent protest. Are we participating in a dangerous global nutritional experiment? This informative film helps the viewer decide if the production of genetically modified food is a panacea for world hunger or a global poison.

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    3. The World According to Monsanto

    There’s nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it – it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. The story starts in the White House, where Monsanto often got its way by exerting disproportionate influence over policymakers via the “revolving door”. One example is Michael Taylor, who worked for Monsanto as an attorney before being appointed as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. While at the FDA, the authority that deals with all US food approvals, Taylor made crucial decisions that led to the approval of GE foods and crops. Then he returned to Monsanto, becoming the company’s vice president for public policy.

    Thanks to these intimate links between Monsanto and government agencies, the US adopted GE foods and crops without proper testing, without consumer labeling and in spite of serious questions hanging over their safety. Not coincidentally, Monsanto supplies 90 percent of the GE seeds used by the US market. Monsanto’s long arm stretched so far that, in the early nineties, the US Food and Drugs Agency even ignored warnings of their own scientists, who were cautioning that GE crops could cause negative health effects. Other tactics the company uses to stifle concerns about their products include misleading advertising, bribery and concealing scientific evidence.

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    4. The Health effects of GM Food – Mira Shiva

    Dr Mira Shiva is a prominent medical doctor and public health activist in India. She gave her inputs to public hearings on the introduction of Bt Brinjal in the country.

    She is Director, Women, Health & Development, Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI), Co-ordinator, All India Drug Action Network, and member of Doctors For Food and Biosafety.

    The interview was taken @Navdanya, Dehradun, India on 17th March 2011 by Bhavani Prakash.

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    [heading style=”1″]Impact of Pesticides[/heading]

    1. The Slow Poisoning of India

    The Slow Poisoning of India is a 26-minute documentary film directed by Ramesh Menon and produced by the New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). It deals with the dangers of excessive use of pesticide in agriculture. India is one of the largest users of pesticide in Asia and also one of the largest manufactures. The toxins have entered into the food chain and into our breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    The film showcases startling case studies from Kerala where villagers in Kasaragod district are paying a heavy price as it has been exposed to pesticide spraying for many years. It talks of the health impacts in other parts of India and also on how the magic of the green revolution in Punjab is fading as land and water bodies have been poisoned.

    But some farmers are bouncing back into better practices, and this is a silver lining shown towards the end. “Many farmers are now switching from chemcial to organic farming as they see that it is the only way out of getting into a spiralling whirlpool of debt created by the high cost of pesticides. Farmers like Tokia Modu in Warangal are waging a silent biological war against pests and are winning.

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    2. Monsanto found guilty of poisoning in pesticide case

    A court in the French city of Lyon has ruled US pesticides maker Monsanto was responsible for the poisoning of a farmer who had used one of their products on his crops. Paul Francois says he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

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    [heading style=”1″]Miscellaneous[/heading]

    1. Food Inc.

    For most Americans, the ideal meal is fast, cheap, and tasty. Food, Inc.examines the costs of putting value and convenience over nutrition and environmental impact.

    Director Robert Kenner explores the subject from all angles, talking to authors, advocates, farmers, and CEOs, like co-producer Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), Gary Hirschberg (Stonyfield Farms), and Barbara Kowalcyk, who’s been lobbying for more rigorous standards since E. coli claimed the life of her two-year-old son.

    The filmmaker takes his camera into slaughterhouses and factory farms where chickens grow too fast to walk properly, cows eat feed pumped with toxic chemicals, and illegal immigrants risk life and limb to bring these products to market at an affordable cost. If eco-docs tends to preach to the converted, Kenner presents his findings in such an engaging fashion that Food, Inc. may well reach the very viewers who could benefit from it the most: harried workers who don’t have the time or income to read every book and eat non-genetically modified produce every day.

    Though he covers some of the same ground as Super Size Me and King Korn, Food Inc.presents a broader picture of the problem, and if Kenner takes an understandably tough stance on particular politicians and corporations, he’s just as quick to praise those who are trying to be responsible – even Wal-Mart, which now carries organic products. That development may have more to do with economics than empathy, but the consumer still benefits, and every little bit counts.

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    2. How to Save the World

    What does an environmentally friendly biodynamic food system capable of feeding everyone actually look like? This film is a blueprint for a post-industrial future. It takes you into the heart of the world’s most important renaissance.

    The outcome of the battle for agricultural control in India may just dictate the future of the earth. Modern industrial agriculture is destroying the earth: Desertification, water scarcity, toxic cocktails of agricultural chemicals pervading our food chains, ocean ecosystem collapse, soil erosion and massive loss of soil fertility.

    Our ecosystems ore overwhelmed. Humanity’s increasing demands are exceeding the Earth’s carrying capacity. A simple recipe to save the world? One old man and a bucket of cow-dung. Are you crazy?

    Modern agriculture causes topsoil to be eroded at 3 million tons per hour. (that’s 26 billion tons a year) Human mass is replacing biomass and other species. The carrying capacity of the earth is almost spent. To maintain our comfort zone lifestyles we will soon need five earths to sustain us in the style to which we have become accustomed.

    The mantra of free trade has failed the world’s poor. There is a better way. Biodynamic agriculture may be the only answer we have left.

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    3. Rashtriya Kisan Sammelan Patanjali Yogpeeth (Kudrati Kheti)

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    4. Devender Sharma on Organic Farming

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    The Future of Food and Seed — Vandana Shiva

    Scientist, feminist, ecologist and author, Vandana Shiva, presenting the keynote address at the 2009 Organicology Conference in Portland, Oregon, on February 28, 2009.

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    Indigenous Knowledge, Bio-piracy etc.   — Vandana Shiva

    International seminar on Innovation, Sustainability and Development, Delhi, 28-30 June 2011.

    Hosted by the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies in partnership with the Centre for Development Studies-Trivandrum and the STEPS Centre.

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  • An Agricultural Testament by Sir Albert Howard

    An Agricultural Testament, is Sir Albert Howard’s best-known publication, and remains one of the seminal works in the history of organic farming agricultural movement.It focuses on the nature and management of soil fertility, and notably explores composting.At a time when modern, chemical-based industrialized agriculture was just beginning to radically alter food production, it advocated natural processes rather than man-made inputs as the superior approach to farming. It was first published in England in 1940, with the first American edition in 1943. Apart from a reprint by Rodale Press in 1972 and 1976 it remains out of print.

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    Report on the improvement of Indian agriculture  by John Augustus Voelcker

    In 1889 Dr. Voelcker, Consulting Chemist to the Royal Agricultural Society of England, was deputed to India to make inquiries and suggest improvements, in respect of Indian agriculture. And he wrote: “On one point there can be no question, viz. that the ideas generally entertained in England, and often given expression to even in India, that Indian agriculture is, as a whole, primitive and backward, and that little has been done to try and remedy it, are altogether erroneous. … At his best the Indian Ryot, or cultivator, is quite as good as, and in some respects the superior of, the average British farmer; whilst at his worst, it can only be said that this state is brought about largely by an absence of facilities for improvement which is probably unequalled in any other country, and that the Ryot will struggle on patiently and uncomplainingly in the face of difficulties in a way that no one else would.

    “Nor need our British farmers be surprised at what I say, for it must be remembered that the natives of India were cultivators of wheat centuries before we in England were. It is not likely, therefore, that their practice should be capable of much improvement. What does, however, prevent them from growing larger crops is the limited facilities to which they have access, such as the supply of water and manure. But, to take the ordinary acts of husbandry, nowhere would one find better instances of keeping land scrupulously clean from weeds, of ingenuity in device of water-raising appliances, of knowledge of soils and their capabilities, as well as the exact time to sow and to reap, as one would in Indian agriculture, and this not at its best alone, but at its ordinary level. It is wonderful, too, how much is known of rotation, the system of mixed crops and of fallowing. Certain it is that I, at least, have never seen a more perfect picture of careful cultivation, combined with hard labour, perseverance, and fertility of resource, than I have seen in many of the halting-places in my tour.”

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    The Violence of the Green Revolution by Dr. Vandana Shiva

    Vandana Shiva examines the impact of the first Green Revolution on the breadbasket of India. In a cogent empirical argument, she shows how the “quick fix” promise of large gains in output pushed aside serious pursuit of an alternative agricultural strategy grounded in respect for the environmental wisdom of peasant systems and building an egalitarian, needs-oriented agriculture consistent with the village-based, endogenous political traditons of Gandhism.

     Dr. Shiva documents the destruction of genetic diversity and soil fertility that resulted, and in highly orginal fashion shows how the Green Revolution also contributed to the acute social and political conflicts now tearing the Punjab apart.

    [document file=”http://dl.dropbox.com/u/31826205/site/greenrev.pdf” width=”600″ height=”400″]