Susan Welcome to IWC chat on "GM Foods and
saraswati Hello susan
Susan Hi welcome
Susan Till others start coming in, may be you can
give an inrodn about the topic
saraswati Hello everyone. About todays topic - GM
Foods and Bio diversity. Simply put the future will
be either GM FOOD or BIO DIVERSITY
saraswati We are right now faced with an either or
situation. There is no middle path...if we say yes to
GM Crops today, we can say goodbye to Biodiversity...
Susan isn't that too harsh a view?
saraswati No, that is the only correct one...
saraswati One which is brushed under the carpet by
those who have a stake in the matters...
saraswati When a genetically modified organism is
introduced into an eco system it contaminates the
surrounding ecosystem at the genetic level
Susan explain in more detail please
saraswati Thus a lot of the original species will
get contaminated...take for example the cotton
crop...where ever they planted GM Cotton, there is no
normal variety cotton available to farmers
saraswati The normal variety cotton planted next to
a BT cotton field gets contaminated through cross
Susan Do you mean to say -if a farmer decides to
plant normal cotton, it won't grow anymore in the
saraswati through wind, bees, insects, butterflies,
human beings, water, animals etc
saraswati No it does not grow anymore...as has been
experienced by farmers
saraswati similarly since the normal cotton variety
gets contaminated, it will have the GM traits...so
the pure species will disappear
saraswati And GM crops are coming up with terminator
technology - that is the crop will not regenerate as
it normally happens in nature...
saraswati so, either we have a GM traited
crops....or we will end up with seeds that die after
the crop...can you imagine such a thing
Susan Which are the other major countries who have
adopted GM tech?
saraswati so each time a farmer has to go to the
scientist/ the company to get his seeds....which have
to be developed inside a lab
saraswati Mostly it is the USA...almost in all
countries including the UK, Europe and Australia,
Africa and Latin America
saraswati there is wide spread Consumer Protest and
farmers protest against GMO's
saraswati The Companies manufacturing/engineering GM
seeds are upto so much clandestine work...recently in
Susan I am still a little confused-Have these
countries lost all bio-diversity?
saraswati a state that declared itself GM Free (by
the state govt.)...Monsanto went and secretly planted
BT OKRA (bhindi) in the middle of an adivasi area
saraswati No, but in that particular crop the normal
varieties disappear - like in the US and Canada, GM
Soya, GM Corn, and GM Canola have wiped out the local
SOYA, CORN and CANOLA seeds
saraswati Like wise in India, we lost the local
saraswati And now they are bringing up GM Brinjal,
GM Okra (lady's finger), GM Sorghum...the list goes
Susan I see the point.
saraswati These are still in the testing
stages...but if they are allowed commercial
production...farmers who do not understand this
saraswati ...will plant these crops due to the
influence of heavy doses of advertising....
Susan When you go buying seeds ( vegetable) from the
market -shops, nurseries,etc they sell 'hybrid seeds'
It reads treated seeds on the cover. The bhindi seeds
I planted came out real bad I wonder if...
saraswati and also the advice of the Agriculture
departments, universities....all of which or atleast
most of which have people on the pay rolls of these
big companies...(underhand way)
Susan The crop was plentiful but the bhindi hardened
within two three days and were useless for cooking
saraswati Well Hybrid seeds itself have wiped out a
lot of our seed varieties...in a way hybrid is
harmless compared to the GM
Susan Hybrid seeds are genetically modified too?
saraswati because when you wish to go back to local
varieties you still have a choice...that is if a
farmer's neighbour grows hybrid seeds, this farmer
still has the choice to use local variety seeds
saraswati No Hybrid seeds are not Genetically
Modified - it is a physical change...where the basic
good qualities of both plants are taken and a hybrid
saraswati It doesn't change the basic genetic
Susan I am really surprised that none else has
turned up for the chat.
saraswati The reason why Hybrid seeds wiped out
local seeds is due to the non-usage of local
saraswati It is okay Susan...people don't realise
things unless they suffer due to something
Susan Is it because local varieties do not have a
saraswati Ten years ago...people didn't believe
Climate Change was happening...
saraswati No, not like that....i will explain...see
during the Green Revolution...Hybrid seeds were
introduced to increase the productivity of the crops
saraswati Then what happened was...farmers also due
to the increased profits stopped growing local
saraswati So, when you don't grow a crop for a few
generations...then there are no seeds isn't it?
saraswati So, in the 1960's we had about 30,000
varieties of Rice
saraswati But today, we are growing only 10
varieties of rice...mostly...
saraswati But in small pockets where they are
growing local seeds...especially in the adivasi
areas...we can still get the local seeds...
saraswati So, there are a few NGOs like Navdanya who
have been collecting these seeds and are maintaining
Susan I believe that Navadhanya (Vandana Shiva)is
creating a seed bank. I wonder if someone is creating
a seed bank of local vegetables too?
saraswati But suppose if someone just throws a few
GM seeds in these small pockets...or in places where
we still have pure variety seeds...what can happen?
All the pure seeds will go....
saraswati I think we all can contribute by growing
our own vegetables from local seed varieties...that
way we can preserve the seeds for the next generation
saraswati and also stay extremely healthy....i do
think Vandana Shiva has vegetable seeds also
Susan But where does one get the seeds?
saraswati Why don't you go to Vandana's Navdanya and
get the seeds from there?
saraswati I know of a man in Bangalore who is
growing Rice on his Terrace...
Susan In A.P there is a big movement against GM
seeds- Is anyone creating seed banks too?
saraswati Yes, there are seed banks...I made a film
on that last year...it is called, SEEDS OF
Susan Yes, I will certainly look up Vandana's place
Susan Tell us more about that film please
saraswati Then there is the Deccan Development
Society also have their seed banks...
Susan Hi lilbumbee
saraswati Seeds of Sovereignty was first made in
Telugu to alert farmers on the Seed Issue...
lilbumbee Hi Susan
saraswati hI Lilbumbee...
lilbumbee Hi Susan, Hi Saraswati
saraswati we have been speaking so far bumbee...do
you have anything to shoot?
lilbumbee No I have no knowledge on this subject...I
just dropped in to gain some
saraswati Susan, I think it is upon every one of
us...to stop this madness...and then there is this
issue of Health...
saraswati Just last week one farmer was saying he
sold his Buffalo which became sterile since it fed on
the GM Cotton fields...
Susan Yes, I agree
saraswati By the way, Greenpeace is going to do a
huge demonstration in Delhi on the 1st of May...on
saraswati they want people to take photos with their
name, place, written along with the caption , "BAN GM
saraswati Written on a white Chart or something like
that held in front of you....
Susan Growing our own organic vegetables-in pots
too-can be a start
saraswati They plan to beam these pictures at the
place of demonstration to show that there are many in
the country who do not wish GMOs...
lilbumbee Well I have been doing organic farming for
last some years.....without much knowledge though
saraswati I think they plan to do that in front of
the parliament...so in case you like you can send you
picture too and spread the word...they will need the
pictures digital) by april 20....
lilbumbee I use...cow dung manure and vermi compost
Susan Sometimes Organizations get bigger than
issues- the issue itself is not understood
saraswati Susan, yes starting in your pot is a good
way...you must nuture the soil to get good results
saraswati Lilbumbee...(do you have a short name?)
where do you do your organic farming?
lilbumbee you can call me bee...well I have my farms
near nagpur and have been doing that for last 12
saraswati If you can read up the article on the
Silent Revolution about the farmer called Subhash
lilbumbee I use...neem leaves and custrad apple
leaves for pesticides
saraswati Oh great...isn't that a great job? i am
planning to become a farmer too...
lilbumbee well it indeed is....less paying.....but
saraswati Yes, that is the thing...also please try
to collect as many original seeds as possible and
make your own seed bank
lilbumbee seed bank....ok thats something I will
have to learn about more and implement... saraswati
How much land do you have?
Susan custard apple leaves-I did not know they have
anti pest properties
saraswati oh yes, there are plenty...
lilbumbee well I have about 16 odd acres near
nagpur....plus about 300 acres of ancestral land near
Andhra Pradesh Border
saraswati custard apple leaves, chilli-garlic
concoction, neem leaves, neem seeds...cowdung and
saraswati wow...bee you are stinking rich farmer...
Susan Bee, if you start a vegetable seed bank -local
seedsonly- I will put them up for online sale at
saraswati would you like to grow a little forest in
the land that you own?
lilbumbee LOL...thanks to my forefather...I have
saraswati Susan the concept of Sustainability is to
depend on local resources only...normally seeds are
lilbumbee well susan..I will mail you for more
infomation on that later....I would be interested in
saraswati never bought and sold...as it happens
Susan Thank you Bee
Susan We Indians are a thinking , intelligent lot I
wish we can make more people aware by simple means on
saraswati and the climatic zones differ too...like
what is good for Nagpur may not hold good for the
saraswati Bee...i will suggest you to go for a
training camp with Subhash Palekar...you will love
lilbumbee well about that forest thing...well I have
about 6 acres of forest near nagpur...and I just
bought another 7 acres near Tadoba National Park
Susan If Swedish flower seeds can sell, why not our
own - Local concept has to widen
saraswati Susan, I think every little matters - so
much as we would like to change the whole world, what
you are doing right now is itself a wonderful thing
Bee...when one farmer owns 300 acres of land, how
many small farmers are getting deprived of their
saraswati Sorry to say this, but may I say something
lilbumbee ya that so true....
Susan Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people
to attain uncommon results
saraswati I am thinking more and more about the
concept of property...
lilbumbee but thats what I got from my
grandpa....couldnt help that
saraswati the reason why there is so much scramble
for resources is that while some have it all and more
than they need....there are hundreds others who
cannot access the resources....
Susan Saraswati, to sustain bio-diversity in these
times, one has to think out of the box
saraswati For me to become a farmer is a big
decision because I am not planning to buy lot of
land...(don't have the money nor inclination to do
saraswati i plan to hopefully get about 2 acres
lilbumbee Saraswati...where are you from ??? Coz I
can gladly offer 2 acres of land to you...near
saraswati Yes, SUSAN you are right...we need to
think out of the box....
Susan Farmer can be a state of mind too- I have a
small kitchen garden - Living in the megacity that is
Gurgaon where people have manicured gardens with
exotic flowers I feel I can make a point by having a
small organic garden
saraswati I live in Hyderabad...and Nagpur I guess
is too far...need to stay close here...I am involved
in too many activities...campaigns etc
saraswati Yes Susan...that is true to what you
say...but I am thinking about migrating to a
village...a few friends have thought of this idea of
lilbumbee :) well if you can guide me...I can take
up some experiment with the local farmers around
saraswati And allso to grow my own food etc...unlike
you, I have no plot of land...I live in an
apartment...so i have no choice
lilbumbee Plus I do a bit of wildlife
conservation...and move around in villages bordering
the wildlife sancturies....maybe I can teach them
something with your help...
saraswati i need to find a small space
somewhere...and just growing my own chillies and
tomatoes in my balcony has given me a lot of peace
lilbumbee I would love to do that.....
Susan Good luck to you Saraswati-I am sure you will
find your two acres
saraswati okay bee...that is a deal then...I will
surely like to help...but we need to discuss that at
saraswati so we stay in touch over email
lilbumbee sure...pass me you email ID...and I will
mail you ...mine is firstname.lastname@example.org
lilbumbee I wont be in town for next 4 days.....I am
going on partolling at pench national park...due to
this holi thiongy....but I will surely get in touch
with you after I am back
saraswati susan, i think this is the way to network
and try to do things in our own area...
saraswati right now i am working with some farmers
in Kadapa area...
Susan Saraswati thank you for coming by-your passion
about the subject is infectious
saraswati and there is a friend who is working in a
different district...like that...we all can bring
saraswati bee you can get in touch with the Centre
for Sustainable agriculture
lilbumbee Thats great....a small push..can be
converted into a wave......a wave of change
saraswati in Hyderabad - they are working with
farmers in Vidarbha area of Maharashtra
saraswati I think they would be more than happy if
you like to take up the work in your area...
Susan yes, I hope that the concrete work both of you
do will inspire others. IWC.com is always there for
you to share your thoughts.
lilbumbee Vidarbha ??....that means Nagpur...
saraswati You get in touch with them - 040-27017735
saraswati Call them after this saturday....in fact
right now they were conducting a week long training
on sustainable agriculture
saraswati so they are busy with the training right
saraswati Hi susan...sorry I was just taking off...I
plan to go see Vandana shiva...they also do trainings
of one week long
Susan Saraswati, one hour time is up, can we sum up?
saraswati so, you could go there too...to learn a
little more... lilbumbee great...
saraswati Okay Susan since there weren't many we
just went off on our own ways... lilbumbee even I
need to go now...I will get in touch with both of you
after 4 days...
Susan Thank you, bee
saraswati Okay good luck bee
lilbumbee thanks for all the information and
lilbumbee bye susan ...bye saraswati...
Susan Shall we call it a day? I will send you the
link when we publish the transcript.
saraswati You are welcome and bye...
saraswati Yes, susan, it is time for my Organic