Archive for July, 2007

The Hindu Daily ignores a farmer’s voice

On 21st and 22nd July the Hindu published the Tvm People Speak on Genetically Modified Crops. Many letters written by experts, scientists and environmentalists were published. But a farmers letter was not published. Why ?

The Hindu probably feels that a farmer may not be qualified enough to comment on GM Crops. While this issue is about farmers losing control over seeds, here is a case where even the probably lone farmer voice did not see the limelight. It is the indeed a statement on what matters stand now – that experts and qualified individuals who are not farmers are encouraged even by the “independent media” to talk about GM Crops. I am forced to feel that the Hindu Daily is in favor of GM Crops, since it keeps carrying media reports on the positive impacts of GM crops, most of which is fed by the industry. The cultivation of Genetically Modified Rubber in RRII was also lime lighted only by “The Hindu Businessline“.

Being a farmer I sent a letter taising my concern to Hindu daily on the GM issue. Most letters except the farmers was published. So, I am forced to publish this for the Public in this blog post as under.

“The Kerala Government and many environmental activists oppose field trials of genetically modified crops in Kerala, saying these will endanger biodiversity. But some experts hold the view that the State should make gainful use of biotechnology. Our readers respond:”

With a title – Need to examine all aspects of genetically modified crops

Being a 58 years old farmer I can say that biotechnology has many uses – natural biotechnological processes of bacteria, like for maintaining the quality of “Humus” on upper soil which may be sustainable for healthy flies, animals, human beings etc. These are useful for farmers. But Genetically modified crops take away every single strength of the farmer and is today a means of destroying the common seeds available in the World with the farmers. Kerala is a land of fertile soil with small holdings – called homesteads mainly around the living places. The poisonous content in GM crops, through the leaves will kill friendly insects and animals. The waste of GM crops will destroy the sensitive earthworms, which are actually the farmers friends with the name of “karshakante kalappa”. Some GM plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance desired traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content. It means such herbicides and fertilizers will be used in high doses and kill the soil. High mortality rates in flies will reduce pollination process on crops. The disappearance of Bee colonies in USA has become a major problem for farmers. If open field trials of Bt-Rice is allowed the pollination through the air will effects the neighboring fields around it. This means the valuable old crops will be destroyed. Farmers may not be able to safely do cultivation in the next season. Another concern is that crop plants engineered for herbicide tolerance and weeds will cross-breed, resulting in the transfer of the herbicide resistance genes from the crops into the weeds. These “superweeds” would then be herbicide tolerant as well. Other introduced genes may cross over into non-modified crops planted next to GM crops. As farmers and also consumers we are also worried that patenting these new plant varieties will raise the price of seeds so high that small farmers and third world countries will not be able to afford seeds. Soon, our traditional seeds will also be lost.