Organic farming gives Indian farmers greater financial security

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By James
Greepeace India

A Greenpeace report released today said the monetary benefits of organic cotton farming are much greater than using the Genetically Engineered variety that makes farmers more vulnerable to financial collapse due to high debts and increased costs of cultivation.

The report, “Picking Cotton: The choice between organic and genetically-engineered cotton for farmers in South India“, shows that in the 2009-10 season, farmers cultivating cotton through organic practices earned 200% more net income than farmers who grew Genetically Engineered cotton [Bt cotton].

The Greenpeace report is a comparative analysis of two methods of agriculture among cotton farmers in Andhra Pradesh. It not only shows the economic benefit of ecological farming (in this case organic) but also that Genetically Engineered (GE) cotton, despite using many toxic pesticides, still has greater crop loss to pests.

“Our study illustrates how farmers growing GE cotton face high debts and high costs of cultivation, becoming more vulnerable to financial collapses”, said Dr Reyes Tirado, Scientist, Greenpeace International, who authored the report.

Bt cotton1 farmers not only use 26 different pesticides, including pesticides targeting pests that the GE cotton is supposed to control, but also lose financially due to their higher input costs.

In the region of Andhra Pradesh the cost of cultivation is much higher for Bt cotton farmers. The Bt cotton farmers incurred 65% higher debt –accumulated during 2008/09 and 2009/10– than the non-Bt organic cotton farmers.

The farmer distress in the state had lead to the central government announcing a 5 year relief package for farmers amounting to 20,000 crores in the year 2008.

“It is preposterous that on the one hand government dolls out thousands of crores in the name of bringing relief to farmers while on the other they permit and promote Bt cotton cultivation and ensure that the farmer can never escape the debt treadmill.” said Dr G.V Ramanjaneyalu, Executive Director of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture who was present at the report release.

The controversies around Bt cotton have finally forced the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, the agency responsible for the commercial release of GE crops in the country, to do a review of its performance since 2002, the year it was released.

“Bt cotton has only benefitted the multinational seed giants like Monsanto who has earned 1580 crore Rupees as royalty from its patented Bt cotton seed since its release” [1] said Rajesh Krishnan, sustainable agriculture campaigner with Greenpeace India. He concluded that “Cotton farming that uses ecological practices and avoids genetically engineered seeds and agrochemicals is the most beneficial for Indian farmers”,

Greenpeace is demanding that the Indian government bans Bt cotton cultivation, takes an active role in supplying sufficient quantity and quality of non-Bt seeds and supports organic and ecological cotton farming.

Ends

Contacts:

Dr Reyes Tirado, Scientist, Greenpeace International,

Mob: 0 97316 43053, email: reyes.tirado@greenpeace.org

Rajesh Krishnan, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner, Greenpeace India

Mob: 0 98456 50032, email: rajesh.krishnan@greenpeace.org

Syed Mehaboob, Media Officer, Greenpeace India, syed.mehaboob@greenpeace, +91 9731301983

Dr G.V Ramanjaneyalu, Executive Director, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture

Mob; 0 9006 99702, email: Your browser may not support display of this image. ramoo.csa@gmail.com

Notes:

1. Battle royal over Bt cotton royalty, 28/05/2010, Latha Jishnu, business rediff, http://business.rediff.com/report/2010/may/28/battle-royal-over-bt-cotton-royalty.htm; last checked on 13/6/2010.

2. The report is available at

5 responses to “Organic farming gives Indian farmers greater financial security

  1. Whom can I HUG? I wanna hug somebody!

    Whoever figures out the corporate profiteering gambit is

    COOL!

  2. Great post! Always know where ur food comes from. 🙂

  3. Thank you for your article on the BT crops on India. Please, if you would go to these two sites, (in Europe) they have some great info on GM crops and the cotton crops in India: http://www.AlterCampagne.free.tvand http://www.Bellaciao.org.

    On this last site I read an article about India that said that over 40,000 farmers have committed suicide because of the high costs, the low yields and because of what the cotton crops are doing to the earth and to their own health. The increase use of pesticides is getting out of hand and the insects are becoming more resistant. The pesticide s go through all of the plant: the root, the stem, the leaves and the cotton – so that the whole plant is toxic.

    The very basic bacteria that is needed for healthy earth is killed, the worms are killed, the ants are killed, as are the bees and butterflies – and they are the basic pollenators! ETC!

    So, the farmers of India see this destruction, they see that the yields aren’t paying off, and the cost of the seeds and everything they need to grow the crops is increasing. It is a vicious circle. Worst of all: they have no say in what crops they grow. They made a contract with Monsanto that they can’t get out of because they owe Monsanto so very much.

    I did also go to a site: UCS USA.org (Union of Concerned Scientists): USA.org/food_and_agriculture/failure-to-yield.html…

    here a book was written by Doug Gurian-Sherman on Genetically Modified crops DO NOT produce higher yields! Book: Failure to Yield. He addresses the very same problems that have been going on in India and other countries: the ever increasing need for pesticides, the increased need of water, and the destruction of the land, and most of all: the ever increasing cost financially and the cost of HUMAN HEALTH!….(This site also show all of the ‘PHARMA CROPS” (in a map), that are grown in the USA!

    (Very Interesting!)

  4. Thank you so very much on the article about India and the GM cotton crops. It is a very sad thing what is happening in India. I went to two great sites, in Europe, that covered some of Indias problems: http://www.AlterCampagn.free.tv …and http://www.Bellaciao.org. At this last site there was a woman who spoke of over 40,000 farmers committing suicide over the crops!The Monsanto BT cotton put thousands into debt. The cotton is a “Terminator Technology”, where the farmer has to buy new crops each year because the seeds are virtually dead. The poor farmers have no freedom to choose crops they grow and foods they eat. Many times the seeds that they have to buy are unstable and don’t grow well, so they really loose out. They are never reimbursed for “bad” seeds. So all the way around, they lose out. Not only that but the pesticides they use are so poisonous that not only are they getting sick but also they see that the earth, insects, and all living things are being harmed. In India their whole culture is based on caring for the earth and all living things, and to do any harm would be a terrible sin. So the reason they have been committing suicide is because of that and the extreme cost, that is ever increasing and putting them into terrible debt.
    They are against the wall with this.

    I also went to a site where there is a book: Failure to Yield, that talks about how it is being proven that GM foods have actually failed to increase crop yields. The book shows that GM foods will NOT “feed the world”. Site: UCS USA.org/food_and_agriculture/failure-to-yield.html…(Union of Concerned Scientists, Cambridge, MA)
    It too talks about the ever need of increasing pesticides.
    another site: http://www.NaturalNew.com/028347_GM_crops_Round-up….shows that Round-up caused an increase of parasite growth, at the root. Also increases fungus. All this destroys the normal mico organisms balance – spuring growth of harmful bacteria.
    What you have with all of this is Acute and Chronic toxic effects on our bodies: metabolic, nervous system, immune system, hormonal and CANCER DISEASES!
    The poor farmers of India face all of that! Why? It is totally wrong and inhuman!

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