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Vandana Shiva Points to GE Cotton Disaster in India

Bt Cotton: Can we call it a success story?

Dr Vandana Shiva says -

It is about toxification of our systems

Financial Express, January 24, 2005
http://www.financialexpress.com


Toxification of governance: Bt Cotton entered the country illegally. Imports
and field trials did not have the clearance of the Genetic Engineering
Approval Committee (GEAC), which is required under the rules for regulating
genetically engineered organisms under the Environment (Protection) Act,
1986. The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology has filed
a case in the Supreme Court, challenging this toxification of our governance
and regulatory system.

On January 6, 2005, Monsanto had to pay a penalty of $500,000 after it was
sued by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for corruption
involving $700,000 of illegal or questionable payments made to various
Indonesian officials. Monsanto admitted in the United States District Court
for the District of Columbia, that it paid over $750,000 in bribes to more
than 140 government officials and members of their families between 1997 and
2000.

Toxification of agriculture: Bt Cotton is itself a toxic product. It induces
genes from bacteria to produce toxins in plants to control the bollworm. The
bollworm is however being more efficiently controlled by toxic Coke and
Pepsi than by Monsanto
Bt Cotton as reported by farmers. The only function of genetic engineering
toxic genes into plant is failing.

For the false promises, Indian farmers are paying US prices for cotton seed.
Starting 2004, the profits from Bt Cotton in India are the same as in the US
and Australia. The additional profit is due entirely to a huge price hike in
India from $19/bag in 2002 to $72/bag in 2004. In contrast, Latin American
farmers are paying $24/bag and Chinese farmers $22/bag.

High seed and input prices are pushing farmers into debt and then to
suicide.

Toxification of truth: For three years in a row, Bt Cotton has failed
thousands of farmers. In a recent study undertaken by the Research
Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, it was found that Bt Cotton
farmers spent Rs 6,813 per acre compared to Rs 580 for farmers growing non
Bt Cotton. Inspite of repeated failure, Monsanto sites GM crops in India as
a miracle.

(The writer is founder director of Research Foundation for Science,
Technology & Ecology)