Sep 3, 2009 — KZeese

By Vandana Shiva | IPS

The privatisation of the earth’s resources is a recipe for famine and desertification, violence against women, hunger, and, as happens in India, the suicide of farmers, writes Vandana Shiva, author and international campaigner for women and the environment.

In this analysis, Shiva writes that until recently water and biodiversity have been commons. Women have been the seed keepers and water keepers in communities. This is the system that privatisation is threatening.

Common access to seed is being destroyed by laws that make it illegal for farmers to manage seeds as a commons and grant the state the power to approve and license varieties and force farmers to seek state approval through “compulsory” registration laws. The result is the destruction of high-quality, reliable, open-pollinated varieties bred and developed by farmers.

Although the links between the growing problem of farmer suicides and their growing dependence on costly purchased external inputs are clear, the Indian government’s only response has been to offer more consumer credit to purchase more external inputs. Women are experts in internal input agriculture, an approach that works with the products of the land to create soil fertility and requires no external.

A permanent agriculture can only be based on the permanence of rights – the rights of the farmers, and the people, not private corporations.