Meeting with Parliamentary Standing Commit

Representation to Parliamentary Standing Committee on GM Foods

today we had a wonderful day in the meeting with parliamentary standing committee.
Not sharing in detail as the scientists were asked to be frank and promised that they will not be quoted for what they say…by the committee…

The meeting was well attended by the Scientists from Agri univ, DOR, DRR, NRCS, CRIDA, NBPGR, department of agriculture, farmers unions…
Basudev Acharya in his opening remarks itself mentioned that there is a divided opinion on GM crops and particularly food crops.

Mr. Chaturvedi, member of PSM on agril said he want specific information on
a. whether state want to go for GM not want to go for GM or take a cautious approach till the finding prooves it completely safe.
b. what is the opinion and plan of the govt on farm saved seed as the dependency and monopoly of MNCs is increasing
c. GM foods seems to have been violating consumers choices…
d. how and who will be made accountable in case of contamination fo traditional germplasm
e. what is the relation between bt cotton and farmers suicides.

few others asked
a. why there were animal deaths and what does research has to say?
b. is it true that gm crops requires more fertilisers?
c. do u have any data on reduction in pesticide use?
d. there is a big war between traditional technologies and modern technologies and how they are contributing to improvising traditional practices..
e. is any district biosafety committee is functional? when senior people like u are not able to understand and test the GM related problems how equipped are these committees to handle the issues
f. when 64 % of farmers are small and marginal is there any relevance for these technologies…

from univ there was a presentation by univ…which was a bland presentation….saying we can do wonders and there are some problems like pest resistance, resurgence etc. but she focused more on the process than on any data …and basudev commented saying from ur presentation i can only understand that the problems are more than advantages.

on the soil fertility the univ said it wont need more fertilisers and their data shows that the nitrogen in plants is more…dont no why…
i quoted their farm almanac recommending 15 % more fertiliser.
one member said he has seen farmers complaining that second crop being effected…and specifically can u answer whether farmers are using more or ru recommending more…he could nt say anything…the committee said..looks like u havent done any research…without which we cannot come to any conclusion of its benefits…

on the animal deaths…again univ said animals cannot die…hukum dev narayan said this is unfair…and if animals have not died because of bt cotton…u should explore what are the reasons…my personal experience shows that abortions and deaths in animals have increased in bt cotton growing areas….and have u done any study on the impact of the cotton cake on the cattle milk and human health and there was no response….

MA Khan, MP from AP said…the monopoly of monsanto is increasing and no one is able to stand…AP govt which could fight till recently has lost out this year…and if this happens with food crops the situation would be worse.

on pesticide use the scientists said it is coming down but the report submitted to the committee was otherwise.

the committee was serious on illegal spread of HT cotton…commissioner said it was only field trials and they have uprooted them…one of the member had data from the state govt report to GEAC saying 20,000 acres of HT cotton district wise…and said u cannot say it is a trial and u failed to book the culprit…why farmers should bear the burden?

Farmers Federation representative… was as usual saying when my mobile ur mike and all our vehicles are from MNC why should farmers be worried about MNC seed and it is not farmers responsibility’s for national food security and farmers want technology. Mr. chaturvedi…said we appreciate ur concern and u have freedom to say what u want and we understand it is our responsibility to safeguard farmers and consumers interests and thats why we are hear…and food is different from cell phones……

among the audience…saraswati could get time for few questions…two farmers from guntur spoke well …saying they need technology but not problems…bt cotton had several problems and every one is irresponsible.

i could get good time to intervene almost on every point to counter what univ was saying….and in the end..basudev gave good time…
we submitted a written memorandum attached…..

The committee asked to send any further information we want to share with them

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