UAS Dharwar Vs Percy Schmeiser

Some time back we heard a story that Percy Schmeiser, a farmer from Canada was sued by Monsanto that he violated the IPRs of Monsanto when Monsanto proprietary gene events were found in his Canola. No one including the courts could come to his rescue.  He argued for contamination but the company prevailed.  Same this is happening now with UAS Dharwar whose Bt Bikeneri Narma is allegedly contaminated with Monsanto’s event.  If contamination is such a serious problem why do we need to go such technology?



Small seed firms want mandatory allocation of crop technology

K. V. Kurmanath

Hyderabad, Jan. 30:

The Seed Bill might have been put on the backburner; but small and medium seed companies feel that it is only a temporary respite. They feel that the Bill, when passed by the Lok Sabha, could adversely impact their business prospects.

In a detailed note on the Bill to be circulated among its members, they said that “new technologies are coming up in large numbers with patent protection. This is fraught with danger as patentees are out to exploit their patents to the hilt, charging huge royalties on seed technologies”. This segment plays an important role in the Rs 8,000-crore seed industry, catering to local needs. Hybrid seeds, including GM hybrids, dominate the scene with a 75-80 per cent market share . They act as big source of seeds for bigger seed companies. Though there are about 300 seed firms in the market, only around 15 of those are large .

“Poor farmers cannot afford these huge fees. The Seed Bill is not giving any hope in this regard,” a representative of Seedsmen Association of Andhra Pradesh said.

The association has called for reserving a certain percentage of the newly developed crop technologies by private seed companies to the small and medium seed companies. It has cited the examples of compulsory sourcing clauses the Government has put in place to protect the interests of the small-scale industry and handloom sector.

“If you do not bring in such reservation, there is every possibility of small and medium seed firms going into the hands of multinational companies. The new Seed Bill will serve only the large and MNC seed companies because they have the wherewithal to conduct research and development and invest heavily in human resources and expansion,” the seed industry representative said.

Leaked documents reveal US diplomats actually work for Monsanto

Biotech giant Monsanto has been genetically modifying the world’s food supply and subsequently breeding environmental devastation for years, but leaked documents now reveal that Monsanto has also deeply infiltrated the United States government. With leaked reports revealing how U.S. diplomats are actually working for Monsanto to push their agenda along with other key government officials, Monsanto’s grasp on international politics has never been clearer.

Amazingly, the information reveals that the massive corporation is also intensely involved in the passing and regulations concerning the very GM ingredients they are responsible for. In fact, the information released by WikiLeaks reveals just how much power Monsanto has thanks to key positions within the United States government and elsewhere. Not only was it exposed that the U.S. is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto with military-style trade wars, but that many U.S. diplomats actually work directly for Monsanto.

What the leaked documents reveal — Military style trade wars, government corruption

In 2007 it was requested that specific nations inside the European Union be punished for not supporting the expansion of Monsanto’s GMO crops. The request for such measures to be taken was made by Craig Stapleton, the United States ambassador to France and partner to George W. Bush. Despite mounting evidence linking Monsanto’s GM corn to organ damage and environmental devastation, the ambassador plainly calls for ‘target retaliation’ against those not supporting the GM crop. In the leaked documents, Stapleton states:

“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices.”

The undying support of key players within the U.S. towards Monsanto is undeniably made clear not only in this release, but in the legislative decisions taken by organizations such as the FDA and USDA. Legislative decisions such as allowing Monsanto’s synthetic hormone Posilac (rBGH) to be injected into U.S. cows despite being banned in 27 countries. How did Monsanto pull this off?

The biotech juggernaut managed to infiltrate the FDA positions responsible for the approval of rBGH, going as far as instating the company’s own Margaret Miller as Deputy Director of Human Safety and Consultative Services. After assuming this position, Miller reviewed her own report on the safety and effectiveness of rBGH.

Many US diplomats pawns of Monsanto’s GM agenda

While it may be shocking to you if you are not familiar with the corrupt influence of Monsanto, the cables also show that many US diplomats are pushing GMO crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative. Interestingly enough, the U.S. focused their efforts toward advisers to the pope specifically, due to the fact that many Catholic figureheads have openly voiced their opposition to GM foods. With this kind of political influence, is it any wonder that many food staples are now predominantly GM? Nearly 93% of U.S. soybeans are heavily modified conservatively, with many other staple crops coming in at similar numbers.

U.S. diplomats have unique opportunities to spread honest and intellectual campagins that can serve to better mankind and end suffering, however they are instead spreading the roots of Monsanto deeper and deeper into international territory. As a substitute for the betterment of mankind, these paid-off diplomats are now spreading environment desecration and health destruction.

As if there wasn’t already enough information to reveal Monsanto’s corruption, the biotech giant also spends enormous amount of money lobbying government each year. Monsanto spent an astonishing $2 million lobbying the federal government in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone, according to mainstream sources. Why so much cash? The government lobbying focuses on issues like regulations for GM crops and patent reforms. This ‘legal’ form of persuasion is the reason government agencies like the USDA and FDA let Monsanto roam freely.

Satisfying government officials’ financial vested interest is all that matters when dealing with corrupt mega-corporations like Monsanto. As long as these financial ties continue to exist, Monsanto will continue to reign over the food supply and continue to wreak devastation to the environment, ecosystem, and humankind.

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WikiLeaks: US targets EU over GM crops

US embassy cable recommends drawing up list of countries for ‘retaliation’ over opposition to genetic modification

, environment editor

Genetically modified corn in a test tube

The US embassy in Paris wanted to penalise the EU after France moved to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any Euroxpean Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.

In response to moves by France to ban a Monsanto GM corn variety in late 2007, the ambassador, Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of former US president George Bush, asked Washington topenalise the EU and particularly countries which did not support the use of GM crops.

“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits.

“The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices,” said Stapleton, who with Bush co-owned the Dallas/Fort Worth-based Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s.

In other newly released cables, US diplomats around the world are found to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative.

Because many Catholic bishops in developing countries have been vehemently opposed to the controversial crops, the US applied particular pressure to the pope’s advisers.

Cables from the US embassy in the Vatican show that the US believes the pope is broadly supportive of the crops after sustained lobbying of senior Holy See advisers, but regrets that he has not yet stated his support. The US state department special adviser on biotechnology as well as government biotech advisers based in Kenya lobbied Vatican insiders to persuade the pope to declare his backing. “… met with [US monsignor] Fr Michael Osborn of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, offering a chance to push the Vatican on biotech issues, and an opportunity for post to analyse the current state of play on biotech in the Vatican generally,” says one cable in 2008.

“Opportunities exist to press the issue with the Vatican, and in turn to influence a wide segment of the population in Europe and the developing world,” says another.

But in a setback, the US embassy found that its closest ally on GM, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the powerful Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the man who mostly represents the pope at the United Nations, had withdrawn his support for the US.

“A Martino deputy told us recently that the cardinal had co-operated with embassy Vatican on biotech over the past two years in part to compensate for his vocal disapproval of the Iraq war and its aftermath – to keep relations with the USG [US government] smooth. According to our source, Martino no longer feels the need to take this approach,” says the cable.

In addition, the cables show US diplomats working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto. “In response to recent urgent requests by [Spanish rural affairs ministry] state secretary Josep Puxeu and Monsanto, post requests renewed US government support of Spain‘s science-based agricultural biotechnology position through high-level US government intervention.”

It also emerges that Spain and the US have worked closely together topersuade the EU not to strengthen biotechnology laws. In one cable, the embassy in Madrid writes: “If Spain falls, the rest of Europe will follow.”

The cables show that not only did the Spanish government ask the US to keep pressure on Brussels but that the US knew in advance how Spain would vote, even before the Spanish biotech commission had reported.

• This article was amended on 21 January 2011. The original sited the Texas Rangers team in St Louis. This has been corrected.

Monsanto spent $2 million lobbying US gov’t in 3Q


Monsanto Co. spent $2 million in the third quarter to lobby the federal government on issues including regulations for genetically engineered crops and patent reforms, according to a recent disclosure report.

That’s slightly more than the $1.9 million Monsanto spent a year earlier and up almost 18 percent from the $1.7 million it spent during previous quarter.

The world’s largest seed company lobbied Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture over regulations that would affect the distribution of genetically engineered crops like the company’s Roundup Ready sugar beets and alfalfa, according to the disclosure the company filed Oct. 18 with the House clerk’s office.

The company also lobbied Congress on patent protection reforms. Monsanto spends years, or sometimes more than a decade, developing patented strains of genetically engineered crops. Maintaining those patent rights is key to the company’s profit model.

The company lobbied the Congress and the Department of Justice on issues surrounding agricultural consolidation and antitrust enforcement.

To feed a billion mouths

by Himanshu
The writer is a Assistant Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Visiting Fellow, Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi.

To Feed a Billion Mouths
Image: Amit Dave/Reuters
HARSH REALITY Farmers plough a field before sowing cotton seeds in a village in Gujarat. While agricultural growth has picked up in the last seven years, the reality is also that farm business income has started declining.

With little breakthrough in terms of technology, chances of production increases are bleak. Nor is the external environment of any help with prices of agricultural commodities expected to remain low because of conditions in the developed countries. But even in our own country, the deceleration in growth rates and the increasing fiscal deficit implies stagnation in demand of agricultural commodities and reduction in subsidies.

Not so long ago, the story of farmers’ suicides was all over the media. But just when it looked like we have gone past this sad episode, stories of farmers’ suicides have again started pouring in and this time from hitherto agriculturally advanced states such as West Bengal. But how can we expect the farmer to produce and feed the country when he himself/herself is staring at debt and losses?

However, the plight of the Indian farmer has received less attention than agriculture as the source of food and raw material. But herein lies the catch. Most of the working class dependent on agriculture, including agricultural labourers and marginal cultivators, are also net consumers of food. How can we ensure that those who produce food also consume the food that they produce?

Raising incomes through state support is the only way out. The largest subsidies are delivered to farmers in the most developed nations. By all means, the Indian farmer is the least protected. But here we have taken away whatever subsidies they had on fertilisers, distorted the market for fertilisers and energy prices, and are now staring at the proposal of increase in diesel prices which is imminent any day.

The saving grace is the system of Minimum Support Prices which remains the only effective subsidy. But even this is available for only two crops—rice and wheat. Why is it that we are self-sufficient in rice and wheat, but are net importers of almost all other major food crops such as pulses and oilseeds? Partly because these crops do not enjoy even this minimum support from the government. But even this measure of support may be in danger if we move to cash transfers instead of actual delivery of food grains through the public distribution system (PDS).

The present NFSB may have many flaws including the fact that it still relies on the leaky TPDS (targeted public distribution system) rather than an efficient universal PDS as has been shown by many states. But the real failure is that it is silent on committing anything on improving the well-being of the farmer. The limited provisions have been put merely as enabling provisions rather than integral component of the Act itself.

The real success of the food bill should not be measured in terms of how much food grain is delivered through the public distribution system. The food bill will be a success when there is nobody demanding food at cheap subsidised prices through the fair price shops. But that will only happen when the livelihood of the farmers and agricultural labourers, which constitute bulk of the poor, increases to the extent that they do not need subsidised food. Either way, the only way out is to revive agriculture, but more importantly, revive the fortunes of those whose livelihood depends on it.

What needs to be done
☛ Revive agrarian sector by making farming more remunerative.
☛ Farmer’s livelihood is central to both increasing production and alleviating poverty.
☛ Greater state support required to raise farm incomes.

Jharkand Water Policy 2011

Jharkhand state water policy, 2011

This policy will broadly have a five-pronged strategy : First, the State will adopt a new State Water Policy framework to create the enabling environment for better and more equitable and productive water resources management in an environmentally sustainable manner for promoting growth reduction in poverty and minimizing regional imbalance. Second, the State will restructure the fundamental roles and relationships of the State and the water users. Third, the State will create a new institutional arrangement at the State level and at the river basin level to guide and regulate water resources planning, development; to decentralize the responsibility for water resources planning, development, management, operation and maintenance functions to the river basin and sub- basin level by suitably defining the responsibility and powers of proposed river valley institutions. Fourth, the State will place a high priority on promoting technology to improve efficiency and productivity, expansion of the knowledge base of the sector and the development of human resource capacity and capability. Fifth, the State will formulate appropriate legislation/administrative orders and enabling rules to give effect to the above mentioned strategies in short time.

Attachment (PDF):

See also:
Policy: National water policy.
Report: Every drop counts – learning from good practices in eight Asian cities.
Report: Study on issues related to gap between irrigation potential created and utilized.
Report: Decentralization in Jharkhand.
Report: Drought assessment report – Jharkhand.
Feature: A million opportunities lost.
Feature: Drought hit.
Feature: Water question in Jharkhand – Present law and policy context.

ASHA demands on Agriculture and Indian Budget 2012-13

 Agriculture is the foundation of the rural economy which supports nearly 70% of our population and the basis of food security for the entire nation and its citizens. At this juncture, India is in a precarious situation both in terms of the economic condition of the farming community, especially the small and marginal farmers, tenant farmers and those dependent on rainfed agriculture, and the ecological condition in terms of poor soil health, abysmal groundwater situation, poor crop diversity and extent of chemical poisoning of our farm ecosystem and our food.

The Budget should give the highest priority to strengthening Indian agriculture, with the focus on sustainable livelihoods, especially for the small, marginal and medium farmers, and agricultural workers who together constitute more than 90% of the farming community. The need of the day is for the nation’s economic policies to focus on providing dignified livelihoods to these 700 million people and making agriculture and allied sectors economically vibrant and ecologically sustainable. Without this, the nation cannot hope to achieve poverty reduction or human development goals meaningfully – whether in the realm of food and nutrition security, health, rural employment, tribal development, Dalit empowerment or reducing the alarming rural-urban disparity.

Our immediate demands for the Indian budget are as follows, and we hope that this will mark a new beginning towards an economic policy focused on sustainable rural livelihoods.

  • Public investment in agriculture is very low, with a large portion of it going towards subsidy for chemical fertilizers. As a sector which provides livelihood for about 60% of the population, at least 25% of the Indian budget should be allocated to agriculture and allied sectors.
  • The prices for farmers produce are not increasing commensurate with the rise in inputs costs and living costs. The Minimum Support Prices for the food crops are kept on a leash due to possible impact on food inflation. The National Farmers Commission recommended that farmers should be paid at least 1.5 times the Cost of Cultivation C2. The Government should set up the ‘Price Compensation mechanism’ which will directly pay the farmers the gap between the Target Price (C2+50%) and the MSP (or the average Farm Harvest Price if lower than MSP).
  • Government should set up a Price Stabilisation Fund to address the market fluctuations in commercial crops
  • Special program to support expansion of ecologically sustainable agriculture should be initiated by the government as a pilot in 100 districts, with at least 50% of these being in rainfed areas. This program should integrate ecological management of soil fertility, pest control, crop diversity, water conservation and livestock.
  • Ecological Services bonus to farmers who practice ecological agriculture and cultivate eco-friendly crops like millets.
  • A major mission should be taken up to identify and record tenant farmers, and to provide them access to crop loans, insurance, compensation for crop loss, and all government subsidies and programs. Tenant farmers form the most vulnerable section of the agrarian community and constitute a majority of farmer suicides.
  • A concerted program to update land records should be taken up in a time-bound manner, especially with a view of implementing land reforms and ensuring that the benefits of government programs and compensation for land acquisition reach the real cultivators.
  • Drastic increase in outlay for Disaster Relief Fund for farmers, which should provide timely compensation for crop loss due to any disaster such as floods, drought, cyclone and untimely rains – at Rs.10,000 per acre on the lines of recommendations of the Hooda committee.
  • Adequate crop insurance should be provided for all crops in all regions. Expanded outlay for crop insurance program should ensure doubling the number of farmers and acres covered during this year, and should subsidize the premium payments which have become unviable for many small farmers.
  • Labour subsidy of 50 person-days/hectare for agricultural operations on private lands of farmers to compensate for the steep rise in labour wages. This should be in addition to the 100-day entitlement of labour work under NREGS and should be operationalized through a pilot program involving farmer and worker collectives.
  • A rural livelihoods program should be introduced that focuses on agro-based processing, storage and marketing facilities to be set up in rural areas, managed by farmer collectives.

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Novel Iron Source: Newly Identified Iron Absorption Mechanism Suggests That Legumes Could Provide Key to Treating Iron Deficiency Worldwide


ScienceDaily (Jan. 20, 2012) — A groundbreaking study conducted by Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) Senior Scientist Elizabeth Theil, PhD, is the first to reveal the existence of at least two independent mechanisms for iron absorption from non-meat sources-and a potential treatment for iron deficiency, the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide. Dr. Theil’s discovery of an alternative mechanism for iron absorption from vegetables and legumes may provide the key to helping solve iron deficiency by providing an alternative, affordable, and readily available source of iron

In an upcoming publication in The Journal of Nutrition (published online January 18, 2012), Dr. Theil and her international colleagues demonstrate that there is an alternative mechanism for the absorption of ferritin, a large, protein-coated iron mineral rich in legumes, in addition to the more well-known mechanism for iron absorption of small iron complexes like those found in iron supplements.

“Our study shows that this different mechanism of iron absorption from plant ferritin is more efficient and gives the intestinal cells more control. It can be a new way to help solve global iron deficiency,” says Dr. Theil.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in both developing and non-developing nations. Traditional treatments include iron supplements and increased meat consumption. Both of these approaches have proven to have significant limitations, however.
Iron supplements frequently cause uncomfortable side effects, including gas and bloating, which lead to inconsistent consumption. In some cultures where iron deficiency is endemic, meat is scarce; frequently, the limited meat available is reserved for men, even though growing children and women of child-bearing age are the most susceptible to iron deficiency. The discovery of an alternative and highly efficient mechanism for iron absorption from legumes, however, could provide the key to helping solve worldwide iron deficiency by providing a readily available and affordable source of iron.
The new study combines the results of two different experiments, one conducted in humans and the other using rats to model humans. In the rat model, portions of the rat intestines were bathed with solutions of traceable iron, either as a typical type of iron supplement or as ferritin (protein-coated iron mineral). Measurements showed that both the large ferritin and the smaller iron complex were absorbed through the intestine.
In the human study, traceable iron in ferritin was consumed by volunteers with a 9:1 ratio of unlabelled, non-meat iron dietary supplement, or with hemoglobin, with the type of heme iron in meat, to see if the two types of iron competed with ferritin iron for the same absorption mechanism. In each case, the iron competitor had no effect on the iron absorption from ferritin.
“What these studies show together is that during digestion, ferritin is not converted from its large, mineral complex, which contains a thousand iron atoms, to individual iron atoms like those found in many iron supplements,” explains Dr. Theil. “Instead, ferritin iron is absorbed in its protein-coated, iron mineral form by a different, independent mechanism; iron absorbed as ferritin, leaves the intestine more slowly, but may, provide greater safety to the intestines than iron supplements.”
In addition to potentially being safer, causing less irritation to the intestines, absorption of iron as ferritin is easier for the intestine. The iron found in meat and non-meat iron supplements enters the intestine from food one iron atom at a time. Each entry step requires the intestinal cells to use up energy. When the intestine takes in a single molecule of ferritin, however, it gets a thousand atoms inside that one ferritin molecule, making iron absorption that much more efficient.
While further studies are needed to elucidate the exact mechanism of ferritin absorption, in the mean time, the results demonstrate that ferritin-rich foods such as legumes can provide a significant source of dietary iron for those in the greatest need of increasing their iron consumption.