Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Genetically Modified Food in India

If you ever imagined that Monsanto, for example, would go to places like India where brinjal (eggplant) has been grown for thousands of years and work to implement genetically modified brinjal here, you would be so right! Can you imagine the dilemma of a very poor Indian farmer when offered money to grow GM produce? Here in India, even some of the scientists (please read between the lines) are supporting this. What is a farmer to do?

I am new to this fight in India but am familiar with Monsanto's presence in the American agricultural world, so I don't know all the players here, but I do know that the Minister of Environment and Forestry has offered to consider a moratorium on "Bt Brinjal" if he is convinced by today. Greenpeace India had a MoveOn-type internet campaign to help the minister understand where Indians stand. Today the Minister announced a moratorium on Bt Brinjal!

Here is an article from Greenpeace India on the fight for clean food:

The World's Biggest Baingan Bharta
January 28, 2010
India —
Right now, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is deciding if he'll allow corporations with American interests to genetically engineer India's King of Vegetables—the brinjal. The U.S.-backed companies say that Bt Brinjal will be free from pests, but Indian farmers have successfully grown brinjal for thousands of years without this toxic gene. Moreover, there have been no tests to prove its viability for human consumption. Rats fed on Bt Brinjal had diarrhoea and liver weight decrease. If Bt Brinjal is grown in India, it could contaminate traditional brinjal farms as well, thus tainting India's food supply forever. The introduction of Bt Brinjal has been rejected equivocally at all the public consultations that have taken place so far. But Jairam Ramesh is yet to give his verdict on this issue. Greenpeace is launching a new campaign to persuade Mr. Ramesh to protect India's brinjal: We're going to make the World's Biggest Baingan Bharta, in Delhi! The baingan bharta will have one brinjal for every person who signs our petition. We will present the names of all the signers to Mr. Ramesh. Our goal is 10,000 brinjals. The petition says: "India should not allow our brinjals to be contaminated by corporations with American interests." Add a brinjal by signing our petition today and ask your friends and family to do the same. http://greenpeace.in/safefood/the-biggest-baingan-bharta-ever/

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