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Re: choice



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[Topics under debate]: Free Citizen, Long Term Vision, Preamble
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rush to judgement?? I don`t think we have much of a choice here. Such 
issues have to be dealt with in a firm manner. The typical Indian 
attitude is to be lax about such issues and then cry foul against the 
"evil exploitation" and "plundering of the nation`s resources" by 
multinationals AFTER a controversy erupts. Of course multinationals will 
seek to exploit. They don`t care one way of the other what else happens 
as long as their interests are served. It is upto us to take the 
appropriate legal precautions to prevent further controversies.



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>q is what is the level of choice and competition in this sector. if
>these 2 don't exist then monsanto should be severely curbed. but i 
don't
>want us to rush to judgment. facts first.
>
>On Sat, 27 Mar 1999, Charu datt wrote:
>
>> 
>> 
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>> TOPICS under debate: Free Citizen, Long Term Vision, Preamble
>> CHALLENGE THE MANIFESTO WITH BETTER IDEAS, OR ACCEPT THIS TO BE THE 
BEST
>> 
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>> The following article presents one side of the the debate around
>> the "terminator gene", gene patents, and related material.
>> 
>> Comment is invited.
>> 
>> -Charu
>> 
>> Genetic Engineering and Third World Livelihoods
>> By Sonia Shah
>> 
>> Agricultural and environmental organizations are sounding the alarm
>> about genetically engineered crops the lack of labelling or 
wide-scale
>> testing of these profit-motivated products pose a great unknown risk
>> for consumer health, animals, and the environment.  Western consumers
>> may grapple with the health and moral implications of genetically
>> engineered foods. But for Third World farmers, the implications are
>> clear: these products are killing livelihoods, cultures, and
>> economies.
>> 
>> For instance, 70% of the population of India are small farmers who
>> subsist by collecting and harvesting seeds passed on from generation
>> to generation.  These seeds the source of the world's biodiversity 
are
>> the heritage, legacy, and security for farming communities. Given the
>> seed's central place in their economy and culture, many agricultural
>> communities consider the seed to be sacred.  But chemical companies
>> such as Monsanto which brought the world Agent Orange and DDT are
>> aggressively seeking to disrupt this natural cycle of regeneration 
for
>> small Third World farmers. By buying up local seed companies and by
>> claiming to own (by patenting) native seeds, Monsanto, as the world's
>> largest producer of agrochemicals and transgenic seeds, is attempting
>> to pirate this age-old, self-sustaining method of farming and
>> sustenance.
>> 
>> 
>> Small farmers must now buy the seeds they once harvested themselves
>> from their own crops. Or they may buy genetically engineered seeds,
>> such as Monsanto's wheat, corn, and soy which have been engineered to
>> be resistant to the company's own broad-spectrum poison “Roundup.”
>> Monsanto sells both the poison and the transgenic seed together in 
the
>> same package the seed is useless without the poison.  Monsanto
>> propaganda asserts that genetic engineering will result in more
>> sustainable farming, but in fact most transgenic crops are developed
>> to be impervious to the continued use of herbicides. To more fully
>> curtail farmers' ability to replant their own seeds, Monsanto is
>> currently developing seeds with a “Terminator” gene, so that the 
seeds
>> are sterile. This corporate strategy of forcing small Third World
>> farmers to use dead or poison-dependant seeds, while profitable for
>> Monsanto, pushes farmers into an ill-afforded corporate dependence 
and
>> further contaminates their land.
>> 
>> Over much resistance, the Indian government allowed Monsanto to test
>> its pest-resistant Bt cotton seeds in India. Last year, 95% of these
>> seeds did not sprout for farmers in the state of Andhra Pradesh;
>> hundreds of farmers commit suicide. In December 1998, Indian farmers'
>> organizations which have been organizing resistance to corporate
>> agriculture at least since GATT negotiations started launched a
>> "Cremation Monsanto" campaign, uprooting Monsanto-engineered crops 
and setting
>> the fields afire.
>> 
>> That very same month, President Clinton bestowed the nation's highest
>> honor for technological achievement on the Monsanto scientists that
>> developed Bt cotton. The U.S. exports 80% of the world's genetically
>> engineered materials, and has successfully stymied any attempts to
>> regulate this trade.  The impacts on consumer health and the
>> environment are disturbing unknowns; but for Third World farmers, the
>> future is all too clear.
>> 
>> Sonia Shah is the editor of Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists
>> Breathe Fire, and an editor/publisher in the South End Press
>> collective.
>> 
>> Sources Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, by
>> Vandana Shiva (South End Press, 1997).
>> 
>> North and South Face Off Over Genetic Engineering, InterPress
>> Third World News Agency, 2/16/99
>> 
>> Goldburg, R., et al, Biotechnology's Bitter Harvest: Herbicide
>> Tolerant Crops and the Threat to Sustainable Agriculture,
>> Council for Responsible Genetics, Cambridge, MA
>> 
>> AP Asks Monsanto to Stop Trials in Cotton Fields,
>> Deccan Herald 12/4/98
>> 
>> Scientist suspects foul play, wants CBI to probe cotton
>> suicides, Times of India, 1/18/99
>> 
>> Prof. Nanjundaswamy,
>> Cremation Monsanto the campaign, web posting
>> 
>> The 1998 National Medal of Technology, Scientific American,
>> March 1999, p.47.
>> 
>> US Government Sued Over Genetic Crops, InterPress Third World
>> News Agency,
>> 2/18/99.
>> See also
>> The Monsanto Machine, by Jeffrey St. Clair,
>> In These Times, 3/7/99, p. 4
>> 
>> Monsanto: Playing God by Kirkpatrick Sale,
>> The Nation, 3/8/99, p. 14, and
>> Vermont, the Pure-Food State, by Daniel Bellow,
>> The Nation, 3/8/99, p. 19
>> 
>> 
>> 
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>> 
>
>
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>This is the National Debate on System Reform.       
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>Rules, Procedures, Archives:            
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This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/
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