The US Neoliberal Invasion of India

April 17, 2009 at 9:33 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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Farmers’ cooperatives in India are defending the nation’s food security and the future of Indian farmers against the neoliberal invasion of genetically modified (GM) seed. As many as 28,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide over the last decade as a result of debt incurred from failed GM crops and competition with subsidized US crops, yet when India’s Prime Minister Singh met with President Bush in March 2006 to finalize nuclear agreements, they also signed the Indo-US Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA), backed by Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), and Wal-Mart. The KIA allows for the grab of India’s seed sector by Monsanto, of its trade sector by giant agribusiness ADM and Cargill, and its retail sector by Wal-Mart.
Though the contours of KIA have been kept so secret that neither senior Indian politicians nor the scientific community know its details, it is clear that Prime Minister Singh has agreed to sacrifice India’s agriculture sector to pay for US concessions in the nuclear field.
In one of very few public statements by a US government official regarding KIA,  Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, states, “While the civilian nuclear initiative has garnered the most attention, our first priority is to continue giving governmental support to the huge growth in business between the Indian and American private sectors. Singh has also challenged the United States to help launch a second green revolution in India’s vast agricultural heartland by enlisting the help of America’s great land-grant institutions.”
Vandana Shiva translates, “These are twin programs about a market grab and a security alignment.” Burns announced that while the nuclear deal is the cutting edge, what the US is really seeking is agricultural markets and real estate markets, “to take over the land of people, not through a market mechanism, but using the state and an old colonial law of land acquisition to grab the land by force.”
Through KIA, Monsanto and the US have asked for unhindered access to India’s gene banks, along with a change in India’s intellectual property laws to allow patents on seeds and genes, and to dilute provisions that protect farmers’ rights. A combination of physical access to India’s gene banks and a possible new intellectual property law that allows seed patents will in essence deliver India’s genetic wealth into US hands. This would be a severe blow to India’s food security and self-sufficiency.
At the same time KIA has paved the way for Wal-Mart’s plans to open five hundred stores in India,  which will compound the outsourcing of India’s food supply and threaten 14 million small family venders with loss of livelihood….more

Genetically modified cotton seeds “could lead to total destruction of soil organisms, leaving dead soil unable to produce food”

Drought_India From Global Research, here.

A recent scientific study carried out by Navdanya, compared the soil of fields where Bt-cotton had been planted for 3 years with adjoining fields with non GMO cotton or other crops. The region covered included Nagpur, Amravati and Wardha of Vidharbha which accounts for highest GMO cotton planting in India, and the highest rate of farmers suicides (4000 per year).

In 3 years, Bt-cotton has reduced the population of Actinomycetes by 17%. Actinomycetes are vital for breaking down cellulose and creating humus.

Bacteria were reduced by 14%. The total microbial biomass was reduced by 8.9%.

Vital soil beneficial enzymes which make nutrients available to plants have also been drastically reduced. Acid Phosphatase which contributes to uptake of phosphates was reduced by 26.6%. Nitrogenase enzymes which help fix nitrogen were reduced by 22.6%.

At this rate, in a decade of planting with GM cotton, or any GM crop with Bt genes in it, could lead to total destruction of soil organisms, leaving dead soil unable to produce food.

Note: this image is of a drought.

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