Monday, March 30, 2009

Conference of all Farmers’ Associations

Conference of all Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Associations against
Genetic Engineering in Agriculture planned in Coimbatore- Safe Food Alliance

Coimbatore: 30th March 2009: A conference of all the Farmers associations in the state is being organised in Coimbatore on the 3rd of April against Genetically modified crops in Agriculture by The Safe Food Alliance.

Genetically modified (GM) foods have been proved to be risky and can cause health hazards like allergies to serious problems retarded growth, inflammation and liver and kidney toxicity. A recent study has even predicted that long term consumption of GM foods like Bt corn can lead to serious reproductive problems and eventually to infertility. GM crops also are unanimously opposed by all farmers unions across India, as they can contaminate the agri-biodiversity developed over thousands of years, while increasing corporate control over seed and imparing soil fertility.

It is also known that despite the issues surrounding GM crops, the Tamil Nadu agricultural university has been found to conduct field trials for the multinational company Monsanto on its own land - free of cost. On March 16th, the safe food alliance had organised a rally against the continued allegiance of the University to the MNC Monsanto. On the same day, representatives form more than 11 farmers organisaitons, Tamil Nadu vanighar sangangalin peravai and Greenpeace had delivered a set of recommendations to the University.

“Despite our representation, the university has not given any responsible answer so far. In this juncture, we have decided to call for an all farmer organization conference to consolidate the opinions of all the farmers representatives in the state”, said Mr. Vazhukkuppaarai Balu, President of Tamizhagha Vivasaaya Sangam. “A decision to ban GM crops is expected to be adopted in this conference after detailed deliberations within farmer organizations”. He added.

Mr.N.S.Palanisamy Ex. MLA, of the Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam (Non political), said that “Agricultural research in India has never been in favour of farmers. The TNAU always been mis-prioritising its research and its seeds have never been adopted by farmers all these years. Now it has started becoming outsourcing agents for anti farmer agenda of Multinational companies.” “We are going to get a unanimous resolution among farmers of the state against this university.” He added.

“The upcoming election is an ideal platform to put forward the demand for a safe food without Gm crops. All parties should come together in banning GM crops and should mention it in their manifestos. Members of the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangangalin Peravai and their families, will choose the political parties that that bring a GM Free India proclamation in their manifesto” said Mr. Vellaiyan the president of the Peravai.

The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) in its manifesto, that has been released on 27th of this month, has declared that it will insist on long-term research before the introduction of GM crops and that Agricultural universities should not be allowed to carry out research on such crops along with the private sector.

Mr. Eashwaran, state deputy organizer of the Engineers association of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), who was present at the conference, said “Our General Secretary Mr. Vaiko, has taken a position against GM crops”. He further added that “It has already been stated by the outgoing union Health minister, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss that GM crops in India have not been tested to be safe. Thus, we would not support the approval of GM crops without long term safety tests, and without assessing the impacts on farmers.”
Mr. Sundararajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal and Mr. Selvam.of the Erode Organic Farmers’ Collective- part of the Safe Food Alliance, were also present during the interaction.

Program Agenda: English, தமிழ்

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