Wednesday, 3 October 2012

MOP6/COP11: Modern agricultural practices have eroded agro-diversity playing havoc with the environment and livelihood of farmers in the country. It has also claimed the lives of 2.70 lakh debt-ridden farmers in the last 17 years

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 2: Modern agricultural practices have eroded
agro-diversity playing havoc with the environment and livelihood of
farmers in the country. It has also claimed the lives of 2.70 lakh
debt-ridden farmers in the last 17 years.

Research studies by the Coalition for GM Free India and the Centre for
Sustainable Agriculture have revealed that the green revolution
technologies had caused loss of genetic diversity in India. The report
was released at the ongoing Conference of Parties (CoP-11) to the UN
Convention of Biological Diversity here.

“Indian agriculture production in historical times was
self-sufficient. India, which is one of the mega biodiversity centres
in the world has rich diversity of crops grown in wide variety of
agro-ecological situations has now fallen into the monoculture trap in
the name of modernizing its agriculture,” said researchers Dr Sridhar
Radhakrishnan, Dr GV Ramanjaneyulu and Shalini Bhutani.

They said modern agriculture technology-driven agenda pushed the
nation towards greater risks of long term food shortages in the
country and emergence of new issues and concerns related to
monoculture, technology, biosafety issues, Intellectual Property
Rights, ex-situ conservation and climate change impacting
agro-biodiversity.

Both paddy and cotton are native crops to India with rich diversity.
Cotton cultivation and use in India dates back to Indus Valley
Civilisation. Things have changed with introduction of American
cottons to suit to the spinning mills. The American cottons brought in
their own set of ecological problems including the most dreaded
American bollworm and then chemical pesticides to control it.

With pest resistance built up, newer pesticides were brought in and
today the entire nation suffers from huge pesticide poisoning. The
genetically modified Bt cotton which was brought in 2002 as a solace
proved to have caused more damage, and have not lived up to the
expectations, they alleged.

They demanded protection of communities’ agro-biodiversity rights,
maintenance of a register on national biodiversity, declaration of the
germplasm material in custody of the National Bureau of Plant Genetic
Resources, and formulation of a national access policy on genetic
resources.

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