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#312244 - 11/25/08 03:41 PM Genetically altered crop farmers commit suicide
Marty Offline
The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops

There were still marks in the dust where he had writhed in agony. Other villagers looked on - they knew from experience that any intervention was pointless - as he lay doubled up on the ground, crying out in pain and vomiting.

Moaning, he crawled on to a bench outside his simple home 100 miles from Nagpur in central India. An hour later, he stopped making any noise. Then he stopped breathing. At 5pm on Sunday, the life of Shankara Mandaukar came to an end.

As neighbours gathered to pray outside the family home, Nirmala Mandaukar, 50, told how she rushed back from the fields to find her husband dead. 'He was a loving and caring man,' she said, weeping quietly.

'But he couldn't take any more. The mental anguish was too much. We have lost everything.'

Shankara's crop had failed - twice. Of course, famine and pestilence are part of India's ancient story.

But the death of this respected farmer has been blamed on something far more modern and sinister: genetically modified crops.

Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.


Distressed: Prince Charles has set up charity Bhumi Vardaan Foundation to address the plight of suicide farmers

Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts - and no income.

So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.

The crisis, branded the 'GM Genocide' by campaigners, was highlighted recently when Prince Charles claimed that the issue of GM had become a 'global moral question' - and the time had come to end its unstoppable march.

Speaking by video link to a conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, he infuriated bio-tech leaders and some politicians by condemning 'the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming... from the failure of many GM crop varieties'.

Ranged against the Prince are powerful GM lobbyists and prominent politicians, who claim that genetically modified crops have transformed Indian agriculture, providing greater yields than ever before.

The rest of the world, they insist, should embrace 'the future' and follow suit.

So who is telling the truth? To find out, I travelled to the 'suicide belt' in Maharashtra state.

What I found was deeply disturbing - and has profound implications for countries, including Britain, debating whether to allow the planting of seeds manipulated by scientists to circumvent the laws of nature.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnew...fied-crops.html

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#312261 - 11/25/08 04:27 PM Re: Genetically altered crop farmers commit suicide [Re: Marty]
Peter Jones Offline
One of the greatest evils of our time, perpetrated by giant and immensely rich companies such as Monsanto regardless of the consequences. Hitherto we've mainly been concerned with possible effects on the environment, but this article reveals the true conspiracy. Persuade people, by lies and threats, to abandon their centuries-old agricultural customs and use the new "wonder" crop. Claim it's immune from disease, which as this article shows it most certainly isn't, and (the killer stroke) make it infertile so that fresh seed has to be purchased each year. Offer these seeds at modest prices to hook people, then when they've finally used the last of their traditional fertile crops and no longer have any option, hike the price to enormous levels and reap the profits.

The incentive on these companies to deceive and lie, and to spend a great deal of money doing it, is much the same as for drug peddlers - fabulous profits stretching far into the future. What does it matter if a few unfortunates fall by the wayside? - there'll be lots more to replace them. Land doesn't disappear. And the wonderful part is that these farmers will by then have no option but to buy GM seed and boost the corporate income. Monsanto is set to become one of the most powerful companies on earth ..... if we don't stop it.

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#312269 - 11/25/08 04:59 PM Re: Genetically altered crop farmers commit suicide [Re: Peter Jones]
Danny2 Offline

Wow, who would have thunk it.

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#312371 - 11/26/08 01:08 AM Re: Genetically altered crop farmers commit suicide [Re: Danny2]
crockhunter Offline
This sounds like something written by Green Pease. I don't know anything about cotton production or farming in India, but I farm in Minnesota and have planted GM crops for years. Corn and soybean yields have increased while we have used fewer pesticides. To me, pesticides are far more apt to have a negative impact on the enviornment than GM seeds. No one has shown any ill effects of feeding these crops to livestock. We do not consider these sinister crops, but rather, another tool a farmer can use in agricultural production.

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#312374 - 11/26/08 01:38 AM Re: Genetically altered crop farmers commit suicide [Re: crockhunter]
Peter Jones Offline
Some farmers in Britain share your experience, whereas for others the picture isn't so rosy. But the original article certainly applies throughout India and Africa, where GM crops are wreaking economic disaster. Or rather, where the business practices of the companies selling these crops are having that effect - the crops themselves may be blameless.

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#312381 - 11/26/08 02:38 AM Re: Genetically altered crop farmers commit suicide [Re: Peter Jones]
crockhunter Offline
Peter, you may be right, but comments like "it takes twice as much water" make me wonder how factual the entire article is. GM is used to make a plant tolerant to a herbicide or capable of killing a certain insect. These changes don't make a plant use twice as much water. I don't doubt that there can be problems trying to bring farmers with centuries old traditions into the 21st century but that isn't all just a greed problem with Monsanto. I don't particularly like Monsanto and having to deal only with them, but the nature of capitalism is such that soon someone else will have a product better than what they have. In the meantime I will use whichever products that can enhance my bottom line.

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#312386 - 11/26/08 04:25 AM Re: Genetically altered crop farmers commit suicide [Re: crockhunter]
skippy Offline
"make me wonder how factual the entire article is."

Plus the absolute certainty that the guy's suicide was due to this, and not possible mental illness or any number of possible factors. Could have been a coincidence.

If he had to borrow money for these seeds, he would have had to borrow money for regular seeds, so that was a non-sequitor that the writer threw in. The lack of money suggests the guy just was a lousy farmer, and not getting a crop may have had something to do with his farming prowess, not the miracle seeds.

Horrible "reporting". But it supports an agenda, one that is self-contradictory in that it is esposed by those who bemoan the plight of poor people in developing nations while at the same time decrying the crop research advances that will help those same people, all because a big bad corporation (there's that evil word again) made it and promotes it.
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I hope that someday we can put aside our fears and prejudices and just laugh at people.

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#312387 - 11/26/08 04:45 AM Re: Genetically altered crop farmers commit suicide [Re: skippy]
divingcowgirl Offline
Crock, I do agree with you on the fact that GM or now GE (Genetically Enhanced) varieties, while more expensive on the purchasing side, they do have their advantages. Another thing that makes me want to call B*S* to the report is when it was stated that the GM varieties were not able to "reproduce". How do they think they got those varieties to begin with? I work for a seed company and I was in the research part of genetics years ago (over 20 years ago as a student) but what most people do not realize is the cross-breeding that is done to get the varieties that we have today. While some of the germination might not be as high as the first crop, the stand will still be there. As far as production goes, depends on the parent gene.
I'm sorry for India, and I do not like the corporation and government ways of doing business. But until this is brought to light and things change, it's hard to get past the government and what they (India) allows the farmers to grow.
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#312394 - 11/26/08 02:17 PM Re: Genetically altered crop farmers commit suicide [Re: divingcowgirl]
collyk Offline
I am not a fan of Monsanto or GM crops but I am a fan of factual information.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026814.600-gm-cotton-in-the-clear-over-farmer-suicides.html

" GM cotton in the clear over farmer suicides

* 06 November 2008 by Andy Coghlan
* Magazine issue 2681. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.
* For similar stories, visit the GM Organisms Topic Guide

POOR Indian farmers are not driven to suicide by the pressures of growing genetically modified cotton, concludes a comprehensive review published last month - if anything, suicides among farmers have fallen since Bt cotton was introduced by Monsanto in 2002, quite steeply in some states.

"It is not only inaccurate, but simply wrong to blame the use of Bt cotton as the primary cause of farmer suicides in India," says the report by independent think tank, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Groups opposed to GM crops, such as Gene Campaign and Navdanya, both based in New Delhi, have long argued that introducing GM cotton has been a disaster. Navdanya, for example, claims that the high cost and poor performance of the earliest varieties drove farmers into heavy debt from which suicide was seen as the only honourable release.

Just before the report's publication, Prince Charles, the famously anti-GM heir to the British throne, delivered a lecture to Navdanya by video link repeating the allegation. He talked of the "truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming in part from the failure of many GM crop varieties".

The report concedes that early varieties were so ill-suited to Indian conditions that they may have caused catastrophic failures for some farmers. But droughts at the time - particularly in states like Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra - meant that conventional cotton failed too. Not only that, says the report, but rogue dealers sold farmers fake or sub-standard Bt cotton seeds....."
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#312429 - 11/26/08 05:32 PM Re: Genetically altered crop farmers commit suicide [Re: collyk]
Peter Jones Offline
There is still the fact that the only seeds made available by Monsanto to these farmers are infertile, and they must buy fresh seed every year. And that taking advantage of this, Monsanto have massively raised the price of their seed compared with the cost of purchasing conventional seed (were it to be available).

The point about seeding is that in traditional farming the seed for next year's crop is taken from this year's harvest. In normal times there is no need to buy seed at all.

I'm afraid I greatly disagree with Skippy. I am familiar with some of the antics of Monsanto from experiences of farmer friends in England, and like most large corporations they are motivated by one thing only - money. That's why they make their seeds infertile - to FORCE people to buy fresh every year. In a traditional farming community there is almost no market for seeds, as people produce their own.

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