“Sow Against GMO’s”: Conservation of Seeds and Sustainable farming as a movement against corporate monopolies in farming sector.
The Campaign essentially is against seed monopolies and the governmental structures and policies that favor them and to assert farmers’ sovereignty (farmer Swaraj). This involves:
- Promoting alternatives: Conservation and Regeneration of Native Seeds By re-claiming the native seeds and traditional crops that have gone out of the food system of the people, the farmer frees himself of the baggage of company seeds- hybrid and GM seeds, costly chemical farm inputs and farming practices. Reducing the cost of farm inputs and using native climate resilient seeds and crops would make farming remunerative and also address the concern of food security. Indirectly this would become a very silent and peaceful but more potent way of taking on the monopolies that deal with farm inputs.
- Mobilizing farmers and other stake holders: Organizing festivals around seeds, foods, sustainable farming, World Food Day (week) etc and other media interventions, educate and mobilize farmers and the general public on the possible impacts of GM seeds and the Commercial cultivation of GM crops on farmers sovereignty (self-reliance), food security, safe food and bio-diversity.
- Spearhead the movement to make the states GM free: Develop at the level of states coalitions that would further the movement to make each state (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh) G.M Free. Establish greater linkage with other stake holders such as Government Agriculture Department, Research and Training organizations and University departments
- Strengthen the national level alliance that organize advocacy and lobbying with the Indian state, do research in this area, and fight entities like Monsanto; provide a platform for smaller and yet very potent groups that deal with various aspects of state policies under the umbrella of “Sow Against GMOs”
Why does the network need to campaign on this issue:
- Alienation of farmers from their native seeds and crops results in total dependence on company seeds and agro-chemical companies and consequent increase in the cost production of farm produce. Lack of remunerative price leads farmers to debt and suicide.
- Company seeds and associated crops are not climate resilient and hence leads to crop loss.
- Mono-cropping and cash cropping affects the food security and nutrition security of the community.
- Chemical inputs and GM seeds and foods pollute the environment and pose threat to the flora and fauna and the biodiversity and consequently, they also affect the health of the people by creating newer forms of illnesses.
Impacts on Hunger & Poverty:
- Farming is made profitable; the farmers are empowered with purchasing power.
- Makes farmers self reliant and gives them better control over the resources required for farming By bringing back some of the traditional varieties of climate resilient crops like minor millets, which are highly nutritious, crop loss is prevented and at the same time food and nutrition security is ensured.
- Build a self-reliant and buoyant farming communities.