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Nature NGOs request Akal Takht to take up the issue against GM crops

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by aristotle, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. aristotle

    aristotle
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    AMRITSAR: On the occasion of Sikh Environment Day, a group of environmentalists and members of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on Friday called upon the Akal Takht to take the lead in preventing the entry of genetically-modified (GM) crops into Punjab.

    The NGOs submitted a joint memorandum to Takht Jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh on this issue. Among the signatories to the memorandum were former Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Giani Kewal Singh, former 'granthi' of the Golden Temple Giani Jagtar Singh Jahak, Upinder Dutt of Kheti Virasat Mission, Deepak Babbar of Mission Agaaz and a number of others.

    In the memorandum, they claimed that Punjab is fast becoming a hotbed for experimental field trials of toxic GM crops. This will end up contaminating “our food and environment”, the memorandum said.

    Pointing out that Punjab was already suffering due to excess usage of toxic agro chemicals, the NGOs said that now we are exposing our soil and our people to GM crop trials, the consequences of such trials will be dangerous for the state.

    The memorandum urged the Jathedar to take up this issue with the state government. The NGOs also claimed that giving permission to GM crops will lead to the seed business being monopolised by a few MNCs, which will not be in the interests of the small and marginal farmers.

    The Jathedar, on his part, assured the NGOs that he will take up the matter at the appropriate level.

    (Source: Hindustan Times, March 15 2014 edition http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx)
     
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  3. AngloSikhPeace

    AngloSikhPeace United Kingdom
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    Don't think this is a good idea. As they said, Panjab is already polluted heavily, and the water tables are dropping. Toxin-resistant GM crops, and those that are engineered to be more water-efficient, could help save agriculture in the state. They have potential drawbacks, but that's a risk to be taken with the dangers ahead (climate change could reduce crop output by 50%, and water-mismanagement will only increase as the population grows).
     
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  4. Sherdil

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    Nah ji. GM (genetically modified) crops require more pesticides because the bugs eat them up. They are not native to Punjabi soil, so they cannot survive without pesticides. One of the GM crops heavily grown in Punjab is rice. It requires a lot of water to grow, but the return on investment is high. Ironically, rice isn't even a staple of the traditional Punjabi diet. So we are destroying our ecosystem and our health to feed the rest of India.
     
  5. AngloSikhPeace

    AngloSikhPeace United Kingdom
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    I suppose it depends upon what sort of GM crops they are planting. If as you say they are planting high-yield crops that require additional pesticides, then I see the problem there (although the toxins are in the pesticides not the crop itself). But more resistant crops (as opposed to ones with a higher yield) that can withstand drought conditions might be the only way in the future. Panjab may become a desert state, partly because of the machinations of water distribution politics in the region, and partly because of CO2 increase.
     
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  6. Sherdil

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    Let's hope they do come out with better GM seeds, although I don't see the need. These seeds were originally produced to feed the starving masses of the world, but that is no longer the reality. It's all profit-driven. We should return to native crops and organic farming techniques. Farmers also need assurance that there is still a market for organic goods. If I was Maharaja of Punjab I would invite Whole Foods grocery chain to set up shop.

    It's so sad that the Land of 5 Rivers is slowly turning into a desert. Punjab is the only state in India that doesn't have control over its river water. Majority of Punjab's water gets unconstitutionally diverted into neighboring states by the Central Govt.
     
  7. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    maybe they don't want to share
     
  8. Sherdil

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    Duh Sherdil...welcome to capitalism haha

    I mean GM seeds were developed after WW2 to combat the global food shortage. They gave greater yield than natural crops, so they were able to feed more people.

    We don't have that crisis today, so the motive for perpetuating GM seeds is purely for profit. That motive is short-sighted because the farmers do not take into consideration the overhead cost of all the pesticides they have to buy. That's why you have so many small farmers falling into debt and killing themselves across India.

    The overhead cost of pesticides is going to keep going up because the Punjabi bugs are becoming more and more resistant. In the meanwhile, our health is going down.
     

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