Seed. Source of life. Embodiment of biological diversity. Link between evolution. Common property of tilling communities. Seed sovereignty is the base for food sovereignty. Seed freedom is the foundation for food freedom. This is why one needs to save our seeds. Especially, from being stolen, appropriated and sold back proprietorially by money-mongering corporations. The great seed robbery has to stop!
Several farsighted ngo’s and individuals in India are joining hands against genetically engineered seeds and crops. GMOs have unleashed seed wars and now the world is awash with me-know-best knowledge wars! Without getting into the veracity of claims about who is right and who is wrong, one thing is for certain – genetic engineering is simply to get patents on seeds to be collected as royalties!
And the only traits these corporations have introduced into plants through genetic engineering are toxic traits of Bt toxin and herbicide resistance. Other than being noxious, these traits have not reduced chemical use. Studies in Vidarbha show a 13 fold increase in pesticide use since Bt cotton was introduced. The data on increased chemical use shows that the claim that Bt toxin crops will reduce pesticide use and herbicide resistant crops will reduce herbicide use, is false.
Corporations assert intellectual property rights on seeds, biodiversity and life forms! But seeds are not an invention. They embody biological evolution and centuries of breeding by farmers. How can a corporation claim patent on traits that nature and farmers evolved. But now they pirate on traits like aromas, low-gluten, salt-tolerant, and even climate resilient crops! This is neither innovation nor invention. It is bio-piracy all in the name of greed and business as usual.
The future of the seed, the future of food and the future of farmers lies in conservation of biodiversity of our seeds. It is a great big myth being propagated that we need to hand over our seed supply to corporations to increase food production. The truth is farmers’ varieties when used in agro-ecological systems have the potential to double food production in 10 years as suggested by UNO.
Mure Memorial Grounds are to be the venue for the seed festival in Nagpur on April 7-8-9, 2017. HERD Foundation as an integral part of the agenda for Beejotsav Festival celebrates organic farming. More people need to join in to check the exhibition-cum-sale of diverse indigenous seeds, seed diversity, organic farm produce, organic dishes, organic clothing, and books – all put in place to better understand the need for healthy eating and sustainable agriculture. Let us all celebrate indigenous seeds. Celebrate seed diversity! Celebrate organic seeds! Celebrate Organic Food!