Ban killer Bt.cotton seed :
Pandharkawada and Kinwat -13th November 2009
Massive failure of cotton crop in 34 lakh hectares in cotton growing region of maharashtra has received very sharp reaction from farmers of vidarbha and marathawada region ,urging the union Govt. review their decision of giving commercial trials to American cotton seed giant Monsanto and to impose the complete ban of killer Bt. cotton seed .the resolution of sending requisition through maharashtra Govt. passed to day in first cotton farmers rally in Pandharkawada (Yavatmal)which has epicenter of from suicide since 2005 after the commercial trials of much controversial genetically modified seed popularly known as Bt.cotton seed granted now after 5 years more than 7400 farm suicides and Rs.20 thousand crore relief packages this year as per predicament of the state cotton federation that there is a big loss to cotton crop, along with demand farmers to ban the killer bt. Cotton seed they have also demanded that the government should arrange to seek compensation to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore from Bt cotton seed manufacturers and insecticide, pesticide makers for the losses suffered by farmers,. farmers' protest forum Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti(VJAS) President Kishore Tiwari informed in the press note to day.
"In the state government-sponsored campaign, over 24 lakh farmers took to genetically modified seeds in 34 lakh hectares. The campaign was led by its own seed company Mahyco which is among those that have obtained license from a multinational company for its Bt cotton seeds. The gullible farmers fell prey to the advertisement blitz by the seed companies which claimed that Bt seeds would give bumper crops even in rain fed areas like Vidarbha where irrigation facilities are abysmally low,'' president Kishore Tiwari alleged .
Addressing a farmers protest rally cotton farmers have given proof of crop loss and it is estimated that the cotton farmers' total expenses thus added up to Rs 9,170 crore including the additional expenditure on costly pesticides and insecticides that were used in large quantities as the cotton crop had a variety of infestation right from the start. "While the agriculture department advisory clearly states that Bt seeds cultivation could be risky in rain fed areas, the government did little to discourage farmers who gave up food crops like jowar and maize and shifted to Bt cotton growing as a cash crop and this has collapsed the economy of the region and is main reson of despair and distress leading thousands of cotton farmers suicides , said Tiwari.
Cotton farmers urged today that "It is now the state government's vicarious liability. It should take strong action against the Bt seed manufacturers as well as chemical pesticide companies who made huge profits at the cost of farmers. The yields are as low as 25% in some area. Farmers who were dreaming of high yields of 20 quintals an acre got only two quintals. The state government can drag these companies to the Monopoly and Restricted Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) citing the misleading advertisements," said Tiwari.
"If the state government fails to act, VJAS will move before the MRTPC in the matter, as done by the Andhra government against the Bt seed company before the MRTPC which helped drastically reduce the seed in the year 2005 but this year maharashtra is adopting same relief policy which was adopted in 2005-06 under which it paid Rs 216 crore as compensation to Bt.cotton growers whose crop suffered damage from 'lalya' (micronutrient deficiency that reddens the leaves and stunts plant growth),
"Instead of wasting public money, the government should legally force erring seed companies and recover the losses on behalf of farmers. we have collecting fact sheets from the thousands of cotton growers and these conventions of cotton growers, yeaterday Thursday at Pandharkawda and today on Friday at Kinwat in Marathwada region of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan are for the purpose of facilitating documentation of the losses suffered by the farmers that data will be handed over to the government in the hope that it would act against the companies," said Tiwari