Scientist, Author, Activist Vandana Shiva Leads Movement to Restore Sovereignty to Farmers
Acres USA has published a remarkable interview with Indian Agricultural Activist Vandana Shiva, a physicist trained in quantum theory until the Union Carbide Bhopal disaster of 1984 led her on a path to expose the negative impacts of the Green Revolution. Here are a couple of salient points from the interview:
- Monsanto’s Bt cotton seed, pushing farmers into debt by shooting the prices of seed up thousands of percent higher to collect illegal royalties (Monsanto can’t have patents in India). 300,000 suicides have been attributed to this practice according to official government data.
- Strategies to shift the market include seed saving, organic farming and participating in fair trade, becoming sovereign in seed, food and economy, increasing their income ten fold. Doubling food production, increasing rural incomes tenfold is the answer to hunger and poverty.
- Seed banks are the base of non-industrial agricultural system that is biodiverse and ecological.
- Shiva looked at Ghandi’s teachings of nonviolence to shape a nonviolent agriculture, through the preservation of seeds of freedom and hope as Bija swaraj – bija is seed, swaraj is serenity and self governance, working to make farmers and communities sovereign in seed and food.
- This is opposed to Monsanto’s GMO seeds of soil destruction. Bacteria have dropped 250% in Bt cotton areas compared with organic farms. In four years of planting, 22 percent of beneficial soil organisms were killed by the release of the toxins. Fungi have dropped. The soil organisms have dropped in the Bt cotton area.
- Agriculture is based on two cycles – the nutrition and water cycles. The nutrition cycle is fixed by composting. The water cycle is fixed by water conservation and harvesting.
- Many of the world’s farmers grow cash crops for the commodity markets and can barely feed their families. Farmers are half of the hungry in the word because they’re made to grow food and raise it in debt.
Famines will hit the world when only profits guide how we do agriculture, rather than the care of the land, the dignity and justice of the farmer and our concern and awareness about our health which comes from food.
- Biopiracy is an epidemic. The most serious piracy involves plundering the innovation by farmers of the Third World who have evolved climate-resilient crops. Today the Monsantos and the Bill Gateses of the world are presenting the pirated climate-resilient crops as their inventions. They are looking toward the climate crisis as a way to deepen their monopoly.