Bulletins from Samanvaya - Food Updates
Issue of October 2001
In this issue,
Chief SAMANVAYA Column: 2 YEARS FOR SAMANVAYA FOOD UPDATES
Our first Food Update was dated 30th Sept 99. We have stumbled through 2 years of existence, we have been inconsistent, bungled a few, at times large, ...learning all the time for sure. We thank all of you who have supported us to learn and develop during this period. Please continue with your support, that is what keeps us going.
Too many bytes this last month - on war, terrorism, peace, terror, anger, pain, polity...enough. Too much.
So, I stop here.
...The possibility of interbreeding by marriage between close relatives over a period of time ALSO could have contributed to the congenital defects. The possibility of use of prohibited medicines during the initial stages or pregnancy can ALSO result in birth defects...
--- E V V Bhaskara Rao, Director, National Research Centre for Cashew, Puttur, Karnataka on the Endosulfan problem in Padre. Source: Down To Earth, Oct 15th, 2001
That is not how a scientist would talk. Do we talk of an ALMOST complete right angle? A right angle is a right angle of 90 degrees, not less, not more.
--- Gandhiji arguing with scientists on the benefits of unpolished rice, March 18, 1935. Source: Weekly Notes by Mahadev Desai
We do not know how and when the FIPPAT or PCK officials came to and collected samples. Just like the aerial spraying, about which local people aren't intimated earlier, this study also seems to have been done secretly. Now the report is being quoted in the press, but nobody has seen the full report. Why this secrecy ?
--- Srinivas Naik, Panchayath member from 6th ward, Enmakaje Panchayath, Affected area in Kerala
- HOW WE SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF HUNGER
LECTURE BY DEVINDER SHARMA
...But then we want to divert attention from the real problems. We are saying: 'No, no, no, forget about normal food, poor and hungry need to get what is called 'novel' food, 'functional' food and so on. Biotechnologists are telling us that they are providing the poor with a choice to choose from various 'novel' foods. I am sure, you will agree that if we were to give the poor people a choice, they would like to have food. Give them food and much of the problems that we are talking about would be resolved. But we don't want to give them food. And if they can't afford to buy rice, please tell me how can they buy Vitamin A rice? It's a question, which has not been addressed, it is a question that is very conveniently bypassed and it will continue to be bypassed, because of the commerce, the industrial interests that drive these kind of technologies, further and further driving away the poor and hungry from their basic right -- the right to food.
We are increasingly getting into a paradigm, which actually takes us away from the ground realities and therefore in the years to come, you will see more and more people succumbing to hunger in India. Biotechnology, which is being pushed in the name of hunger will actually be adding onto hunger. It's therefore important for all of us to question, it's very important for all of us to raise our voice. Otherwise, we will do exactly what the late Mrs. Indira Gandhi, India's former Prime Minister, used to do. Mrs. Indira Gandhi, as you all know remained in power for about 18 years, a remarkable leader, the world respects her and so on. But let me share with you a classic quality of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, and I find the same principles and thinking being adopted by the chemical or the industrial or the scientific community. There's a parallel here. Mrs. Gandhi had the political astuteness to address problems, she was known for it. If there was terrorism in the far eastern State of Assam, her way of addressing the problem was to 'let it linger on' and when it gets out of hand, she will create another problem in northwestern Punjab and when the Punjab problem gets out of hand, people will tend to forget about the problem the existed in Assam. And when the Punjab problem gets out of hand, she will flame another crisis in down south Tamil Nadu. So, that means the nation's attention gets diverted to Tamil Nadu and you forget about Punjab.
What a remarkable way of solving problems by diverting attention. And this is exactly what the scientific community is doing. It's doing that. The problem today is of hunger, and they are not keen to address the problem of hunger. They are telling us we should be worried about hidden hunger. What a clever way of bypassing the real problem that is confronting us today. And then they also know that we have mountains of food surplus in India. Because they don't want to tackle or confront the hunger problem, or they don't want us to get out of the hunger trap, they are saying you should look at the hunger that is going to crop up in the year 2020. Somehow we are not worried about the surplus that we have right now. If we were to take care of the surplus right now, I can assure you that the hunger that we are talking about in the year 2020 will not be there.
Let's make a beginning by first taking care of or at least taking this monumental task upon ourselves -- we must ensure that the surplus 60 million tonnes that we have got has to be distributed among the poor people. And unless we do that, I don't think we have the right to say that we should be worried about the hunger that is going to crop up in the year 2020. Let's be sure -- more and more people are dying in India by producing more rather than producing less, and that is something that we need to be very, very clear about.
--- Excerpts from talk by Devinder Sharma, Transcript of a speech delivered at a National Convention on Biotechnology and hunger, organised by the Andhra Pradesh Coalition in Defence of Diversity, Deccan Development Society and the Centre for World Solidarity, Hyderabad, India; July 2, 2001.
- Response from ESPAC for FIPPAT study on the Endosulfon Issue at Padre
ENDOSULFAN SPRAY PROTEST ACTION COMMITTEE ( ESPAC) Perla - Padre - 671552 Kasaragod, Kerala
Correspondence: C/O Kajampady Nursing Home, Post Perla 671552
The Enmakaje Panchayath today disowned the PCK sponsored FIPPAT study. According to Smt . Y.Sharadha , Panchayath President, "The FIPPAT team had not officially requested the panchayath for sampling". There was no representatives of people or prominent personalities who witnessed the sampling. It is known that PCK has collected blood samples of all the 56 workers of the Perla Division for the first time in 26 years. But none of the workers have been informed about their blood contamination levels.
We from ESPAC allege that the FIPPAT study seems to be cooked up to absolve the chemical endosulfan from being made the culprit. How else can one explain the events that followed the supposed study ? The PCK, as per press reports, has spent Rs. 7 lakhs to get FIPPAT to do the study . FIPPAT report is submitted to Pesticide manufacturers. It is PMFAI which releases the abstracts to the Press in Calicut and Thiruvananthapuram .
This only proves two things:
The unholy nexus between the PCK, the FIPPAT and the Pesticide Industry who are desperate to prove the innocence of endosulfan.
Cooking up evidence in desperation at the end of 26 years of violation and trying to absolve the chemical and themselves from owning up this toxic legacy.
In a study sponsored by Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) - the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Pesticides Residues in 1999 -out of 422 farm-gate vegetables tested for residue of endosulfan 322 (79%) were found to be contaminated . The contamination ranged upto 18.63 mg/kg ( the second most contaminating factor, after residues of
copper ( upto 75 mg/kg), which is a metal and does not undergo degradation. The allowable Maximum Residue levels of endosulfan in food is 0.5 to 2 mg/kg. Moreover, the contamination percentage of endosulfan (79%) was second only to Lindane (96%). This being the case, it is scientifically impossible not to detect any levels of endosulfan in the samples taken from an area, which has been continuously exposed to endosulfan aerially for the last 26 years.
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- More Endosulfan Problems
Here is a bad news. Like Padre & scores of Kerala villages, same pesticide seems to have caused lot of damage in Dakshina Kannada Mangalore) district too. In Karnataka villages like Patrame, Pattoor, Kaukrady, Kokkada, etc. that are very near to Dharmasthala, there is a very high incidence of dreaded diseases. KCDC (Karnataka Cashew Development Corporation) is reportedly spraying Endosulfan to the cashew plantations there since 1987.
Poor Patrame villagers. In early 80's, thick green forest was shaved by KCDC to raise cashew plantation; As a result, a silent focus of virus (KFD-Kyasanur Forest Disease) got flared up. KFD(known better as Monkey Fever) took a heavy toll .Now, after 20 years, the cashew spray has unleashed a devil which has done a second coming.
Following local sources would be helpful to unearth more:STD Code : 08251
1) Raghava Poojary - 54387
2) Dr Ganapathi Bhat, Farmer - 54274
3) Dr Muralidhar, practicing at Nelyadi, hails from Patrame - 54205 (C) & 54333 (R) mail:email@example.com
4) Hari Rao Marlaje - Doesn't have phone, has taken lot of interest.
5) Raghuram, The Hindu, Mangalore-0824-454450(R),mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
6) Somanatha Nayak , Nagarika Seva Trust; Phone: 08256-22709;22019;mail:email@example.com
Source: Shree Padre, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bio-tech Park at the cost of Biodiversity - Karnataka
Police excess on innocent students, staff and faculty at University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore on Sep 27, 2001
The forcible take over of precious forest land in the UAS GKVK campus by clamping Section 144 is a demonstration of the high handedness of the Government. Police clamped Sec 144 on the evening of the Sep 26th at
GKVK without any compelling reason. On the morning of Sep 27th, the students, staff and faculty in the entrance of the campus faced several police jeeps, vans and personnel equipped with arms and ammunitions.
The Government of Karnataka wants to establish a Bio Tech Park by taking over 100 acres of land from UAS. Though the UAS authorities approved to hand over the patch of 100 acres located along the Yelahanka road, since
the preferred location by the Government has precious forest cover and allocation of this land would accordingly violate Forest Conservation Act of 1980. Turning a blind ear the Government has initiated felling of trees using several earth moving equipments forcibly.
On the Sep 27th, when students, staff and faculty went on to hug the trees in the forest land, which the Government forcibly wanted to capture for the Bio Tech park, hundreds of innocent students, including girl students and women faculty, were caned by the Police. Even the Dean of the college of Agriculture Dr PG Chengappa was badly hit by the
police when he tried to protect a student from being hit. The Police chased several girl students and even as they could not cross barbed wire fence, they were beaten mercilessly. Associate Professors Dr Savithramma of Genetics and Plant Breeding, GKVK, and Dr CP Gracy of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Mudigere, were beaten. The situation was certainly not a reflector of a democratic set up.
We earnestly appeal to the Human Rights Commission, to probe into
(i) the land grab for Bio Tech Park by the Government which lead to
(ii) all Police excesses on innocent girl students, boy students, women faculty and men faculty and staff at UAS, GKVK immediately.
Source: Submission to the Human Rights Commission by the Staff of UAS.
India plans to regulate GM farm imports - official
BOMBAY - India plans to regulate imports of genetically modified (GM) agricultural products due to concerns about their effects on health and the environment, a top government official said.
"We are currently formulating new rules and procedures which will be notified soon," J.N.L. Srivastava, federal agriculture secretary, told Reuters on the sidelines of an international conference of edible oils, which concluded on Monday. He said the government's objective was not to stop imports but to ensure there was adequate information about the commodities that came into the country.
"Genetically modified food objects have to be accepted first in the country and health hazards have to be studied," he said. Traders may have to obtain prior permission from the environment ministry to import GM items, he said.
Tougher norms would mainly affect rising imports of soyoil, extracted in many countries from genetically modified soybean, traders said. India imported 1.05 million tonnes of soyoil between November 2000 and August 2001 compared with 497,635 tonnes in the same period of the previous year due to lower duty on the commodity.
The government imposes import levies of between 75 to 85 percent on edible oils but soyoil attracts only 45 percent duty due to the government's commitment to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The country mainly imports soyoils from Argentina and Brazil, traders said, adding these two countries cultivated both GM and non-GM soybean crops. Traders said the government may not allow imports of GM soyoil on health and environment grounds Srivastava said the move should not be seen as a non-tariff barrier to restrict imports of soyoil and other commodities.
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