Dr. Vandana Shiva has been presented in the latest post. In a recent interview (July 2009) she explains in clear, lucid, straightforward manner why agribusiness is not the solution for the food problem. What is at stake is the right to food, food security and food sovereignity which boils down to the right to freedom.
In the first short part she explains that GM crops are not upholding the promises they proclaim. The two major GM varieties marketed today, herbicide tolerant GMs (HT) and insect resistant GMs (BT) are in fact not improving yields. What is more these varieties are impoverishing the soil, leading to a degradation of micro-nutrients.She quotes a study that would show that BT cotton have led to 30% decline of soil micro organisms. And attacks the promises of the second-generation biotechnology with enhanced traits, like golden rice would help to improve the nutritional value of food. She believes that these corporations are taking over the power of the seed market, through the use of patents. Patents linked to biotechnology gives the corporation power over the seed market. It excludes farmers the possibility for making, using, saving, and developing the patented product.
This second excerpt starts with the question: ‘Considering the growing world population, how could we feed the world without using biotechnology’ The doctor replies that hunger is mainly a problem in rural areas, people who live in agricultural communities. Through governmental policies, farmers have become forced to concentrate on export products on large monocropping fields. The products are sold on the world market, where farmers depend on volatile prices. Furthermore, governments have invested to integrate as much as possible costly external inputs (fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, herbicides) in this industrial-type of farming, leaving a financial burden on the farmers. The industry proclaims that this type of farming have brought yield increases and higher incomes to the farmers. Vandana Shiva refutes these claims, and bluntly states that the studies of influential corporations are deceptive and are in fact frauds. On the contrary she presents figures that shows that this type of agriculture has led to an impoverishment of farmers. This leads her to the conclusion that knowledge has been contaminated.
‘For me Organic Farming is learning, once more, what nature can do for us’. She makes a methaphoric parallel between the financial crisis, where artificial instruments of fictitous instruments have overriden the real economy till it crashes; and the industrial food system that makes agricultural dependent on external inputs that do not enhance soils or food quality but impoverishes. But soil is life, seed is life, and organic farmers relink to the soil. She explains why she has started to build an organic movement in India, and why an 18 year old could well start with organic farming. 1. Organic farmers are the best scientists of today. They have to understand how natures works, in order to produce. 2. They are the best health specialists of today, since they gives us the food that gives us the best health. It’s not hospitals that give us health, they are giving us increasingly more diseases. 3.Organic farmers are the best stewards of the land and the best ecologists. 4. An organic farmer is the best peace maker of today. Because there is more violence, more death, more destruction and more wars through a violent industrial agricultural system. Organic farming is a system of peace. It is important to recognise that our food is linked to the soil, seeds and the loving efforts of farmers. Food is sacred, it is the future of our bodies. As an individual we make sure we will still have a choice in what we eat, and force our governments to implement policies to saveguard (and restore) sustainable farming, sustainable food; to saveguard freedom and dignity.