CORRUPTION FREE INDIA

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e.Petition Farmers Smarter Than Quack PhD M.S. Swaminathan

Posted by egovindia on August 4, 2006

e.Petition To

The President of India

July 13, 2006

 

Petitioner:

Ravinder Singh, WIPO Awarded Inventor and Engineer, New Delhi-110016

 

Respondents:

The Cabinet Secretary, Patel Bhawan, New Delhi-110001,

The Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Krishi Bhawan, 110001.

 

Subject;

Illiterate Farmers Wiser Than Quack PhD M.S. Swaminathan,

National Disgrace for 50 Years

 

Summary;

My late illiterate Grand Father, 25 years his senior, was much more wiser and farming expert than Quack PhD M.S. Swaminathan. Swaminathan had the dubious distinction of promoting and supporting world’s most eccentric, unviable and unfeasible Ganga- Cauvery Link that may have cost $150b, enough to bankrupt Tamil Nadu and even after wasting colossal resources very little Ganga water would have reached Cauvery basin.

 

Quack PhD MS Swaminathan also promoted wasteful irrigation projects like Indira Gandhi Canal that has wastefully drained 500 maf of Indus Water in heart of Thar Desert that has cooled the desert and weakened the monsoon thereby impacting and threatening agriculture in India. Over 30 large dams are proposed in Narmada basin, more that 10 largest of them already built that contribute very little to irrigation or food production.

 

He was directly responsible for identifying least productive farming zones for high cost canal irrigation. Quality of seeds continues to be substandard and even spurious seeds, pesticides and fertilizers are sold to farmers. He did little and failed though member and chair of so many committees and commissions. Credit to farmers, harvesting, storage, transporting and distribution system continues to be extremely inadequate and substandard and moneylenders forcibly take away farmers crops when the prices are lowest and earn hefty profits.

 

Small farmers are much wiser and intelligent than Quack PhD MS Swaminathan. To overcome exploitation by middlemen who jack up commodity prices many fold within days of arriving in the market, they grow so many crops of average yield than few specialized crops for optimum yields.

 

India imported 18,000 tons of Mexican wheat seeds in 1966 as he rose in ranks to head IARI as its director. Imports of such a huge quantity of seeds indicates total failure IARI efforts but he continues to enjoy top ranks 40 years hence even as per capita food availability has declined to below independence level and India ranks on top in hunger and lowest in calorie and nutritional intake in the world.

 

He caused extreme embarrassment to India in Conned claims that wheat variety developed by him has more protein than milk and earned international rebuke.

 

 

Details;

 

1.)  It is a fact that my late grand father, 25 years senior, was much wiser and knowledgeable than Quack PhD MS Swaminathan. When I was 5 years old in 1960, he introduced me to farming, particularly irrigation. I asked him questions and he answered them and justified his planning.

 

Ø      Why we have share in four Persian wheel wells* on four sides of 14 acre plot than one in the center? Answer; Yield of the wells is sufficient for 2 acres in summers only. Wells dries up after few hours of use in a day. Water is lost in channel in reaching the distant part of the plot. (*100% share in one, 50% in two and 30% in fourth)

 

Ø      Why we have only 2 acres under crops mainly fodder and vegetables? Answer; May and June are very hot and dry months Persian wheel can irrigate only 2 acres. The most fertile section and nearest to the fully owned Persian wheel was most suitable.

 

Something I learnt at age 5, Quack MS Swaminathan doesn’t know in 81 years. He was Co-conspirator in Ganga Cauvery Link project, supported Garland Canal Project and River Link Loot Program.

 

Quack PhD MS Swaminathan is also responsible selecting least fertile or unfertile lands over a thousand kilometers from Dam source in the case of Indira Gandhi Canal and now Narmada canal so most of the water is lost on way and produce negligible food.

 

Ganga waters could be utilized in Ganga Basin itself to produce 30 million tons of food required in South than 50 billion tons of water in a $150b Ganga Cauveri link, most to be lost on way to leakages, breaches and seepages.

 

2.)  My grand father died in 1991. I was assisting my father in managing the farm. After a year of studying agriculture in Doaba area, reading books and participating in Krishi Melas, meeting few leading plant breeders, including Basmati breeder, I confidently asked small farmers;

 

Ø      Why do you grow so many crops getting average crop yields, when you can more than double yield specializing in 2-3 crops using better seeds etc?

 

Answer; we are happy growing 10 crops or more even if yield is half. We earn only Rs.1 per kg for Potato, Rs.2 for most vegetables but if we have to buy it from the market it cost Rs.5 to Rs.25 per kg. We earn only Rs.2.5 per kg for wheat but if we buy it from the market we pay Rs.4 to Rs.5 per kg. In addition the farm residue is used as cattle feed.

 

Ø      THIS EXPLAINS WHY INDIA IS ON TOP OF HUNGRY & STARVING LIST AND LOWEST ON CALORIE & NUTRITION INTAKE. PER CAPITA FOOD INTAKE IS BELOW PARTITION LEVEL.

 

3.)  Surely Quack PhD MS Swaminathan is an absolute idiot. Obviously all the dubious awards he was showered with ought to go to my grand father and a small farmer.

 

4.)  It is shocking this dubious character accepted to Chair perhaps 50th committee National Commission on Farmers and took 18 months to come out with “Draft Report” which considering the experience he has in two days.

 

http://krishakayog.gov.in/ncpdraft.pdf

http://krishakayog.gov.in/tor.pdf

 

“4.1 Definition

For the purpose of this Policy, the term “farmers” will include landless agricultural labourers, sharecroppers, tenants, small, marginal and sub-marginal cultivators, farmers with larger holdings, fishers, dairy, sheep, poultry and other farmers involved in animal husbandry, pastoralists, plantation workers, as well as those rural and tribal families engaged in a wide variety of farming related occupations such as sericulture and vermiculture.” Draft National Policy For Farmers, April13, 2006

 

Firstly he included in definition every one producing food as farmer, though Cultivators, poultry, fishery, plantations are entirely different practices that have completely different practices and problems. Cultivators form over 90% of the farmers clubbing everything with it was an “Eccentric Idea.” Canal / tube-well irrigation, seeds, harvesting, procurement, storage, transportation and distribution of grains exclusively relate to cultivars than plantations, fisheries etc.

 

Quack M.S. Swaminathan

 

5.)  Instead of removing commission agents, middlemen and streamlining marketing, his idea of Cooperative Farming, Group Farming, Small Holders Estates, Contract Farming, Corporate Farming, Company Farming, Government State Farms etc is an attempt to “Eradicate Farmers And Turn Them In To Labor.” So the brain behinds Reliance farming plans is this crook Swaminathan.

 

Ø      His recommendations favor large industry but this quack doesn’t know that small farmers, targeted group shall reject the programs.

 

6.)  It is important to note that potential yields of local cultivars were much more even at the time of independence than average crop yields today. The missing factors all these years were Irrigation, Farm Credit, Inadequate Support Price, Poor Storage and Handling and Middlemen Exploitation. THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN THESE 60 YEARS though he was Chairing and members of over 100 committees or commissions. 

 

7.)  He was among the prime conspirators to propose “Ganga Cauvery Link To Cost $150b” which has been repeatedly thrust on India in different forms. Food can be produced in Ganga Basin itself using 50 billion tons of water efficiently and exporting 30 MT of food to South.

 

Ø      He is so stupid that he perhaps never knew that $150b or of the cost of Ganga Cauvery Link Canal will be charged to TN or other partners that shall make TN bankrupt. Eventually little or no water may reach Cauvery due to losses on way.

 

8.)  Wasteful Dams on Narmada, release of 500 maf water in Thar Desert, destroying desert eco system affecting Monsoon have severely impacted agriculture are indicators of GROSS INCOMPETENCE. He never offered any dissent all these 50 years.

 

http://www.answers.com/topic/m-s-swaminathan

 

9.)  In the above link you have the manipulative skills of Quack PhD holder, getting rewarded for non performance.

 

The article following this e.petition explains how he manipulated Scientific Papers etc.

 

10.) But the crucial observation is that “India Imported 18,000 Tons of Mexican Wheat Seed” is an illustration that IARI seeds program was a total failure. And he completely failed from 1952-67 period during which time he climbed to become “Director” of IARI rewarded for all the failures. Indian seeds program lagged so much behind Mexico that there was perhaps “No Improvement” in Swaminathan tenure up to 1967.

 

11.)  Looking at his continuous Chairing of several committees since 1982 from age 57 onwards indicates his gross failure and getting rewarded for non performance.

 

12.) Is it not a shame that India could not find a replacement of M.S. Swaminathan “Morris Oxford” – Dented and Rusty Ambassador of Indian Agriculture in 50 years?

 

Remedy:-  Compulsorily Retire Him From All Committees.

 

Ravinder Singh

 

http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=4215

http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/pubs/92prom.html

 

In an article he was asked to provide for the report Swaminathan tells his readers how, ‘Genes have been transferred by scientists in India from Amaranthus to potato for improving protein quality and quantity’. This information is marked out in bold type. In fact, however, this GM potato has been shown to be little more than hype. Even Prof. C Kameswara Rao – a keen biotech supporter – has pointed out that it is ‘unlikely to see the light of the day in this decade’. According to Prof Rao, ‘I noticed that the potato used to make wafer chips in England has 6.0 to 6.5 per cent of protein, while that of the GE potato is only about 2.5 per cent. I do not understand how this dismal product could generate so much euphoria…’ (‘Dismal’ GM potato a decade away)

 

Just how credible Swaminathan and his promotion of a locally aware biotechnology really are remains open to question. His track record remains controversial and some, like Dr Claude Alvares of the Goa Institute, accuse him of being a shrewd political operator whose real strength lies in knowing how to get things done and how to adapt his rhetoric to create a veneer of public acceptability:

 

FOCUS ON ASIA

Here’s a profile of the Godfather of India’s Green Revolution, M.S. Swaminathan who’s a key speaker at the 3-day International Conference which opens in New Delhi, India, today (Tuesday): “Agricultural Biotechnology: Ushering in the Second Green Revolution”.

http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=4179

Swaminathan, India’s premier Green Revolution scientist, has a talent for dressing up the industry lobby’s agenda in the rhetoric of village India, women’s empowerment, eco-tech etc., creating a facade of an unthreatening, ecologically and socially sensitive biotechnology ‘domesticated’ to local conditions.

But how credible Swaminathan and his promotion of a locally aware biotechnology really are remains open to question. His track record remains controversial. There are accusations of scientific fraud as well as scandals involving the suicide of scientists at the institute from which he launched the Green Revolution. But these have been buried beneath a plethora of awards and honours.

The real importance of Swaminathan’s record is that it points to the errors India will repeat if it embarks on a Swaminathan-led “Second Green Revolution”.

M.S. Swaminathan – a GM WATCH profile

(for all the links: http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=291&page=S )

Since 1988 the plant geneticist Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan has headed his own M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai (Madras) India. The Foundation sees GM crops, and biotechnology in general, not only as having immense potential but as ‘the only way we can face the challenges of the future’. It also sees India as needing to ‘move forward vigorously in mobilising the power of biotechnology’ in order not to lag behind China and more developed countries. (The Chennai Declaration: Bridging the Genetic Divide)

As M.S. Swaminathan is considered the Godfather of the Green Revolution in India, his promotion of GM crops is inevitably projected as an ushering in of a second Green Revolution. Indeed, that is the title of an International Conference in August 2004 in New Delhi, organised by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the biotech industry-backed International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Application (ISAAA).

The conference, whose speakers include Swaminathan, has been organized to ‘deliberate on the recommendations of the Task Force on Application of Biotechnology in Agriculture’. This Task Force, headed by Swaminathan, had been charged by the Indian Government with the task of making recommendations on how to reform India’s biosafety system.

The Task Force’s recommendations have proved controversial. Greenpeace India accused it of seeking ‘to strip away regulation of biotechnology, rather than improve it’ while P.V. Satheesh of the Deccan Development Society had earlier warned that the real agenda behind the reforms was to introduce ‘fast track approval’. (Swaminathan Panel Recommendations on Biotechnology Flawed and Dangerous)

Although a GM proponent, Swaminathan does not present as a pugnacious propagandist for the technology in the style of Norman Borlaug, that other Green Revolution scientist. For instance, the alternative title of Swaminathan’s Foundation is ‘The Centre for Research on Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development’. And traditional organic farming is researched there alongside genetic engineering which Swaminathan argues can assist organic agriculture. The Foundation is also at great pains to emphasise the need for technology development and dissemination to be ‘pro-nature, pro-poor, and pro-women’ in orientation. Similarly, Swaminathan and the Foundation promote the idea of ‘biovillages’, which combine IT and biotechnology with the rhetoric of village india, women’s empowerment, etc.

This more sophisticated stance, together with Swaminathan’s international status as the scientist-hero who brought about India’s Green Revolution, has meant that biotechnology supporters have found him an attractive figure to involve in the promotion of GM crops both in India and beyond. In UNDP’s highly controversial Human Development Report 2001, for instance, the Lead Author, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, in seeking to justify the report’s support for GM crops quotes Swaminathan. Swaminathan, in turn, quotes Ghandi on the need to remember the poor.

In an article he was asked to provide for the report Swaminathan tells his readers how, ‘Genes have been transferred by scientists in India from Amaranthus to potato for improving protein quality and quantity’. This information is marked out in bold type. In fact, however, this GM potato has been shown to be little more than hype. Even Prof. C Kameswara Rao – a keen biotech supporter – has pointed out that it is ‘unlikely to see the light of the day in this decade’. According to Prof Rao, ‘I noticed that the potato used to make wafer chips in England has 6.0 to 6.5 per cent of protein, while that of the GE potato is only about 2.5 per cent. I do not understand how this dismal product could generate so much euphoria…’ (‘Dismal’ GM potato a decade away)

The answer to Rao’s question is simple. The fact that the GM potato is a locally-led and philanthropically directed project gives it the hallmarks of acceptability. This makes it a perfect poster child for promoting the technology. In a similar way, Swaminathan provides an acceptable face for GM crops in the Third World, creating a facade of an unthreatening, ecologically and socially sensitive biotechnology ‘domesticated’ to local conditions.

Just how credible Swaminathan and his promotion of a locally aware biotechnology really are remains open to question. His track record remains controversial and some, like Dr Claude Alvares of the Goa Institute, accuse him of being a shrewd political operator whose real strength lies in knowing how to get things done and how to adapt his rhetoric to create a veneer of public acceptability:

‘At a Gandhi seminar, he will speak on Gandhi. At a meeting in Madras, on the necessity for combine harvesters. At another meeting on appropriate technology, he will plump for organic manure. At a talk in London, he will speak on the necessity of chemical fertilizers. He will label slum dwellers “ecological refugees”, and advertise his career as a quest for “imparting an ecological basis to productivity improvement”. This, after presiding over, and indiscriminately furthering, one of the ecologically most devastating technologies of modern times – the [High Yielding Varieties] package of the Green Revolution.’

While Swaminathan is feted around the globe as the hero of India’s Green Revolution, the manner in which he achieved such prominence is much less well known. He did so, charges Alvares, in a way that has a parallel in India claiming credit for its conquest of space when it was riding piggyback on Soviet science and technology. Swaminathan imported borrowed science evolved in Mexico by Norman Borlang and American interests. In taking India down this path, his critics say, he neglected high yielding indigenous varieties adapted to local conditions in favour of chemical and irrigation dependent varieties which have with time had adverse effects on both productivity and the environment, often with catastrophic consequences for India’s millions of small and marginal farmers.

 

It is also alleged that Swaminathan’s rise to prominence went hand in hand with the suppression of the work of Indian scientists who were making a case within the agricultural mainstream for less input-intensive farming. One of these was Dr R.H. Richharia who worked all his life to develop indigenous rice species and whose guiding principle was, ‘Your work is only valuable if it helps the poor farmers’. Richaria almost single-handedly put together a germplasm collection of over 20,000 rice varieties. Currently in the possession of the Indira Gandhi Agricultural University in Chhattisgarh; this collection was at the centre of a major controversy when Syngenta attempted to take it over under the guise of collaborative research, a move only thwarted by civil society pressures. Dr Richaria himself sees Swaminathan and his backers as being linked to both his removal from his post at the Central Rice Research Institute and attempts to gain control over his germplasm collection. Of the latter he says, ‘He was behind it all, because he held all the power… He was the all in all.’ (Crushed but not defeated)

Perhaps most disturbingly, Swaminathan has been censured for making misleading scientific claims and has been linked to scandals involving the suicide of scientists at the institute from which he launched the Green Revolution. However, even these scandals, as we shall see, have had no serious adverse impact on Swaminathan’s career.

He is the recipient of almost every conceivable award – national and international. He has also been India’s Secretary for Agriculture (1980-81), the Director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (1966-72), the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (1972-80) and the International Rice Research Institute (1982-88), the Independent Chairman of the FAO Council (1981-85), and the President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (1984-90).

Swaminathan was born in India in 1925 in what is now the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He almost became a police officer, but a change of career path led to a Ph.d in genetics from Cambridge in 1952. By 1966, Swaminathan was Director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi. With help from the Rockefeller Foundation, he started importing large quantities of cross-bred wheat seed developed by Norman Borlaug in Mexico. Swaminathan disseminated these plants, which were far more tolerant of chemical fertilisers, in the Punjab. He would later marry this plant to an Indian variety. ‘Our history,’ he says, ‘changed from that time.’

Swaminathan’s apparent scientific successes were first acknowledged in 1971 with the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. This award set the precedent for a plethora of awards and honours in the years to come, including over 40 honorary doctorates from universities around the world and the World Food Prize in 1987.

As well as achieving a rapid dissemination of Norman Borlang’s dwarf strains of Mexican wheat, Swaminathan claimed to have developed a new wheat (Sharbati Sonora) by subjecting the Mexican parent lines of the Sonora variety to radiation. At a popular lecture in Delhi in 1967, Swaminathan claimed that Sharbati Sonora contained as much protein and lysine as milk. Dr. Claude Alvares takes up the story:

‘In three subsequent papers he continued to claim a high lysine content. In 1967, Dr Y.P. Gupta, an Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) scientist, disputed the claim and said that the figures had been manipulated. A number of researchers from abroad also stated that the lysine content of Swaminathan’s wheat and that of the Mexican wheat did not differ in any significant content. Finally the Central International de Mejoramiento de Maizy Trigo (CIMMYT) itself reported in 1969 that there was no significant difference between Sonora and Sharbati Sonora.

Yet nine months after the CIMMYT report appeared, Swaminathan once again submitted the 1967 Food Industries paper to a short lived journal called Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, in which he again claimed a value of two and half times the normal lysine value for Sharbati Sonora. Eight months later [in 1971], he was given the Magsaysay Award, for having “developed a wheat variety containing three per cent lysine”, and which, the Magsaysay Foundation claimed, “was now alleviating the deficiency of essential amino acids in the Indian diet so harmful particularly to brain development in young children.” Every word of the citation was false… The award, however, was instrumental in Swaminathan being made the director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)’.

What brought the lysine scandal to public notice was the suicide in May 1972 of Dr. Vinod Shah, an agronomist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. The IARI was where Swaminathan had launched his Green Revolution.

According to Bharat Dogra, a very senior and respected journalist in India who has researched Swaminathan and contemporary agricultural scientists for many years, Dr Shah had been repelled by the ‘glaring irregularities, victimisation, nepotism, bogus research, sycophancy’ he had found at the IARI. (Bharat Dogra, The Life and Work of Dr R.H. Richaria, p.99) Dr Shah’s death was not the only suicide by a scientist at the institute but ‘it attracted more attention partly because of his youth and partly because of the suicide note left behind by him in which he clearly explained the dishonesty and irregularities… which had disillusioned him so much.’ (Bharat Dogra, p.100)

It also emerged that Dr Shah had met with Swaminathan, the IARI’s Director, some time before he committed suicide. Following that meeting, he had stopped taking any food. His suicide note was addressed personally to Dr Swaminathan. It alleged, ‘A lot of unscientific data are collected to fit in your line of thinking.’ It also said, ‘A person with ideas and constructive scientific criticism is always victimised’. (Bharat Dogra, p.107)

An Achievement Audit Committee Report had already been critical of the ‘pompous or exaggerated statements made in IARI documents’ (Bharat Dogra, p.101) as well as of the generally poor quality of research at Swaminathan’s Institute – research which failed to meet the claims made for it. And the lysine content of Swaminathanís wheat was not the only case of ‘blatantly dishonest research’ to come to light in the enquiries made following the allegations contained in Dr Shah’s suicide note. (Bharat Dogra, p.102)

A pulse variety known as Baisaki Moong was claimed to have achieved very high yields in IARI research in the late 60s and early 70s. However, enquiries showed that in trials around the country its performance had been nowhere near as good. In Punjab and Delhi, for instance, ‘the yields were only about half of those claimed to have been obtained in the IARI experiemnts’  (Bharat Dogra, p.102).

Claims relating to a super-nutritious maize developed at IARI also ‘became a major scientific scandal’. Initially the research had been credited with having developed ‘a new strain of maize with the protein content doubled and having nutritious value like milk’ It was even claimed that mothers were reporting that children fed on this maize were less irritable than milk-fed babies. ‘Subsequent experience revealed all such claims to be figments of imagination’. (Bharat Dogra, p.103)

The most serious accusations had come from Dr Y.P. Gupta of the Bio-Chemistry Division of the IARI. Gupta had worked on the lysine content of various wheat varieties and contested Swaminathan’s published data on the protein and lysine content of Sharbati Sonora from an early stage. Gupta specifically alleged that the figure for Sharbati Sonora’s parent plant had been deliberately reduced in a half-yearly report in order to make Sharbati Sonora appear in a more favourable light.

After the circumstances surrounding Dr Shah’s suicide had caused uproar in the Indian Parliament, the government had felt compelled to appoint an enquiry committee headed by the late Dr P.B. Gajendragadkar, a former chief justice of the Supreme Court. Dr Alvares takes up the story:

‘The committee examined the charge of unjustified claims and ruled against Swaminathan… In 1974, the New Scientist published a detailed report on M S Swaminathan’s lysine falsehoods. Swaminathan survived the attack. Immediately after the Emergency, it was the Statesman in a detailed report dated May 17, 1977, that re-opened the entire debate. It was only on this occasion, for the first time since 1967, that Swaminathan admitted that the data concerning lysine was incorrect. Six years had passed since he had won the Magsaysay Award, which, if the citation was totally wrong, was improperly conferred.’

Swaminathan tried to put down the scandal to an ‘analytical error’ which he said was the fault of one of his subordinates but, Dr Alvares argues, there are other indicators that support a lack of ethics:

‘One is his harassment of all those scientists who had exposed his claims on lysine in the first place. Within a year, for example, of questioning the data in 1967, Dr Y.P. Gupta’s students were taken away from him, he was denied promotions, his junior was selected to become his head, and his application for a Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) assignment was held back by the IARI till [after] the due date.’
 

It was only 15 years later that the Supreme Court of India was able to vindicate Y.P. Gupta. Dr Gupta, the court ruled, ‘has been the victim of unfair treatment’ and the court went on to describe the attitude of his employer as ‘unethical’. It also termed the action of the institute’s academic council, chaired by Swaminathan, as ‘callous’, ‘heartless’, and ‘shocking’. (The Great Gene Robbery)

However, none of this stopped Swaminathan becoming chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet (SACC). Then in 1982 he left India for the highly paid post of Director General of the Rockefeller- Foundation assisted International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based at Los Banos in the Philippines. After seven years with IRRI, Swaminathan returned to India to devote his efforts to his M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF).

The Foundation is now at the centre of Swaminathan’s promotion of India’s second Green Revolution. Its conferences have provided platforms for the industry. In 2004 two events were organised at Chennai to commemorate ‘the occasion of the International Year of Rice 2004’: a National Colloquium on Molecular Breeding and Shaping the Future of Rice, and a Forum on Biotechnology and the future of rice. Both events were dominated by panelists who favored the introduction of the GM seeds, like Golden Rice Network Coordinator and former Monsanto employee, Gerard Barry and William James Peacock of CSIRO. (GM supporters confronted in India)

An MSSRF event had also provided Gerard Barry with a PR platform four years earlier to promote Monsanto’s provision of royalty-free licenses for the development of ‘golden rice’, as well as the corporation’s willingness to open its rice-genome sequence database to researchers around the world. GM lobbyist C.S. Prakash was another speaker on that occasion. (Gene revolution may not feed all)

Critics like the New Delhi-based food and trade policy analyst, Devinder Sharma complain that the right lessons have not yet been learned from Swaminathan’s first Green Revolution before the second is being promoted. The Indian scientist and environmentalist, Vandana Shiva points out that the Green Revolution:

‘has led to reduced genetic diversity, increased vulnerability to pests, soil erosion, water shortages, reduced soil fertility, micronutrient deficiencies, soil contamination, reduced availability of nutritious food crops for the local population, the displacement of vast numbers of small farmers from their land, rural impoverishment and increased tensions and conflicts. The beneficiaries have been the agrochemical industry, large petrochemical companies, manufacturers of agricultural machinery, dam builders and large landowners.’ (The Green Revolution in the Punjab)

And there have been high human costs from forcing the Green Revolution’s industrial farming model onto small and marginal farmers. Writing in response to the news in summer 2004 that many hundreds of poor farmers had once again taken their own lives, often by drinking pesticides, Devinder Sharma noted, ‘the tragedy is that the human cost is entirely being borne by the farmers’.

The greatest irony, writes Sharma, is that ‘those who created the problem in the first instance are the ones who are being asked to provide the solutions.’ (Farm Genocide: The Killing Fields of the Green Revolution)

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4 Responses to “e.Petition Farmers Smarter Than Quack PhD M.S. Swaminathan”

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