If seed becomes a monopoly in the hands of a few multi-national corporations, it would mean destruction of biodiversity, said activist and environmentalist Vandana Shiva, calling upon people to join hands in the fight for freedom of seed.
Addressing an impressive gathering at the ongoing People’s Biodiversity Festival (PBF) at Exhibition Grounds here on Sunday, she urged people to act for Seed Freedom and join the ongoing Fortnight of Action between October 2 and 16. Seeds are the source of life and the first link in the food chain and control over seed means control over lives, food and freedom of people, she said.
She released her “Global Citizen’s Report on Seed Freedom” and called upon people to register their support online at www.seedfreedom.in and fight for seed freedom, reiterating that it was farmers’ right to preserve their seed. Seed was not an invention as claimed by some but only a continuity of evolution, for thousands of years, she said, slamming MNCs in her inimitable style. Patents on seeds and life forms were affecting biodiversity, she said, recalling the struggles that led to patents on neem, Basmati rice and wheat with gluten being squashed that were patented in the West.
Ms. Vandana Shiva drew applause when she recalled how a private company and the United States government had patented Basmati rice, calling it ‘Texmati’. While it was established that ‘gluten’, also called ‘wheat meat’ could cause several health problems even to those who could digest it well, those interested in the US, went ahead with patenting it, she said, expressing happiness that a struggle against the move had resulted in victory for the people.
It was a mela-like atmosphere at the PBF with cultural events to keep visitors occupied during the lunch hour and evenings too. On Sunday, women folk artistes performed ‘Oggu Katha’. The evening saw a street play by ‘Adivasi’ groups, followed by a musical mime on ‘Diversity of Life’ by students of TISS, Hyderabad.