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Protest against GM foods and crops

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Farmers and participants from all walks of society staging a demonstration in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. —
Farmers and participants from all walks of society staging a demonstration in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. —

Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: United Coalition Against Genetic Engineering (UNCAGE), Orissa, an alliance of civil society groups and activists, here on Tuesday took out a rally protesting against alleged inaction of State Government on cultivation of Bt cotton.

More than 14 organisations and a few hundred farmers demanded that the State Government break its silence on the illegal cultivation of Bt cotton and the clandestine move to introduce the controversial food crop Bt Brinjal.

The Bt cotton causes allergies and there have been instances of animals falling sick and dying from being grazed on Bt cotton fields.

However the farmers and veterinary doctors’ appeals to the effect were being ignored and the cattle deaths were being attributed to other causes, Jagannath Chatterjee, an activist, said.

Not only the farmers but the consumers too would then suffer from the irreversible hazards of GM foods and crops.

Poisonous viruses and genes from toxic bacteria are being introduced into food and also genes from insects, animals and even humans. Consumers worldwide were protesting against such unnatural and dangerous food, Mr. Chatterjee alleged.

UNCAGE emphasized that the State government should encourage and promote local traditional varieties of brinjal.

The coalition demanded the unconditional total ban on experimentation with field trials and cultivation of all varieties of genetically modified food and crops and called for exemplary punishment to seed companies whose Bt cotton seeds would be sold in State.

The very important issue of banning Bt cotton, Bt brinjal and such other genetically modified crops should be included in the election manifesto of all political parties, activists demanded.

Non-pesticidal methods to control pests and organic inputs as fertilisers have been proven to both increase yield and ensure sustainability and should be adopted on a large scale, said Bijay Kumar Babu of Odisha Jaiva Krushi Sangathan that promotes organic farming.


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