A number of farmers, students and activists hit the streets on Saturday, taking a stand against genetically-modified crops. The march against Monsanto, a multinational chemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation, is being held in hundreds of cities as part of a global protest against genetically-modified food.

Demonstrators on Marina beach held placards that read ‘Don’t dig your own grave with your own knife and fork.’

Genetically-modified crops are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist pests and improve crop yields. But the protestors said genetically-modified organisms could harm the environment.

The protestors also stressed the need to reject the corporatisation of food systems. They said

“Monsanto is the poster child of corporate greed and corporate crimes against citizens and the environment. Our governments seem to be putting out the red carpet for Monsanto, projecting it as a corporation which will save our farmers and farming. But Monsanto has not hesitated to sue and jail farmers in the name of intellectual property rights,” said Ananthoo, a member of the Safe Food Alliance.

“India is an experimental field for Monsanto. Genetically-modified crops pollute the natural resources of communities. We are here to show corporations like Monsanto that we are concerned about farmers. I also have a farm in Periyapalayam where I try to preserve our native seeds and crops,” said actor Pasupathi. Kumari, from the Gandhi Farmers’ Collective, Villupuram, said the Central and some state governments were going against citizens’ demands.

“We want to save our land,” said A. Annamalai, a farmer from Viluppuram.

“The technology has the potential to jeopardise future generations,” said C. Nandakumar, a student from SRM University.

“Our farmers have always produced enough to feed the country. We will not allow any open air field trials of GM food crops in the State,” said Vettavalam Manikandan, president of Tamil Nadu Farmers’ Association.

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