Thiruvananthapuram

Guard against new ways of colonisation: Vandana

‘New form of digital piracy used to grab patents on seeds’

The convergence of information technology and biotechnology has spawned a new form of digital piracy wherein genomic mapping is employed to grab patents on seeds, environmental activist Vandana Shiva has warned.

“'This new form of piracy bypasses all the laws we have put in place. It is time for regions like Kerala to lead and say that old laws apply whether you materially take the seed or you do a digital mapping,” Ms. Shiva said on Monday, speaking on ‘Biodiversity and climate resilience’ at the University of Kerala.

Biopiracy through the digital route, and the take-over of our food using ‘fake foods’ will have huge consequences on India as the country stands to lose its biodiversity, Ms. Shiva, who is the founder of ‘Navdanya,' said, calling patents ‘the new way of colonisation.’

The controversial Seed Bill 2019 is, again, an attempt to make it illegal for farmers to use their own seeds, she said.

“This is all driven by four corporations that control seeds.

Sixty per cent of the world's seeds is in their hands. They are like the new East India Company. Our farmers have a right to save and share seed,” she said.

Global corporations are now pushing ‘fake food’ by pitching terminology such as meat-free meat, cow-free dairy and farm-free food, she said.

Criticised

Ms. Shiva was sharply critical of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's (FSSAI) recent decision to collaborate with Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa to set up ‘eat right’ labs in schools.

“We, instead, should be learning about healthy eating habits from our grandmothers and mothers,”she said

“'Amma, not Alexa!” said Ms. Shiva.

Conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable utilisation have become, according to Ms. Shiva, an ecologocal and ethical imperative.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 7:45:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/guard-against-new-ways-of-colonisation-vandana/article30562284.ece

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