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Hometown: Saskatchewan
Home country: Canada
Member since: Sat Jul 9, 2005, 10:46 PM
Number of posts: 16,938

Journal Archives

GMOs, Seed Wars, and Knowledge Wars

By Vandana Shiva

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"The only reason crops have been genetically engineered is to take patents on seeds, and collect royalties. If during colonialism the concept of Terra Nullius, empty land, allowed the takeover of land and territories by the colonizer, a new concept of Bio Nullius, empty life, is being used to claim “intellectual property rights” on seeds, biodiversity and life forms. But life is not empty. Seeds are not an invention. They embody millions of years of biological evolution, and thousands of years of cultural evolution and farmers breeding. When corporations claim patents, they basically “pirate” traits that nature and farmers have evolved. They pirate and patent the aroma of basmati, the low gluten qualities of our native wheat, the salt tolerant, drought tolerant, flood tolerant traits of climate resilience our farmers have bred. This is not innovation and invention, it is Biopiracy. The only traits that the corporations have introduced into plants through genetic engineering are the toxic traits of Bt toxin and herbicide resistance. Besides being toxic, these traits have not reduced chemical use as has been repeatedly claimed. Our studies in Vidharba show a 13-fold increase in pesticide use since Bt cotton was introduced.

A report, published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, shows that genetically engineered crops have led to a 404 million pound increase in overall pesticide use from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011. This equates to an increase of about seven percent over the last 16 years.

The data on increased chemical use shows that the claim that Bt toxin crops will reduce pesticide use and herbicide resistant crops will reduce herbicide use, is false.

As the Navdanya report, “The GMO Emperor has no Clothes “shows, genetically modified crops have led to resistance, both in weeds and pests, demanding higher use of pesticides and herbicides. More than two dozen weed species are now resistant to glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto's broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup and farmers are being asked to spray Agent Orange, that was used in the Vietnam War" .........

More: http://www.zcommunications.org/gmos-seed-wars-and-knowledge-wars-by-vandana-shiva

La Via Campesina: Food Sovereignty and the Global Feminist Struggle

By Esther Vivas

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Via Campesina is the world’s foremost international movement of small farmers. It promotes the right of all peoples to food sovereignty. Via Campesina was established in 1993 at the dawn of the anti-globalization movement, and gradually became one of the major organizations in the critique of neoliberal globalization. Its ascent is an expression of peasant resistance to the collapse of the rural world caused by neoliberal policies, and the intensification of those policies as embodied in the World Trade Organization (Antentas and Vivas, 2009a).

Since its founding, Via Campesina has promoted a “female peasant” identity that is politicized, linked to land, food production and the defense of food sovereignty—built in opposition to the current agribusiness model (Desmarais, 2007). Via Campesina embodies a new kind of “peasant internationalism” (Bello, 2009), that can be viewed as a “peasant component” of the new international resistance presented by the anti-globalization movement (Antentas and Vivas, 2009).

In 1996, coinciding with the World Food Summit at the FAO in Rome, Via Campesina highlighted food sovereignty as a political alternative to a profoundly unfair and predatory food system. This does not imply a romantic return to the past, but rather recovers knowledge and traditional practices and combines them with new technologies and new knowledge (Desmarais, 2007). As noted by McMichael (2006), there is a “mystification of the small” in a way that rethinks the global food system to encourage democratic forms of food production and distribution.

A feminist perspective

Over time, Via Campesina has incorporated a feminist perspective, working to achieve gender equality within their organizations, and building alliances with feminist groups, including the international World March of Women, among others."

More: http://www.zcommunications.org/la-via-campesina-food-sovereignty-and-the-global-feminist-struggle-by-esther-vivas
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