This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sharat Karekaatt. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

One Of The World’s ‘Most Evil’ Company Is Behind 3 Lakh Farmer Suicides In India

More from Sharat Karekaatt

By Sharat Karekatt:

In the last three years over 3 thousand farmers committed suicide in India. Farmers are the breeders of life, backbone of an agrarian economy like India. And their deaths, not due to natural causes but suicides as a result of crumbling debts, are indeed a cause of concern. Of course famines and pestilence had been part of Indian farmers’ predicament since forever, the recent troubles however can be attributed to something much more modern and far more sinister – Genetically Modified Crops.

cotton-570920_1280
Corporations have entered Indian markets selling Genetically Modified Crops promising Green Revolution, increase in production, progress, empowerment, sharing, conservation, elimination of hunger, rainbows and unicorns and what not. But the truth is far from it…they have failed to control pests and weeds and have instead created totally resistant superpests and superweeds, they have damaged the soil, destroyed traditional forms of farming and have trapped poor farmers in debt while pretending to work for their welfare. Instead of being a saviour, they have in fact become bringers of death.

GMO And Monsanto

Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO are living organisms whose DNA has been manipulated in laboratories through genetic engineering. According to pro-GMO communities, some benefits of genetic engineering in agriculture are increased crop yields, reduced costs for food or drug production, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition and food quality, resistance to pests and disease, greater food security, and medical benefits to the world’s growing population. All so beautiful.

Now, one of the main crops in India is cotton. Cotton is a crop susceptible to various kinds of pests. BT Cotton is a Genetically Modified Cotton which was introduced by a company called Monsanto promising better yield and increased resistance to pests.

When India deregulated its seed sector encouraged by World Bank in order to escape grinding poverty that was afflicting the nation, India unknowingly also allowed some dark forces inside as well. Evilest of them all, Monsanto saw the opportunity, swooped in and bought all cotton seed companies it could and created agreements with the rest. Within a few years, all the seeds our farmers could lay hands on were Monsanto’s. Common resource became intellectual property.

They came to the farmer guaranteeing riches, sustainability, empowerment via increased production. Enchanted by the promises of future riches, farmers borrowed money and bought these crops, paying 1000 times more than what they pay for traditional ones. More production, less use of insecticides, sure why not? By aggressive lobbying, BT Cotton became main source of seed farmers could use. These buggers presently controls 95% of the market.

Now, it would have been all great if they delivered what they promised. But BT Cotton did not resist main pests such as bollworm, in fact had high tolerance to many secondary pests like Whiteflies, which weren’t much of a problem earlier. They became a growing menace forcing farmers to use increased insecticides. Which again, these companies themselves provided. Double income!

Cotton which could be grown with a mixture of food crops had to be grown as a monoculture. Soil was badly affected, traditional cotton crops cannot be grown here.
Thirdly, Bt Cotton requires large amount of water which the officials of this organization ‘forgot’ to mention to the farmers in one of the driest regions in India, who solely rely on monsoons. The probability of crop failure is now really high.

Then, they implemented something called Gene Use Restriction Technology, in which seeds produced by the crops will not grow. Viable offspring would not grow. Farmers have been reusing seeds from earlier crops to plant future crops for generations, that option was crashed. They have to buy seeds every time.

Apart from this, because farmers were using its intellectual property, they had to pay royalties on their crops to Monsanto.

Establishing Monopoly

Monsanto seems to be very much inspired by Henry Kissinger’s words –“Control oil and you control nation, control food and you control the World.”

They smuggled controlled substances into Indian Market flouting Indian laws, conducted large scale field trials in various locations without permission from concerned bodies and without waiting for the trial results they already introduced their good-for-nothing-shit into the market. They also went on to collect royalties on their seeds from poor farmers sending them into debt even when Indian laws do not permit seed patents. Their first BT failed, then they released BT II which they claimed to be superior. But again data suggests that instead of reduced pesticides, the usage has been increasing every year along with all the other above mentioned problems.

These are the problems that this company is causing in India. They are a pest worldwide. No wonder this organization were ranked the most evil company in a global survey in 2013.

In the past 20 years, 3 lakh farmers have committed suicide. Majority of them are cotton farmers. And they have been driven to take these drastic steps due to financial crisis exacerbated by BT Cotton. 3 Lakh lives directly ruined by Monsanto.

Genetic Engineering has not been able to keep their promises, instead they have become a tool for ownership. Monsanto does not care if their science is inferior and the crop they invented is destroying the environment, if their seeds are becoming pest tolerant instead of pest resistant. They care only that the crop is theirs and the cash should flow. They have destroyed alternatives and they have made everything that remains, theirs.

GM Lobbyist and politicians would argue that GM crops have been a great boon for Indian agriculture and economy. In a bid to promote GM crops, traditional varieties were banned from some government seed banks. They play the world hunger card to promote GMO. But presently, that is not the case we are observing with companies promoting GMOs.

This article is not against Genetically Modified Crops, I believe GMO can be a good tool against many problems if used correctly. I am against the fraudulent and deceptive methods taken by corporations such as Monsanto, their secret propaganda and their deliberate techniques in acquiring monopoly over food. If you are a humanist, you should advocate for rights of people to choose, whereas it is obvious that this company’s strategy is totally against any rights, any freedom of choice.

There should be satisfying amounts of tests carried out, its results published and reviewed by scientific community before it is labelled to be fit for use. Clearly this has not been the case. Monsanto’s subversion of democratic legal processes, apathetic attitude towards the plight of farmers is really disgusting. There is no satisfying evidence that GMO is the answer to world hunger. In fact quite the contrary it has been leading factor of farmer debt and suicide and as a result contributing to hunger.

So, what is our solution?

A report by USC Canada’s 2012 Primer on the Global Food Crisis claims “The world food crisis is not a scarcity problem; it’s an access and distribution problem, fundamentally linked to the way our food is produced. Simply put, our global food system is unfair and no longer works. It needs a dramatic transformation. How we grow our food matters.”

The present government riding on mantra of development wants to bring another green revolution by investing more on GMO. Hopefully they be scientific in their approach and allow GMO after properly testing and reviewing. And hopefully they keep the companies like Monsanto out of the picture.

You must be to comment.
  1. Salil

    These bastards have no value for human lives. Their main goal is to paralyse the indian agriculture industry so they can feed us their crappy GMO shit. When everyone starts consuming GMO foods on regular basis, we have growing cancer cases. To treat cancer we again have to use pharma products produced by the globalists. It is all linked with each other. We can no longer think about one thing and forget about the other.

    1. virat

      Very true, these people fund parties in election.

    2. beachjustice

      There is no such evidence of this link to cancer, and it’s not possible either because for one, you’re not eating cotton. and much of it gets exported anyhow.
      GMO isn’t a single thing. It’s not a single gene that gets modified that exists in every plant and that one gene edit is called GMO.
      GMO refers to the product of an almost infinite possible types of edits to the tens of thousands of genes found in a plant genome.
      Plants naturally undergo mutations to these genes that have changed the plants we eat all throughout the history of human civilization.
      Humans are now exerting direct influence to ensure mutations happen in ways that support our own interests, such as for example to breed shorter plants that are more robust, or more productive plants, or plants with higher nutrient content.
      There is absolutely no difference between these

      The problem here is India has many problems but we Indians are very given to rumor and hearsay. That’s understandable given the scientific level of the society but many times we misidentify problems.

      Also the article claims BT Cotton is not resilient to bollworm, which is not really correct. Bollworm too naturally mutate and can become resistant to pest resistance of the crops. Farmers looking to maximize yield plant the same crop every season of the year and then end up with pests developing tolerances to the crop. Crop rotation, fallowing, and planting mixed crops is still essential to ensure traits that predispose to resilience are not naturally selected for in pest populations. Farmers still have to farm responsibly even with better yield strains with natural resistances.

      Which brings me to my last point, which is that farming is not easy, and farming is a business. Not just in India; in every country, owning a farm is owning a business. For a business ot be successful, you have to be able to adapt and change strategy and adopt new product lines successfully to survive in a world of dynamic market forces. Many of our farmers own very small plots of land compared to counterparts elsewhere, and these plots get divided ever smaller with the passing of generations between children. India doesn’t have the resources to guarantee a farm’s success.

      I’m not even saying they must sell their farms if they aren’t productive. Farmers in India are often very poor and deserve all the attention that all our very poor people do, but for some reason at some point Indians got the impression that being a farmer should involve a guarantee of success, which isn’t something folks in any business or any line of employment or any income level receive in any other industry.

      Farmers have a choice what to grow and consumers what to buy. If they elect for traditional, less-productive strains, and to eat more expensive non-GMO, that’s a personal choice. But here we see another backward tendency of us Indians to demand absolute restriction with force of law behind anything we find disagreeable on a personal level. We don’t even stop to consider creative solutions on how to produce more competition among those that develop and sell the seeds.

More from Sharat Karekaatt

Similar Posts

By Ecochirp Foundation

By Namrata Verma

By Ecochirp Foundation

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below