Category Archives: Direct Action

Act Naturally sponsors documentary on farmer suicides, the causes and solutions.

Act Naturally (www.actnaturally.org) is a non-profit who promotes non-violent biodiverse agricultural practices to solve problems in health and food security. We partner with farmers and communities, activists, volunteers and other N.G.O’s to provide debt relief, organic education, and micro livestock, seedstock and bag garden donations. With our Khet Jyoti Fund, farmers who benefit from our debt relief program are put on a four year transition period toward full organic production where their risks are minimized through Act Naturally’s partnerships that provide for their inputs such as seeds, and any loss of income from the transition. We effectively severe farmers ties with corporate agribusiness predators like Monsanto once and for all, eliminating costly inputs and the need for future debts.

As part of our mission to increase public awareness worldwide about the benefits of organic agriculture and biodiverse farming practices, nutritional appropriation by agribusiness, and issues in national food security, we are raising money to create a 60 minute documentary about farmer suicides in India, their causes, and the civil resistance movements rising up in response. To date, it is estimated by the National Crime Records Bureau, part of the Ministry of Home Affairs in India, that over 200,000 farmers have committed suicide since trade liberalization in 1991.

The film will show our audience how globalization and corporate agriculture are exploiting India’s farmers and replacing farming, which was once at the center of India’s democracy, with modern consumer values and service reliance at the cost of food production. At the time of trade liberalization in 1991 aimed at making India a global competitor, few people in India’s rural expanse, participated in the machine of money exchange and consumerism to the scale that would make India attractive to foreign investment. At the time of these vast economic changes some villages still bartered wheat for haircuts,and saved seeds. Over the next two decades, generations of people; their values, culture, customs, means of producing food, relationship to land, and way of relating to wants and needs would have a new system, one that required money at its core to be successful, overlaid on top of their day to day challenges. The forcing of biotech/chem-tech and/market-based agriculture ontop of a traditional agrarian society, that was self reliant, threaded together spiritually, and lacking complex social desires, has created the mass migration of farmers to cities looking for menial labor jobs, and/or farmers committing suicide do to escalating debts.

The film will show how what we see today can be traced to a profound shift in social values and self sufficiency worldwide. Here is where the metaphor of the buttery fly effect glues together everyone as a part of the problem and solution. We will show how the debt cycle began, what forces made it possible and why it continues. We will interview leading activists and farm movement leaders on the issue, and use a significant portion of the film to highlight positive movements, protests, yatras and action along with organic solutions.

Act Naturally founder and activist Lua Cheia has teamed up with notable professionals:

* Helkin Rene Diaz, an amazing cinematographer who shot “Jala” (see it here) (a documentary on India’s scared waters being polluted);

*Rohit Chawla, logistics and travel coordinator, translator and photographer http://www.cosurvivor.in and;

*Emily Roland, editor, post production coordinator from Portland Community Media
to create this documentary.

We are lining up an impressive interview list including Umendra Dutt from Kheti Virasat Mission, Vandana Shiva, eco-feminist, environmentalist, writer and founder of Navdanya, Kishor Tiwari and more, to help illuminate the details as to how India has gotten into her current agricultural crisis.

We will also embed with two families who have lost a member to suicide in the Vidarbha region, known as India’s suicide belt, to follow their day to day lives and present their hardship. We will use commentary from activists, and prominent farm sangha leaders, who work everyday at the edge. There is a concept in permaculture called edge. Edge is the boundary between two elements -between a field and a forest, between the water and land. At the edge we find the most creative innovations in nature, as she attempts to deal with the evolutionary pressures of two worlds in order to thrive. The camera will attempt highlight the color, innovation and variety of this edge, showing the juxtaposition of agrarian ancient India with modern India. It’s lens is focused on authenticity and purpose, survival and victory. We will follow the farm workers unions and movements and show the angle of brother and sisterhood created within these movements for support and survival.

Any donation you can make is the right amount. Act Naturally is funded 100% by donations and we need your support to make this documentary from the ground up! Everyone who donates will get a copy of the final DVD. Donations over $150 will also receive an Act Naturally t-shirt along with the DVD. Thank you for taking the time to visit our site, and for your compassionate caring interest. Please feel free to write us with any questions at media@actnaturally.org.

If you would like to know more about India’s agricultural situation visit our blog at http://www.actnaturallyblog.wordpress.com. You can also go to our brand new website at http://www.actnaturally.org to find out more about our programs. Will you Act Naturally with us?
—————————————————————————————————-

Advertisements

The Agrarian Crisis Is the Drive Toward Corporate Farming -Shockingly Honest – Nero’s Guest by P. Sainath

Nero was a Roman Emperor who murdered his own mother.  Tacitus, a senator and historian  wrote in his book,  Annals that,

Nero during gladiator matches he would lite his garden parties with the burning carcasses of Christians. The  guest lists to those parties were poets and artists, and upper class elites, and intellectuals..and..no one objected.

Indian filmmakers  follow rural reporter and activist  P.Sainath into the causes of farmer suicides, and  the system that neglects and destroys them.  This is a shocking and eye opening film. Please take the  time to watch, reflect  and understand.

“I have covered farmers who have committed suicide because they could not get 8000 ruppees at a decent rate of interest from the bank in 2003 and 2004. Than I’ve gone back to my house as an urban middle class professional sir and got a letter from my bank offering me a Marcedez Benz at 6% interest no collateral required..what kind of justice is this?” P. Sainath

“Dear God. I pray for the hearts who’ve traded their divinity and humanity in for the abstraction of leisure, and distraction of purpose, and the cruelty of distance. ”

“Please friends, support my efforts at Act Naturally, become a part of the solution. Be the change you want to see.  Trade in your passivity for purpose.  Grow your own food. Educate yourself and dismantle one by one the systems of control in your life that keep you from your highest purpose.  Closing our eyes in this desperate hour, will surely destroy us all.” –Kamla Vishvas

India: Farmers destroy DuPont’s GM rice trials

India: Farmers destroy DuPont’s GM rice trials


Friday, 19 November 2010 15:16

 
Attention: open in a new window.
PDFPrintE-mail

1. India: Farmers destroy transgenic rice
2. Farmers nix GM rice trials: KRRS activists oppose open-air experiment of DuPont’s rice strains

Farmers destroy GM rice trials by DuPont in India – video:



1. Farmers destroy transgenic rice
Staff Reporter
The Hindu
Nov 18, 2010
http://www.hindu.com/2010/11/18/stories/2010111864270600.htm

BANGALORE:
A transgenic rice variety, currently under trials at the Krishi Vignan
Kendra of the University of Agriculture Sciences (UAS) in Doddaballapur
taluk, near here, was destroyed by farmers on Wednesday.

A group
of sickle-wielding farmers, owing allegiance to the Karnataka Rajya
Raitha Sangha (KRRS), barged into the 30-acre KVK premises at
Hadonahalli, where the hybrid rice Seed Production Technology (SPT)
developed by DuPont is undergoing ‘event selection trials’ on a
one-acre area, and committed the act.

About 30 activists entered
the fenced one-acre area around 8.40 a.m., and destroyed the crop in
about an hour’s time before the Doddaballapur Rural police arrested
them.

75 p.c. loss

An official at KVK estimated that the
farmers destroyed about 75 per cent of the crop. Following the
incident, the UAS has decided to destroy the remaining crop and cancel
the field tria
l.

“The UAS has undertaken the trial clandestinely, and farmers in the neighbourhood have been kept in the dark.

“We
will not allow field trials of transgenic crops developed by
multinational companies in our area,” KRRS leader and veterinarian C.S.
Srinivas, told The Hindu. For, there is always a fear of contamination,
he said.

The event selection trials have been approved by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee .

According
to a Greenpeace activist, SPT technology is a proprietary technology of
DuPont that allows increase of large quantities of genetically male
sterile female inbred parent seed.

A top UAS official said that
the project came to the university through Union Department of
Biotechnology for a period of one year, and that the university was
only a facilitator and regulator of bio-safety on field.

“It is unfortunate that the incident took place when the paddy was ready for harvesting over the next 7 to 10 days.”

Display
boards put up at the field on information about the trials said that
the paddy had been sown between July 20 and July 23, and transplanted
on August 12.

The duration of the crop is 140 days.

The
trial is being monitored by Head, Department of Genetics and Plant
Breeding at UAS Shailaja Hittalmani, while N. Rajanna is the Programme
Coordinator.

A few farmers owning land in close proximity to the
research station also said that they had been asked not to grow paddy
during this season.

“I normally grow paddy, but the university
authorities asked me not to raise paddy crop this season. We were not
told the reason,” N. Srinivas, who owns two acres adjoining the KVK,
said and added that the authorities had informed about the possible
crossing if he raised paddy during this season.

Meanwhile,
vice-president fo the KRRS Venkata Reddy said that the genetically
modified rice field trials had major violations and that the local
panchayat was not informed. Though the Hadonahalli Gram Panchayat
president H.A. Nagaraju acknowledged that information of the field
trials had not been given to the panchayat, he, however, said KVK had
benefited farmers in the vicinity.

Sixteen farmers who were arrested on charges of trespassing and destruction of property were later released on bail.


2. Farmers nix GM rice trials
KRRS activists oppose open-air experiment of Dupont’s rice strains
Deccan Herald
Doddaballapur, Nov 17, DHNS
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/113755/farmers-nix-gm-rice-trials.html

Hundreds
of farmers on Wednesday sent out a strong warning to the multinational
seed corporations trying to take control over the country’s seed
sector, by stopping the field trial of Dupont’s genetically modified
(GM) rice here.

The open-air experimental trial was being
conducted at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), under GKVK by the
multinational seed major. Hundreds of farmers from the area, owing
allegiance to the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, assembled at the KVK
and staged a protest demonstration against the field trials of GM crops.

The
trials were recently permitted by the Genetic Engineering Approval
Committee, the nodal agency for GM crop releases in India, at its 103rd
meeting held in New Delhi on 29th September, 2010. Dupont, the second
largest seed corporation in the world after Monsanto, is developing a
GM rice strain using a transgenic seed production technology (SPT),
that can be used for commercial hybrid seed production.

“The
farmer will oppose any such open releases of GM crops as they are a
step towards surrendering our agriculture to US multinational companies
who are out to control our seed and thereby our agriculture,” KRRS
vice-president Venkata Reddy, who led the protest, declared.

Addressing
the farmers, he said GM rice posed a threat to farmers and consumers
due to the health and environmental implications it entailed, as borne
out by many scientific studies across the world.

Earlier in the
year, Bt brinjal, the first GM food crop to reach the commercialisation
stage, was put under an indefinite moratorium by the Union Environment
Ministry, owing to strong opposition from all sections of society. 
Since then, seed companies and their backers in the government have
been trying to push for open-air experiments of a variety of GM crops,
including GM rice.

Reddy highlighted the major violations in the
field trial at the KVK and said no information was given to the local
panchayat on the conduct of the trials as required by the existing
rules.

“People in the region had been kept in the dark about
such dangerous experiments with no information boards placed outside
the field trial areas to warn people about the experiment. There was
also free access to the trial plot which, in the absence of any a
warning, could lead to the seeds going out of the trial region and
thereby mixing up and contaminating other regular rice varieties which
farmers in the region cultivated,” he said.

Apprehensive of such
a threat, the Kerala government had banned any open releases, including
experiments, of GM rice, Reddy said and urged the Karnataka government
to declare the State GM-free. He also urged public sector research
institutions in Karnataka to desist from getting into ventures with MNC
seed companies that posed a grave risk to the farmers.