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Navdanya Diary

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Welcome to Navdanya's Diary, an online journal of the spirit of Navdanya.
Updated: 15 min 34 sec ago

Dr Vandana Shiva submits objection to Bayer-Monsanto Merger

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 18:59
Press Statement Monsanto is pretending to have sold business to a four year old company Tierra Agrotech with a paid up capital of 1 lakh rupees.  This needs urgent investigation:  Dr Vandana Shiva

New Delhi, January 20, 2018: Raising objections to the proposed merger between Monsanto and Bayer, Dr Vandana Shiva on Saturday submitted her comments and objections to the Competition Commission of India through an email and courier.  Bayer-Monsanto merger if comes through will be the largest cash acquisition. It is pegged at USD 66 Billion. Not only will it have a huge impact on the agri-business of the Europe and United States, but will have consequences globally for farmers and citizens. The proposed merger is perhaps one of the biggest convergences of agribusiness and pharmaceuticals which will adversely affect competition and free trade not only in India but the world. Speaking in this context Dr. Shiva said:”The Bayer Monsanto merger is not arithmetic issue of economic concentration. It is a political issue. If the mergers go through, it will be spelling the end of peoples’ rights, democracy and constitutional safeguards.  In 20 years time Monsanto has illegally captured the cotton seed sector violating biosafety laws and corrupting regulatory agencies.” She said, “Indian farmers have suffered for Monsanto’s profits and their Bt cotton has left a legacy of poison and death all over the cotton belts of India. Bt cotton which claimed to control pest has failed and now farmers are also dying because of pesticide poisoning.” “Monsanto illegitimate monopoly is based on the false claim of having a patent on Bt Cotton seeds. India’s patent laws do not allow a patent on seed all that Monsanto has is patent on the method of introducing Bt genes into Cotton. Yet it has used this false claim to a patent, it does not have to lock the Indian seed industry in fraud licensing agreements, collecting illegal royalties from farmers which is the root cause of their distress. Monsanto even has challenged the competition commission of India, when it is investigating Monsanto’s Bt cotton monopoly,” she said. “An approval of the merger will, therefore, be an approval genocidal monopoly that continues to kill our farmers,” she noted in the letter to the CCI.  To conclude she stated that, “Bayer and Monsanto have based their application for merger on false claims and misleading information. They are therefore liable to pay penalty. At a time when Monsanto is illegally spreading Round-up ready Bt cotton to millions of acres without approval,  Bayer Monsanto claim that they are withdrawing from the Round-up Ready market. The merger application falsely claims that Monsanto is no longer in cotton seed business. Monsanto is pretending to have sold business to a four year old company Tierra Agrotech with a paid up capital of 1 lakh rupees.  This asset sale needs urgent investigation”.
For any further information please contact I S Singh on 9910589956.  Monsanto-BAYER “Combination” – Comments Submitted to Competition Commission of India

MoBay Combination Submission CCI copy

Date: 20th Jan 2018

To,

The Secretary,
Competition Commission of India,
The Hindustan Times House,
7th Floor, 18-20, Kasturba Gandhi Marg,
New Delhi-110001

Subject : Objections and Comments on proposed Bayer Monsanto  Combination as provided under sub-section (3) of section 29 of the Competition Act

Comments submitted by 

Name: Dr Vandana Shiva

I submit my comments and objections to the proposed combination between Bayer and Monsanto. The first part is substantive objections to the Bayer application in the context of the of past and potential violations of the Competition Act, 2002. The Second part is my comments on the general impacts of the Bayer Monsanto merger for farmers rights , food security and sovereignty in India and globally.

As the Bayer Application for merger stated, “The Proposed Combination is in the nature of an acquisition (under Section 5(a) of the Competition Act, 2002). As a result of the Proposed Combination, Monsanto will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer.”

Under Section 29(2) of the Competition Act 2002, the Competition Commission, being of the prima facie opinion that the combination of Bayer and Monsanto is likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition, has directed the parties seeking a merger and combination to publish details of the combination for bringing it to the knowledge or information of the public and persons affected or likely to be affected by such combination.

The CCI must block the merger because it is an Anti Competitive Agreement violating Section 3 of the Competition Act, It must be rejected under Section 4  because it increases the potential for the abuse of dominant position which the company being acquired, Monsanto, has already engaged in – in the case of Bt cotton. Bayer must also be penalised under Section 44 and 45 of the Competition Act because it has made false statements and is guilty of omitting material relevant to the assessment of the combination. The details of such false statements and omissions have been specifically mentioned in this written objection para-wise. According to Section 44, Bayer is thus liable to a penalty.

Read more News Tags: Corporate MergersPoison Cartel Also read: Poison Cartel Fact Sheet

“Stop BAYER / MONSANTO” days of action in Germany

25-29 April 2017, Cologne and Bonn Germany

Navdanya writes to CCI for rejection of merger of Dow- Dupont

Navdanya, 9 April 2017

Navdanya welcomes CCI order on buyout of Monsanto by Bayer AG

27 March 2017

People’s Assembly on Dow-DuPont crimes of Genocide and Ecocide

29 November 2016, Bhopal, India

Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly

14 – 16 October 2016, The Hague, Netherlands

Bayer-Monsanto Merger

By Ruchi Shroff, 16 October 2016

Ending a Century of Ecocide and Genocide, Seeding Earth Democracy

By Dr Vandana Shiva – Common Dreams, 12 October 2016

US Monsanto-German Bayer merger: Shiva sends SOS to PM

By Dhirendra Kumar – Millenniumpost, 20 September 2016

The Corporate War Against The Planet, People and Democracy

Navdanya International, 15 July 2016

Opposing the BAYER and Monsanto merger – The fight for a GM-free agriculture must be strengthened

27 June 2016, Berlin, Germany

Open letter to the Chairman of the Board of BAYER

The Steering Committee of the Monsanto Tribunal, 8 June 2016

                          
Categories: Ecological News

Glyphosate and Arsenic: a Deadly Cocktail

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 01:39

Navdanya International, 9 January 2018

The toxicity of Pesticides is not only a result of the active principles declared by manufacturing companies, but also of co-formulants, which are often kept hidden or unreported in the authorization and marketing process. The alarm comes from Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini of the French University of Caen who has recently published his latest study in the journal “Toxicology reports”, which shows that glyphosate-based herbicides contain heavy metals, such as arsenic. These co-formulants are not declared or declared as “inert”,  and are covered by industrial  secrecy of manufacturers, despite their proven toxicity: tested on human cells, co-formulants, composed of petroleum residues, have a very detrimental effect as they act as endocrine disruptors.

Seralini’s report confirms what has already been denounced by Navdanya and multiple civil society organizations at the recent Monsanto Tribunal and on subsequent occasions: the regulatory processes are far from transparent and democratic, as big agribusiness companies are able to  intervene in political decision-making and interfere with regulatory agencies procedures. Consequently, the health risks of consumers and workers are very high. On the occasion of the Monsanto Tribunal, Navdanya International had interviewed Professor Seralini when were anticipated the results of the study now published.

Glyphosate was patented by the Monsanto Company in 1974 as an herbicide with the competent authorities.  Commercial herbicides are  never composed of Glyphosate alone and are instead mixed with other chemical formulants .  Glyphosate-based herbicides are the most widely  used pesticides in the world, and from 1995 the main pesticides sprayed on GMO plants. Agricultural GMOs such as Roundup-tolerant soy and corn  are transgenic plants also for human consumption and animal feed.   Most of these plants are modified so as to contain glyphosate-based herbicides such as RoundUp (the herbicide produced by Monsanto), which leads to high levels of residues of glyphosate and other formulants entering the food chain.

Gilles-Eric Séralini declared the following:   “We call for the immediate transparent and public release of the formulations and above all of any health tests conducted on them. The acceptable levels of glyphosate residues in food and drinks should be divided immediately by a factor of at least 1,000 because of these hidden poisons. Glyphosate-based herbicides should be banned”.

Dr Vandana Shiva, scientist and environmentalist, declared the following: “Dr Gilles-Eric Seralini was the first scientist to do a two-year in depth study on glyphosate and GMOs, which showed the impact on vital organs such as kidneys and tumours and published in reputed scientific toxicology publications. Monsanto has regularly attacked him as was confirmed in the revelations in the Monsanto Papers which show Monsanto’s direct involvement in trying to discredit Dr Seralini. Legal proceedings have established Dr Seralini’s high credentials as an independent scientist and the scientific frauds of Monsanto. Dr Seralini has come up with new findings which provide scientific evidence that the formulants inside glyphosate based herbicides contain toxic heavy metals such as arsenic“.

Dr Vandana Shiva concluded with a statement on the global situation, bringing the example of what is happening in India: “It is time society and government wake up to this threat to protect science and public health. They should ban glyphosate/ Round up/GHB as well as round up resistant crops. A CICR-Nagpur reports in April confirmed that Monsanto has illegally planted unapproved Roundup Ready BT Cotton. They should criminally be investigated for poisoning India with arsenic. Monsanto is also promoting the role of Round up (GHB) as a desiccant, thus poisoning our wheats, our dals and our other crops. The government needs to ban the use of Round up as a desiccant (spraying poisonous chemicals on crops to dry them faster) and criminally investigate who is responsible for this public health disaster”.

Also read:

The Toxic Story of RoundUp: Freedom from the Poison Cartel through Agroecology

Report

9 FAQ about pesticides

Fact sheet

A matter of fraud: hidden poisons in pesticides

Interview with Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini

                          
Categories: Ecological News

Gene drive extinction technology is a war against the planet and biodiversity

Sun, 12/10/2017 - 21:37

Navdanya International, 7 December 2017

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested by U.S. Military, companies and foundations on gene drives, a highly controversial technology aimed at genetic extinction.

This is what emerges in The Gene Drives Files a set of over 1.200 emails, obtained by civil society investigators under Freedom of Information requests. The emails document how the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the largest single funder in gene drives technology, as demonstrated by a stunning financing of some 100 million dollars already invested on accelerating the research. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also heavily invested in the development of the technology with a $1.6 million payment  to the Public Relations firm “Emerging Ad”  aimed at influencing the discussions on the subject at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (see recent article by Jonathan Latham on “Independent Science News”), and at repealing a call by a large number of civil society ngos, including scientist and academic institutions, that the CBD impose an international moratorium in keeping with the precautionary principle. The emails throw light on how the regulatory process, originally meant to protect the environment and the genetic integrity of species on our planet, is deeply influenced by the hidden interesets of proponents of the technology strategically recruited by the Gates Foundation.

Once again we find far reaching decisions on the future of our ecosystems being made without transparency and through secretive and unethical practices.  Gene drives have the potential to dramatically transform our natural world and humanity’s relationship to it, wiping out entire species, irreversibly damaging the planet’s life-sustaining biodiversity and altering the genetic balance of the ecosystem. But again we see that ethical considerations and ecological consequences are of no import to those who stand to profit hugely from the development of such a technology, be it militarily as a covert war instrument, or materially in the agribusiness and big pharma worlds of power and profit.

A recent article of the New York Times reports that Dr Kevin M. Esvelt, who was among the promoter of Crispr technology at Harvard University, has recently “discovered an unacceptable risk”  as “altered genes might spread to places where the species isn’t invasive at all, but a well-established part of the ecosystem”.

The same mindset, which led to the stockpiling of chemicals of war in our fields with the Green Revolution, later developed today’s failed genetically engineered herbicide resistant crops, such as Monsanto’s RoundUp ready soy and corn. But the same weeds that GM herbicide tolerant technology was supposed to control have been developing resistance to the extent that today approximately 92% of RR cotton and soybeans in the US south-eastern states are infested by superweeds like Palmer Amaranth.   In the meantime the consequent increased use of these chemicals in fields has led to  further contamination of our soils and the environment. Monsanto & Co – which includes investors, scientists, corporations, DARPA, and Gates Foundation – continues dogedly  to rely on this misguided ‘techno-fix’ approach, now with gene drives technology to solve the failures they have created themselves,  another tool on the path of unbridled profit and control.

This simplistic approach carries the risk of driving the whole Amaranth genetic population to extinction. The National Academy of Science of The United States, in its report titled “Gene Drives on the Horizon : Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values”,  sponsored by the same DARPA and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, itself indicates the risks: “Gene drives developed for agricultural purposes could also have adverse effects on human well-being. Transfer of a suppression drive to a non-target wild species could have both adverse environmental outcomes and harmful effects on vegetable crops, for example. Palmer amaranth in Case Study 6 is a damaging weed in the United States, but related Amaranthus species are cultivated for food in Mexico, South America, India, and China.” Thus our food security and health are once again knowingly being put at risk through the same blind technological mindset which led to the failure of the Green Revolution. 

It’s clear that the value of Amaranth as a vital, nutritious, sacred and ancient food crop in many areas and cultures of the world is not considered relevant by the “militarised minds” of single-minded scientists who only see solutions to problems through the act of killing (see Biodiversity, GMOs, Gene Drives and the Militarised Mind, by Dr Vandana Shiva, July 2016) and who chose to ignore the potential consequences on food security and health in their narrow perspective.

Under the guise of doing good for humanity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation continues to undermine the scientific debate on the dangers of gene manipulation. Through biased and pseudo ‘science’, disguising public relations as science and directly targeting decision-makers, they directly increase their influence and pressure on governments and institutions. Similar patterns we have seen in the glyphosate risk assessment debate, which last week led to a 5 years renewal of the license in the EU, in spite of the concerns about loopholes, conflicts of interest, corporate interference and pressure on regulatory bodies as described in the  ‘Monsanto Papers.’

The failed industrial agriculture model that has brought us poisons, weedicides, Round-up ready crops, superweeds, is now bringing us gene drives. Gene drives technology is a rough tool, based on an outmoded mechanistic and reductionist paradigm and vision of science, which ignores and denies the self organized, evolutionary potential of living organisms as well as their complex, dynamic evolution. It is sad times indeed when philanthropy embraces such a short-sighted approach, knowingly putting at risk our health and our environment. To quote Dr. Vandana Shiva: “The one who uses public relations disguised as science for driving species to extinction and robs people of their commons, is not practicing philanthropy, but ecocide”.

                          
Categories: Ecological News

Celebrating Seed Freedom and Agroecology – Indonesia

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 21:11


In October 2017, commemorating World Food Day, Navdanya and JAGA Indonesia organized an agroecology mobilization tour in collaboration with local partners in continuation to the mobilization kicked off in 2014 with Dr. Vandana Shiva’s visit to  Indonesia and subsequently in 2015, when eleven people from Indonesia attended the “A to Z of Agroecology and Organic Food Systems” course at Navdanya Earth University.

The initiative “Celebrating Seed Freedom & Agroecology” took place in three cities: Jember (October 28th-29th, 2017), Jogjakarta (October 31st, 2017) and Bali (November 4th, 2017). The Navdanya team consisted of Ruchi Shroff, of Navdanya International, Darwan Singh Negi, Navdanya’s Farmers’ Training Co-ordinator and Neha Raj Singh, of Navdanya Trust, India.

The rich dialogues, exchanges and presentations  with farmers, policy makers and citizens laid the ground for a transition towards an agroecological food system for food sovereignty, nutrition, climate resilience and economic security.

Of major importance to the success of the tour were the 3 agroecology practical training workshops which covered, among other practices, seed saving, natural seed treatment, soil fertility management and natural pest management. Using traditional knowledge Mr. Negi showed how in any natural environment it is possible to find the resources and ingredients to both control pests and weeds, as well as to regenerate soil fertility. As he stated: “We don’t need poisonous chemicals to kill pests and weeds, we have enough knowledge to control them”.

The first event was coordinated by Jaga Indonesia local team and held at Jember University with the participation of students, representatives of the academic community and of local farmers’ organisations. The core theme and title of the panel debate was “Local Food Sovereignty based on Farmers’ Self-Reliance”. Our team highlighted how the dominant industrial agriculture and food system is failing in addressing the multiple crisis we face today. This model, based on large scale monocultures, hybrid or transgenic seeds and a very high use of chemical inputs, is polluting the soil, air and water, eroding biodiversity, killing pollinator insects, increasing greenhouse gases emissions, giving us nutritionally empty food, pushing farmers off their land and disrupting the social fabric of local communities.

The agricultural food systems and policies that we need should not be based merely on the industrial goal of high production of commodities. As Navdanya’s studies and work show, a Biodiversity-based organic agriculture provides the answer to the issues which should instead be at the centre of the discourse regarding the future of our food – a model that works in harmony with the Earth, increases soil fertility and biodiversity, provides diverse, nutritious and poison-free food, contributes in mitigating and stabilizing climate change, as well as improves farmers’ livelihoods and revives the economy of local communities.

The program schedule at Ekoliterasi Jogja in Jogjakarta saw two days of intense capacity building workshops and inspiring discussions on “Seed: Threats, Challenges and Hopes” with some of the most committed activists, farmers and movements of the region. Representing the local group affiliated to Jaga Indonesia, activist Satriya Wibowo presented a workshop on the loss of biodiversity in Java following the green revolution.

As part of the effort of building networks to share knowledge on the importance of local seeds, the group based their survey and research on asking old farmers from the villages of the rural area of Java about how their farming methods and the varieties of plants they used had been developing and changing from the 1960s’ onwards. It resulted that, for example, in 1960 they used to have 43 carbohydrate sources which have now been reduced to 9, among which only 2 are local varieties and seven are new varieties. In the same year the number of vegetable sources was up to 29, which now have been reduced to 16, mostly hybrid varieties produced by companies that come with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Also, the 10 varieties of legumes present in 1960 have now been reduced to only 4.

In relation with the work which has been carried out with Mantasa and with other international partners on network building for Seed Freedom, Navdanya’s presentation was focused on showing the vision and achievements of the Global Movement for Seed Freedom and how support in solidarity with each other and timely intervention is vital to stop the corporate hijack of our seed and food, while protecting the Earth, our biodiversity and the well-being of our local communities. Discussions took place and knowledge was shared across different small working groups, from the comparison of the roots of the agrarian crisis in India, Indonesia and other parts of the world, to the importance of connecting citizens movements with farmers who cultivate diversity and of taking care of seeds and traditional knowledge as a community.

The third event was held at the Subak Museum in Bali, also to pay a tribute to the millennial tradition of Subak water system distribution in Bali, which well represents the invaluable importance of protecting and defending traditional knowledge. The panel discussion was coordinated by JAGA Indonesia and several other local organisations and saw the participation of farmers, students and local producers. Navdanya was represented both by Neha Raj Singh, of Navdanya Trust, India and Ruchi Shroff, of Navdanya International. The example of Navdanya’s program with farmers in India, and how keeping seeds, biodiversity and traditional knowledge in people’s hands as commons, has proven to be the basis to generate livelihoods both for farmers and local communities, as well as empower the ability of facing extreme climate change related events. In India the network of more than 122 community seed banks established by Navdanya was able to save more than 6000 climate resilient, salt tolerant, drought tolerant local farmers’ varieties of seeds, which were also used to meet the needs of areas hit by extreme floods and/or droughts.

Along the same lines, Navdanya’s team brought examples on how the Green Revolution and its development into large scale industrialised agriculture has generated a deep crisis in farmers’ livelihoods in India, as well as in Indonesia and in other parts of the world. This agriculture model is mostly hitting small farmers, who still are those who provide 70% of the food we eat globally and who hold the knowledge of seed breeding which was developed over millenia and has brought us the diversity of edible crops we know today. Those who promote this “agricultural transformation” of the ‘Green Revolution’ are often supported by government subsidies for farmers and come with promises of good outcomes. When farmers stop breeding their seeds, cultivating diversity and taking care of the soil by replacing these practices with a sponsored package of commercial hybrid seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, they start depending on the market as they no longer produce for their own needs and their communities, but  instead for the demands of the global market. Besides loosing seed and food sovereignty – and therefore their freedom, the consequences can also be seen in the impact that this system has on people’s health, on the environment, and on the future of our children. The work of Navdanya in the last 30 years has been about uncovering the underlying lies lies of the green revolution, backed by the richest corporations of the world, and claiming the power back into the hands of the farmers, as well as promoting the alternatives that are actually in the hands of rural communities. Farmers all over the world are realising the reality of what is happening, and they are organizing and fighting back. They are claiming back their seeds, their lands, their traditional knowledge and implementing ecological agriculture based on preserving biodiversity and soil fertility.

The event also featured a group of Balinese speakers, academics, policy makers, activists and farmers’ groups representatives. Many local producers, farmers and local organisations displayed their products and work at stands and demo stations in the dedicated market area.

It can be said that each event turned out to be highly motivating, rewarding and inspirational for all participants, including the organizing teams. The tour represented a unique opportunity to bring local and institutional organizations and initiatives together, to stimulate public awareness, including local authorities,  of the importance of agroecology to achieve sustainable food systems in the country, to fortify and broaden the practices and existing network of agroecology, including the local seed movement, to help define and support specific programs to build agroecology as the foundation of future food systems.

Related Campaigns and Publications

 

Poison Free Food and Farming

The Toxic Story of RoundUp: Freedom from the Poison Cartel through Agroecology

Seeds of Hope, Seeds of Resilience: How Biodiversity and Agroecology offer Solutions to Climate Change by Growing Living Carbon

Also read

Our biodiversity, our life, our future

By Dr Vandana Shiva – The Asian Age, 6 October 2017

How agricultural chemicals are poisoning our world. And all the (false) myths about them

By Ruchi Shroff – Lifegate, 18 September 2017

Food and farming: Two futures

By Dr. Vandana Shiva – The Asian Age, 12 July 2017

The Farmers’ Crisis

By Dr Vandana Shiva, 5 July 2017

Seeding the Future, Seeding Freedom, One Seed at a Time

By Dr Vandana Shiva, 8 February 2017

                          
Categories: Ecological News