February 9, 2010
MORATORIUM ON Bt. BRINJAL A VICTORY FOR GMO FREE MOVEMENT
The Minister of Environment Jairam Ramesh announced the Moratorium on the Bt. Brinjal. As he stated moratorium implies rejection of this particular case of relief for the time being. It does not in anyway mean conditional acceptance. This should be clearly understood.
The moratorium is based on series of seven public hearings organized by the environment minister. Navdanya welcomes this decision. We also welcome commitments made by the minister for creating a more robust biosafety framework including independent testing as well as mandatory labeling. However, the minister makes no reference to creating a liability framework in case of contamination by GM crops. The period of the Moratorium should not be used to streamline approvals of GMOs. The moratorium must be used for doing independent arrangements for deepening the democratic process of decision making and for deepening the federal structure for agriculture. The rejection of Bt. Brinjal by the state governments is a major reason for the moratorium. Another reason is the evidence that the genetically engineered Bt. Brinjal is an unreliable method of pest control. Ecological/organic farming and non-pesticide management are proven methods for controlling pests and producing pesticide free food. These alternatives need to be further developed in the period of the moratorium. The Government’s single minded obsession with Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology is disastrous for India’s food security and food sovereignty.
We also welcome the moratorium as a victory of Indian democracy. All the pressure of Monsanto has been applied to rush Bt. Brinjal into the market.
Dr. Nina Fedoroff, Technology Adviser to Hilary Clinton and the highest official placed US official imposing GMOs on the world is in Delhi to influence the decision. We are glad that Indian democracy and Indian sovereignty stood strong in face of the U.S. pressure. It is now time to strengthen our food sovereignty and seed sovereignty.
For Further Information, please contact –
Dr. Vandana Shiva
A-60, Hauz Khas,
New Delhi 110 016
Phone : 91-11-26968077 / 26532561
Website : www.navdanya.org