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Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009
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South African farmers touring villages in South

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Hyderabad, Jan.27 For a group of farmers from South Africa, it is a revelation that traditional farming methods, which respect the ways of Nature and do little harm to the environment, still exist in India, resisting pressure from the pro-GM crops lobbies.

Ms Mariam Mayet, Director of African Centre for Biosafety, is part of the South African team that is on a two-week tour of South Indian villages. “Farmers in South Africa are part of a system that offers no choice,” she said.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, she said the GM crop companies first used South Africa for introducing their products. This was because the safety standards were not very high there.

Then, they would come to countries such as India, putting pressure on the policy makers to get a nod for launching the products here.

The itinerary of the team included visits to Warangal, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Tiruchi and Chennai.

Mr P.V. Satheesh, Director of Deccan Development Society, which promotes organic farming and continuation of traditional and nutrition-rich crops such as millets, said the African farmers found the tour useful, looking at their peers using nature-friendly farming practices.

He said the farming paradigm in South Africa undermined traditional crops, techniques and systems, giving way to a commodity-driven model.

This had killed diversity in agriculture there.

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South African farmers touring villages in South


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