SA farmers learn from state counterparts

21 Jan 2009, 0008 hrs IST, TNN
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Bangalore : India is not just an example to the world with its industrial and technological development -- the vast country is more
than that. India, with its success story in organic farming, is also a lesson for other countries.

Farmers from South Africa (SA) who visited Bangalore on Tuesday were surprised to discover that Karnataka farmers have been cultivating crops in dry land without using chemicals or fertilizers.

The farmers from Makhathini, SA, a region famous for its success in growing genetically modified (GM) crops, said they have lost most of their traditional crop varieties. Agriculture is mainly under corporate control there.

"After the apartheid broke out, companies like Monsanto and other giants took over the agricultural sector. Eighty per cent food is produced by the companies while farmers contribute 20%, that too GM maize and cotton," said Mariam Mayat, director of African Centre for Bio-Safety.

"Seeds and fertilizers are subsidized and companies have flooded the farmers' mindset with propaganda on GM crops. None of them know how to practise traditional farming."

More than 35 organic farmers from Nanjangud taluk, T Narsipura, Bellary and Kolar, among others, interacted with the visiting farmers.
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