Monday, March 16, 2009 3:03 PM IST

    Avoid GM seeds, farmers told



    First Published : 26 Jan 2009 02:02:00 AM IST
    Last Updated : 26 Jan 2009 10:30:53 AM IST

    CHENNAI: For about 10 days now, a group of 23 farmers from South Africa has been going around the south Indian States telling farmers to be ultra cautious about the genetically modified (GM) seeds, crops and food besides learning from the Indian expertise in agriculture.

    The group was here on Sunday for an interactive session with organic farmers of Tamil Nadu.

    The meeting saw exchange of ideas and experiences in farming. Vetavalam Manikandan and other farmers traced the journey of Indian agriculture since Independence through green revolution and the gains of organic farming.

    The African farmers were ‘thrilled’ about using cowdung as essential ingredients in organic farming. ‘Whenever I had seen a cow, I had thought only of eating its meat. I realise how important it is in a farmer’s life and in the yield,’ Nonhlanhla Ndlazi said.

    Harald Witt and others recounted how the South African farming community was excited about the huge yields of the GM crops. ``But, the excitement was short-lived. As years went by, the cost of seeds shot up meteorically and the price of pesticide too went through the roof even as the output became increasingly less,’ the South African farmers from Makathini village said. Today, the entire food chain in the country was flooded with GM food and it was impossible to distinguish it from non-GM food.

    After about 17 years since GM was introduced, the people were facing alarming levels of resistance to antibiotics and had to tackle worryingly low levels of immunity. A lot more new cases of cancer, and girls maturing earlier than ever before, were causes of concern.

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