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Debates Forum

  1. 23 Nov '11 21:02 / 5 edits
    200,000 Indian cotton farmers have committed suicide since 1997 due to the
    introduction of genetically modified cotton from American company Monsanto.

    Traditionally the farmers planted their own cotton seeds and were able to save some
    for replanting the following year. Due to a contract entered into with the company
    they are not allowed to gather the seeds and use them the following year, risking a
    25,000 rupee fine for doing so, as the company claims the right of intellectual
    property of the modified seed. In order to buy the seed, the farmers must enter into
    a contract with banks in order to procure the funds necessary for cultivation.
    whereas before, their initial outlet was negligible, the increased cost of buying
    seeds and pesticides, not to mention interest on loans (new strains of pests have
    nullified the modified seeds original promise of being pest free) and up to seventy
    percent of their outlay is now spent on merely acquiring the needs of production. If
    a crop fails they cannot secure a second load and are literally without a means of
    survival.

    Now i am no economist, nor a politician, is this another case of greedy corporate
    exploitation and practical enslavement of a people who had practised their way of
    life for thousands of years, if so, its nothing less than pure unadulterated neocolonialism.

    you can read of it here if you have the stomach for it.

    http://www.columbiacitypaper.com/2009/11/10/the-suicide-belt/
  2. Standard member RevRSleeker
    CerebrallyChallenged
    23 Nov '11 21:30
    India should fight that as they abused ( IMO ) the contracts a;ready existing when they bought out the Indian seed supply company, Monsanto have too many times maintained their seed 'organic' instead of GM ...they are a pesticide outfit, their products effectively neuter at best and kill at worst thriving insect and weed populations that actually benefit crops long term..they give all manner of nonsense shunning the biodiversity of mixed crops..Monsanto buy up competing biotech companies at an alarming rate and then engineer out, or replace, any one of these bought out products that they feel is too suitable or 'too effective' for the market.
    Famous for 'agent orange,' Monsanto is for the investor, NOT the farmer !
  3. Standard member spruce112358
    Democracy Advocate
    23 Nov '11 21:45
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    200,000 Indian cotton farmers have committed suicide since 1997 due to the
    introduction of genetically modified cotton from American company Monsanto.

    Traditionally the farmers planted their own cotton seeds and were able to save some
    for replanting the following year. Due to a contract entered into with the company
    they are not allowed t ...[text shortened]... if you have the stomach for it.

    http://www.columbiacitypaper.com/2009/11/10/the-suicide-belt/
    The notion of intellectual property has grown completely out of control.

    You can't sing a song you have heard. You can't plant a seed you grew. You can't take my picture.

    Grrrr!
  4. 23 Nov '11 21:45
    Where does this 200,000 figure come from?
  5. Subscriber WoodPush
    Pusher of wood
    23 Nov '11 22:14 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Where does this 200,000 figure come from?
    It seems like the two aren't really adding up. The O.P. illustrated 200,000 cotton growers. But in fact:

    He is one of nearly 200,000 Indian farmers, many of them cotton growers, to commit suicide since 1997. In fact, suicide among farmers in India has become so prevalent that officials in New Delhi keep a tally.


    Last I heard, "many of" is not 100%, and quite often it when you dig into it you find it's more like 5%, but who knows what's the truth in this case.

    Still, I'm not sure the number of deaths is solely rhetorical...
  6. 24 Nov '11 12:26
    It seems to me like the real problems are:
    1. A culture in which suicide is seen as a solution to money problems.
    2. A country without effective bankruptcy laws.
  7. 24 Nov '11 12:38 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It seems to me like the real problems are:
    1. A culture in which suicide is seen as a solution to money problems.
    2. A country without effective bankruptcy laws.
    well, you can see their point when they are worth more dead than alive. there are so many contributing factors,

    1.that the genetically modified seeds do work, but on bigger farms with better
    irrigation. this was of course written in English, which how many Indian farmers can
    read?
    2. that loans are needed to procure the seeds every year and pesticides which were
    not initially needed (from the same company which produces the seeds)
    3. that if a crop fails one has no plan B and no way of raising the necessary capital
    expect from loan sharks.
    4.that intellectual property rights on a seed which was initially free from any form of
    copyright is a highly dubious claim.
    5. that the victims families are compensated by the government may be seen as a
    legitimate solution (kind of like death of a salesman, where the main character
    commits suicide to 'help', his family)
  8. Subscriber Proper Knob
    Cornovii
    24 Nov '11 12:41
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Where does this 200,000 figure come from?
    It comes from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

    http://www.indiatogether.org/2010/jan/psa-suicides.htm
  9. 24 Nov '11 12:45
    Originally posted by Proper Knob
    It comes from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

    http://www.indiatogether.org/2010/jan/psa-suicides.htm
    thanks PK, the scale is truly horrendous !
  10. 24 Nov '11 13:56
    Originally posted by WoodPush
    It seems like the two aren't really adding up. The O.P. illustrated 200,000 cotton growers. But in fact:

    He is one of nearly 200,000 Indian farmers, many of them cotton growers, to commit suicide since 1997. In fact, suicide among farmers in India has become so prevalent that officials in New Delhi keep a tally.


    Last I heard, "many of ...[text shortened]... e truth in this case.

    Still, I'm not sure the number of deaths is solely rhetorical...
    Last I heard, "many of" is not 100%, and quite often it when you dig into it you find it's more like 5%

    unsubstantiated assertion the basis of which seeks to diminish the reality rather than
    explore the truth.
  11. 24 Nov '11 14:28
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    there are so many contributing factors,
    Yes there are.
    The question here is to what extent gm seed is to blame and in what ways.
    Are the farmers forced to use that seed, and if so, in what ways? Is it because they have no other source of seed, or is it because they cannot hope to make as much profit from less productive seed?

    I must point out that farming in almost all countries is often a high capital high risk enterprise.
  12. 24 Nov '11 14:45
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It seems to me like the real problems are:
    1. A culture in which suicide is seen as a solution to money problems.
    2. A country without effective bankruptcy laws.
    3. Poor education among farmers who apparently are not able to judge which seeds to use. The article asserts that the GM seeds are the only ones available, but I find that hard to believe - how hard can it be to obtain regular cotton seeds?
  13. Standard member RevRSleeker
    CerebrallyChallenged
    24 Nov '11 16:46
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    3. Poor education among farmers who apparently are not able to judge which seeds to use. The article asserts that the GM seeds are the only ones available, but I find that hard to believe - how hard can it be to obtain regular cotton seeds?
    When you're tied to a Monsanto contract, you are tied no matter the outcome ( it would appear )..they buy out the original Indian the seed company, as the farmer is obliged to follow that initial contract, you are tied...'organic is not GM,' this company has been guilty of such 'false practise' for years..it's all documented.
  14. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    24 Nov '11 18:25
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    3. Poor education among farmers who apparently are not able to judge which seeds to use. The article asserts that the GM seeds are the only ones available, but I find that hard to believe - how hard can it be to obtain regular cotton seeds?
    Apparently it's like open land in California - lots of it but illegal to use.
  15. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    25 Nov '11 03:16
    The approach to, and capacity to provide, mental health services in most developing countries - or countries with extensive poverty - is a serious cause for concern.