To be or not to BT
By Jeevan Kumar | ENS | Published: 03rd June 2013 02:14 PM |
The big debate on genetically modified crops and their impact on the lives of farmers in the developing world across the globe has been the focus of Farmers Film unFestival organised by the Documentary Circle of Hyderabad (DCH) and the National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) at Lamakaan, Banjara Hills.
The three day ‘un-festival’ captures the myth of scientific development being a win-win situation for all the parties involved.
Setting the ball rolling, the three day screening of documentary films screened The World According to Monsanto by French journalist Marie-Monique Robin. The film centres on the controversies generated around the promotion of Genetically Modified (GM) seeds produced by the US-based company Monsanto. GM-Canola is one of the GM products from Monsanto which was leading to the destruction of indigenous crops and faced opposition from farmers across the world.
The company has failed to meet the promise of providing stable and productive GM varieties so far. Most expensive GM seeds left farmers with huge losses after they utilised the seeds which had low resistance to pests. The film takes us around Canada, Norway and India and Marie also captures the outrage against GM seeds in India.
“Government does not realise the seriousness of the problem. The use of GM seeds can ruin indigenous crop varieties. Organic agriculture is healthier and more productive. The existing seed act is not very effective in controlling the introduction of GM seeds. We need a new bio safety law to prevent the damage,” said Dr. D. Narsimha Reddy who participated in a discussion following the screening of the movie.
On the last day of the screening, the festival screened ‘Bt Cotton in Andhra Pradesh -- a three year fraud’ shot by an all women-farmers crew and produced by Deccan Development Society (DDS). The other movies screened at the fest include Bitter Seeds, Death of a Farmer and Unnatural Selection. The films captured many controversies surrounding the use and promotion of GM seeds at various countries like USA, Canada, Mexico, Paraguay, France and India. The films point at the alleged collaboration between multi-national seed companies and governments leading to the monopolisation global agriculture market.
Issues facing agricultural sector including suicides by cotton farmers owing to promotion of Bt-cotton variant and haphazardness of GM food were highlighted by the films.
The documentaries were screened between May 31 to June 2 at Lamakaan.