Farmers’ Rights over Genetic Resources
Biological diversity among crops is a heritage of nature. The ‘local people’ have been fostering the diversity since ages. They are the custodians of the genetic resources through decade long practice of exchange of seeds. Exchange of such resources has been a natural phenomenon among the grower community and very integral to food system. Recently, the genetic engineering introduced genetically modified organisms, which imposed a major threat to the extinction of this diversity along with social support system. This ‘genetic pollution’ in our food chain once started is irreversible and poses serious hazard to human and environmental health.
Bt Cotton is rampantly cultivated in south-western districts of Orissa and it has replaced traditional varieties of cotton. Trials to contaminate rice are under process and raise greatest concern for a State like Orissa whose first priority food is rice. We have been supporting the campaign against genetic Modification intervention in food system undertaken by other civil society groups in the state and abroad.
We work with local communities to enhance their control over local genetic resources (seeds, crops, forest resources, medicinal plants and livestock) to uphold their right to use them and conserve bio-diversity. At present, we are associated with other larger like-minded groups & networks at state and national level.