Ensuring our food security

Since the dawn of civilizations agriculture is one sector that impacts and in turn is impacted the most by environment. Hence sustainability of the human race and this world depends a lot on the environmental friendliness of our agriculture.

India is facing a food crisis thanks to the systematic destruction of farmlands and food production systems over the last five decades through uncontrolled use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, mono-cropping and other intensive agricultural practices. Instead of looking at the real problem the government is favouring false solutions like genetically engineered (GE) food crops.

Ecological farming is the answer to the problems being faced by agriculture in our country today. It will also keep agriculture sustainable. This form of agriculture conserves our soil and water resources, protects our climate, enhances agro-diversity, ensures biodiversity, meets the demand for food and safeguards livelihoods. In short, it ensures that the environment thrives, the farm is productive, the farmer makes a net profit and society has enough nutritious food.

India has a long history of agriculture. Over centuries, farmers in this country devised practices to keep our farms sustainable. Practices like mixed cropping, crop rotation, using organic manure and pest management kept our agriculture sustainable. But things changed for the worse with the onslaught of a chemical intensive model of agriculture, imposed through the so called Green Revolution in 1965.

It was therefore not surprising when the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development [IAASTD], an initiative of the United Nations and World Bank, concluded that small-scale farmers and agro-ecological methods are the way forward if the current food crisis is to be solved. This initiative involved a three year review of all the agricultural technologies in the past 50 years by around 400 scientists across the world.  

The IAASTD said that to meet the needs of local communities, indigenous and local knowledge need to be declared as important as formal science. This is a significant departure from the destructive chemical-dependent, one-size-fits-all model of industrial agriculture. The report also acknowledges that genetically engineered crops are highly controversial and will not play a substantial role in addressing the key problems of climate change, biodiversity loss, hunger and poverty.

Campaign story:

Greenpeace is not opposed to science nor is it opposed to finding more efficient farming methods. But we will not stand for the wilful destruction of the soil, water and biodiversity for the gains of corporates. Nor will we let human beings be treated as guinea pigs to test new crops. Keeping this in mind the sustainable agriculture campaign is currently focused on the following:

Fertiliser Campaign: Degraded soil with diminishing fertility, food full of toxins, huge carbon footprints and empty coffers. This is exactly what chemical fertilizers are doing in this country. It’s time to shift from these to ecological means of cultivation proved to be successful in several parts of the country. 

GE Campaign: Touted as the perfect solution to the food crisis, GE crops will only worsen it. Among other things, they pose a threat to human health and compromise on food safety. GE crops should not be released into the open at any cost.

The latest updates

 

The journey to the World’s Biggest Baingan Bharta: A public movement

Blog entry by Neha Saigal | September 16, 2011

On September 6, Greenpeace along with citizens for a GM free India prepared the World’s Biggest GM-Free Baingan Bharta. The whole exercise was fun and saw an audience of around 200 people which included farmer leaders like Yudhvir...

Karnataka pulls the plug on GM trials

Blog entry by Shivani Shah | August 12, 2011

In a landmark decision, the Karnataka government decided to pull the plug on all field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops across the state, securing the environment, farmers and health of people in the state from...

Thailand to maintain GM-free position, India continues to approve field trials

Blog entry by Shivani Shah | July 7, 2011

Recently, the Thailand government came up with a Rice Master Plan. The plan outlines a policy that aims to keep Thai rice free of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Back home, our government continues to approve field trials of...

Risky potato plan mashed by activists

Feature story | May 19, 2011 at 20:15

It’s potato planting time again in the north of Sweden where activists are occupying BASF’s potato warehouse and are blocking the exit in order to hinder the German chemical company from planting the risky GMO potato “Amflora.”

Bt brinjal expert committee=foxes guarding the chicken coop

Blog entry by Kapil Mishra | April 29, 2011

When the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) expert group members met on Wednesday, April 27th, to discuss Bt brinjal, they were shocked to see Greenpeace activists standing right next to their meeting room with a "We Say No...

Reviving the soil

Blog entry by Rahul Kumar. Picture: © Greenpeace / Yogesh Kumar | February 15, 2011

“It is a crime that is staring us in the face.” Anusha Rizvi, director of the film Peepli Live. Rizvi said these words at the launch of the Greenpeace report, Of Soils, Subsidies and Survival, in Delhi on February 3, 2011,...

A celebration of soils

Blog entry by Gopi Krishna | February 7, 2011

Indiscriminate use of chemi cal fertilizers over several decades has been sucking life out of Indian soils, and thereby putting the country’s food security at stake. But the government has continued to mindlessly promote chemical...

Secret GM rice field busted. Is our food safe?

Blog entry by Jai Krishna | November 19, 2010

Dr. Venkata Reddy is a physician and serves in a hospital in Doddaballapur near Bangalore. He is also proud to practice his family profession, agriculture.  Being a farmer and physician he probably knows the culprit behind the endless...

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