Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements
Deputy Commissioner (QC)
Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare,
Room No.B/116, 2nd Floor,
Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi.
Dear Mr. Misra,
We are a network of farmers’ organizations in India, comprising of farmers movements from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra.
LICENSING GUIDELINES AND FORMATS FOR GM TECHNOLOGY AGREEMENTS (18 May Notification)
The Direct effects of Monsanto’s high royalties, faulty technology and monopoly through patents
Prices and royalties of Bt cotton seeds will increase. The Bt Cotton model of revenue extraction will be applied to other seeds, (hybrid & native) and the price of seeds will increase. This would entail more exploitation of already indebted Indian farmers. Plus, there will be increased risks of crop failures as seen recently in Bt cotton failure in Punjab. The cost of agriculture will go even higher due to patents, royalties and stricter corporate control of Indian agriculture. The seed corporations, which have now become the biotech corporations, want to patent every seed in India so they can profit from every item in our plate and farms.
Corporations will privatize farmers’ shared “commons”. Monsanto and Bayer are already negotiating terms for a merger. The deal would create one of the biggest agribusiness business monopolies in the world and a global exploitive seed and chemical empire.
If this trend of patenting is encouraged, then the day is not far when our traditional knowledge will become patentable and corporations will profit for India’s indigenous knowledge.
India will enter a new age of food and seed imperialism which will be controlled by US corporations such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Cargill.
India will lose its sovereignty and heed to the demands of corporations on issues of IPRs, Biodiversity and Farmers’ Rights.
OUR MAIN DEMANDS AND COMMENTS
1. We reject all patents on our seeds, our biodiversity and our life. Seed is life and farmers as traditional seed breeders they have the rights to their biodiversity. Our Biodiversity Heritage is our ‘collective commons’.
2. The farmers have rights to reliable and affordable seed. It is the duty of the government to protect farmers’ right to livelihood and right to life. It is the government’s duty under Art 21 of the constitution to protect the life of all its citizens. The Cotton Seed Price Control Order issued by the Government of India needs to be seen in the context of farmer’s rights.
3. IPRs, patents, royalty, and technology fees collected by Monsanto are unjust for it comes in the context of false claims and a failing technology which is costing farmers heavily. It is the duty of Government to act to revoke a patent according to Article 64 and Article 66 of the Indian Patent Act.
4. Traditional knowledge and knowledge systems are our shared property. We reject the hijack our knowledge by corporate agenda and monopoly.
5. We want an end to Monsanto’s monopoly. As farmers, consumers and citizens we have the right to control our market. The government should control of the prices of Bt Cotton seeds and all other seeds. Monsanto must not be allowed to collect illegal and exploitative royalties. We reject Monsanto’s control over our seed prices. The Government has a duty to prevent monopolies being established. This is why we had the MRTP commission earlier, and now the competition commission. The issue of monopoly is before the Competition Commission of India, which has stated that Monsanto has violated Competition laws and there is Prima Facie evidence of monopoly.
6. India should honour the integrity of her people and not bow down to pressure from corporations to amend her Biodiversity Act, Plant Variety Protection and Farmers’ Rights Act.
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, State President, BKU Punjab,
|Sh Vijay Jawandhia
|ChukkiNanjundaswamy, Karnataka RajyaRyotSangha, Karnataka
President, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, Tamil Nadu