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India's Agricultural Research Institute sells out country's farmers to Monsanto by distributing failed GMOs to farmers

Failed GMOs

(NaturalNews) One of India's top agriculture institutions has essentially sold its soul to biotech giant Monsanto, forcing failed genetically modified Bt brinjal saplings on dozens of farmers, a five-fold increase despite the breed's poor track record.

As reported by the Dhaka Tribune, despite the failure of the first government-sponsored GM trial, the saplings were further distributed to more than 100 farmers recently, up from 20 in previous testing, making the controversial variety more widespread.

"We selected 106 farmers in 17 districts to distribute the saplings. The distribution began last month," Dr. Rafiqul Islam Mondol, director general of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), told the news site.

Each farmer was distributed two sapling varieties for half bigha land, though the BARI at first decided to recommend one bigha for each variety.

Despite failures, the government ordered more GMO saplings to be planted

The Tribune further reported:

In February, the government distributed saplings among 16 farmers in Gazipur, Jamalpur, Rangpur and Ishwardi to cultivate those in one bigha land each. However, most of them carried out poor results.

The BARI chief now claims that this time farmers will not face any difficulties as "October-November is the appropriate season for brinjal cultivation."

On Oct. 30, 2013, the state-owned research facility released four GM varieties of saplings but did not provide satisfactory explanations regarding issues related to environmental and health concerns raised by anti-GMO advocates. At the time, the release was challenged in court but was nevertheless rejected.

Still, facing concerns, the Indian government in December ordered the BCSIR, otherwise known as the Bangladesh Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, to test the varieties to see whether they had any negative health impacts. That report has not yet been released, however.

The BARI proceeded to develop the varieties with assistance from India's Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, or Mahyco, by placing the bt gene into local varieties. The gene is patented by Monsanto.

The Tribune reported further:

Mahyco, in which Monsanto has 26% stake, developed the varieties with the financial support of the USAID. Mahyco's Bt brinjal was banned in India in 2010 after its harmful effects were exposed. The same group earlier developed GM brinjal varieties in the Philippines. But the move was stalled by a court order, considering the health hazards.
Farmers in Bangladesh had experienced drying up of seedlings and pest attacks because of demonstrating in late season, the BARI chief claimed.

In May, the news site New Age reported that farmers in Gazipur who were provided with the controversial Bt brinjal saplings said they could no longer cultivate it because it had ruined them by failing to adequately produce.

The others laugh at my GMO crop failure

During a visit to Bt brinjal fields, reporters for the web site noted the GM plants "faced several troubles," including not growing to maturity and were under assault by a variety of pests, including shoot borers.

In addition, BARI officials were seen removing the institution's signage that had been erected at the fields, in particular one owned by Masud Sarker, who had planted a Bt brinjal field at the Baraid village of Kaliganj upazila.

"Other farmers mock me and laugh at me seeing the miserable condition of Bt brinjal," he told the web site. "Remove the signboard from my field and I would cultivate local brinjal," he angrily told visiting BARI officials.

"Masud was given 1,100 saplings of Bt brinjal. He told New Age that he had followed all the instructions of the institute," the site reported.

"There was no need to keep the signboard as Masud would cultivate local brinjal due to the flop of Bt brinjal," one of the officials was quoted as saying.





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