I remember hearing whispers a while back about a massive increase in the suicide rate among farmers in India – thanks in part to the irresponsible promotion of GM (genetically modified) crops; particularly cotton.
An article on CNN today left me speechless – we’re not talking just a few hundred or even a few thousand desperate farmers ending their lives; but 200,000 since 1997; one every 30 minutes! Some are labeling it a genocide.
One of the reasons:
“Ceding of control of the seed supply to the corporate chemical industry”.
Digging a little deeper, it appears that millions of Indian farmers have been promised incredible harvests and income if they switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead; species that are *owned* by some of the largest biotech companies in the world.
The failure of these crops to live up to the claims, coupled with the costs involved of buying the seeds, compatible chemicals and fertilizers and resulting debt is helping to drive these farmers to an unfortunate end.
Unlike “normal” species, these frankencrop arrangements don’t allow for seed saving to help tie a farmer over if a crop fails. It’s the way the seed companies protect their “investment”. Seed, which previously was free or bartered between farming families now has to be bought for every planting season.
GM crops may be the future of food and many plant based textiles – it’s rather frightening and not just from an environmental point of view.
Learn more about the suicide epidemic among India’s farmers here.