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Why say no to – GMO ( Genetically Modified Organism ) ?

What is GMO ?

Genetically engineered seeds (also referred to as GMO – Genetically Modified Organisms) mix genes in crops from unrelated organisms- for example genes from soil bacteria, fish etc, which could not have mixed through biological reproduction, and conventional breeding. Two techniques viz ‘gene gun’ and ‘plant cancer’ are used to implant a foreign gene from an unrelated organism to the plant. In addition, antibiotic resistance marker genes or viral promoter genes are also added in this process. The “yield” of a GMO crop is the yield of the original plant into which the new genes were introduced.

GMO

 

Why say “NO” to GMO ?

For Producer

Majority of the GM seeds are produced by private enterprises and thus are patented. A patent prevent producer from saving and exchanging seeds, therefore undermining the farmers’ right on seeds. The producer has to buy fresh seeds for every cultivation season. In effect, producer loses seed sovereignty and become dependent on Multinational Corporations. GM seeds also increase the cost of production. As patented seeds carry a considerable amount as royalty fees which increases the market price. Moreover, GM seeds requires chemical pesticides and fertilizers as suggested by the inventors to produce the desired yield- an factor which could further increases the cost of production.

For Consumers

GM crops can produce adverse health impact on both humans and livestock. The foreign gene in the GMO might behave differently in contexts other than the one they were taken from. This can give rise to severe allergic reactions. There were reports on adverse impact of Bt cotton on human health (skin and eye allergies) from Madhya Pradesh and on livestock (cattle deaths) from Andhra Pradesh in India. GM crops can contaminate non GM varieties through cross pollination. Thereby spreading their unknown side effects to nearby crop. Moreover, the health implications related to the long term consumption of GM foods remains largely unknown.

Growing organic market beckons to India’s rural farmers

Indian farmers have started to reap dividends from their budding interest in organic farming. It wasn’t long back, around seven years ago, when Indian farmers started to go organic.

In 2006-07, around 4.32 lakh ha reported organic produce — a large portion came from wild and non-agricultural land — which has now reached around 11 lakh ha, as per the recent report ‘The World of Organic Agriculture, 2013’ by FiBL and IFOAM (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements).

“The growth rate has reached around 20% per year, much higher than early expectations,” says Krishan Chandra, director, National Centre of Organic Farming.

The current market for organic foods in India is pegged at Rs.2,500 crore, which according to ASSOCHAM, is expected to reach Rs.6,000 crore by 2015.

It’ll still leave us at 1% of the global market. Thus, a huge potential is seen in the nascent Indian organic sector.

“Apart from states like Sikkim or MP, we’re seeing a rising interest in Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, UP and Bihar,” says Chandra.

India outnumbers every other country in terms of organic producers — with an estimated 5,47,591.

Organic products, which until now were mainly being exported, are now finding consumers in the domestic market.

“Even Tier II cities like Nagpur, Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Bhatinda show an increase in organic consumption,” says Sunil Kumar, AGM at Morarka Rural Research Foundation.

According to a survey of 1,000 consumers in ten cities done by Morarka Organic Foods, around 30% of Indian consumers preferred organic products and were even prepared to pay 10 to 20% more for them.

“Soil abused by chemical fertiliser excesses takes more time to produce comparable yields. Although, the cost of organic cultivation is much less, reducing cost incurred in purchasing costly inputs,” says Rohitashwa Ghakar, Project Head, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture.

Top 10 green pilgrims of India

[1] Golden Temple of Sripuram is a spiritual park situated at the foothills of Malaikodi, a village within the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, India. Sripuram received “Exnora Green Temple Award” and “Exnora Best Eco-friendly Campus of India Award”

Green-o-Meter : The eco-friendly features include Solid Waste Management (SWM), Liquid Waste Management (LWM), rainwater harvesting, bio-gas generation, organic farming, herbal gardens, paddy fields and tree plantations, hill and campus afforestation and harnessing of solar energy. Manure and water for cultivation are generated internally.

[2] The Tirumala temple, in the south Indian city of Tirupathi, is one of Hinduism’s holiest shrines. Over 5,000 pilgrims a day visit this city of seven hills, filling Tirumala’s coffers with donations and making it India’s richest temple. But since 2002, Tirumala has also been generating revenue from a less likely source: carbon credits. For decades, the temple’s community kitchen has fed nearly 15,000 people, cooking 30,000 meals a day. Five years ago, Tirumala adopted solar cooking technology, allowing it to dramatically cut down on the amount of diesel fuel it uses. The temple now sells the emission reduction credits it earns to a Swiss green-technology investor, Good Energies Inc.

Green-o-Meter : use of Solar Cooking System

[3] Muni Seva Ashram, in Gujarat, which combines spiritual practice with social activism, is working to make its premises entirely green by using solar, wind and biogas energy. A residential school for 400 students is already running exclusively on green energy. Starting this year, the ashram will also sell three million carbon credits.

Green-o-Meter : use of Solar Energy Power, Wind Energy and Biogas Plant.

[4] Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, The Sai Baba temple in Maharashtra’s Shirdi town has gone green as ‘prasadam’in the temple kitchens are prepared through solar-steam cooking system for thousands of devotees. Our effort has always been to be considerate about the environment. We use 30 percent of solar energy used in India. We have built our own infrastructure to harness both solar energy and wind energy.

Green-o-Meter : use of Solar Steam Cooking System and Wind Energy.

[5] ISKCON, in Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh, Surrounded by seven hills, high above lush green forests is the temple town of Tirumala. The crown jewel is the dazzling gold-plated temple of Lord Venkateshwara. Inside the temple complex, a large multi-storey building is dedicated to just one thing – cooking free meals for pilgrims. Several cooks work in tandem stirring large pots of rice, curry and vegetables. Nearly 50,000 kilos of rice along with lentils are cooked here every day. Open all day, this community kitchen is the biggest green project for the temple. Located on the roof of this building are rows of solar dishes that automatically move with the angle of the sun, capturing the strong sunlight. Generating over 4,000kgs of steam a day at 180º C, this makes the cooking faster and cheaper. As a result, an average of 500 litres of diesel fuel is saved each day.

Green-o-Meter : use of Solar Steam Cooking System, Reserve Forest Development (a-forestation).

 

 

[6] Ambaji Temple, Gujarat, The administration has decided to give Ambaji a clean makeover as well as make it eco-friendly. Proper disposal of garbage, underground gutters, LPG connections, massive tree plantation and raising the check dams on the Teliya river, are some of the steps planned in this direction.

Green-o-Meter : use of Waste Management, Tree Plantation (a-forestation), Solar Steam Cooking System,

[7] The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India is making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. About 100,000 pilgrims and tourists visit Amritsar each day. A few major holy cities have made an environmental group called, The Green Pilgrimage Network, they help to make religious travelers to be more environmental friendly. They want to reduce the carbon footprint to set a good example and also because they use many resources for all the people that visit all the time so it would make a big difference to change the temple. Around 85,000 meals are served a day and they are served on stainless steel plates so no plastic waste. They are planning to use solar panels for the lighting and solar water heaters. Also, they want to start harvesting rainwater. The temple speakers remind earth friendly messages to the pilgrims to hope it sticks to them and spreads.

Green-o-Meter : use of Solar Cooking System, Solar energy for cooking, lighting and cooling.

[8] Jama Masjid, Delhi, Dedicated buildings have been built at the holy places to cook meals for devotees using solar energy. Turning to renewable energy has dramatically cut down the cooking gas and diesel costs and provides uninterrupted electricity. Moreover, the solar cooking is clean, hygienic and efficient, especially when large quantities need to be cooked.

Green-o-Meter : use of Solar Energy for lighting and cooling.

[9] Lotus Temple of Bahai, Delhi, Dedicated buildings have been built at the holy places to cook meals for devotees using solar energy. Turning to renewable energy has dramatically cut down the cooking gas and diesel costs and provides uninterrupted electricity. Moreover, the solar cooking is clean, hygienic and efficient, especially when large quantities need to be cooked.

Green-o-Meter : use of Solar Energy for lighting and cooling.

[10] Jagannath Temple, Puri, Odisha, Dedicated buildings have been built at the holy places to cook meals for devotees using solar energy. Turning to renewable energy has dramatically cut down the cooking gas and diesel costs and provides uninterrupted electricity. Moreover, the solar cooking is clean, hygienic and efficient, especially when large quantities need to be cooked.

Green-o-Meter : use of Solar Power for lighting.