Les Relations des Jésuites contiennent 6 tomes et défont le mythe du bon Sauvage de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, et aussi des légendes indiennes pour réclamer des territoires, ainsi que la fameuse «spiritualité amérindienne».

lundi, juin 04, 2007


Small Farmers Fight Against Globalized Agriculture
This release from the Advocate News Service was sent from Madras, India, and published in Farmer's Choice (25 March 1994). Under the new GATT rules, companies can sue farmers for selling seeds from their own fields when these are claimed as derivatives of protected seeds. The rules place the onus of proof on the farmers, a provision going against normal rules. This has caused great anger. Defying GATT in their 'seed satyragraha' (non-violent Gandhian struggle), the farmers are setting up co-operatives to develop, store and exchange their own seeds.

MADRAS, India - A gaunt, Gandhi-like figure has emerged in South India as leader of mighty peasants' revolts.
He sees himself as fighting for the survival of rural peoples threatened by the industrialization and globalization of agriculture.

And his voice is being heard throughout the sub-continent and other developing countries.

The immediate grievance of Professor M.D. Najundaswami and the 10 million members of his Karnataka Farmers Union is the powers just given to multinational seed merchants in the latest round of talks on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

When the Uruguay Round of GATT is finally signed next month, the companies will be able to enforce copyright on scientifically improved seeds.

In theory, this means farmers will no longer be allowed to gather seeds from their crops, but will have to buy them each year from seed companies.

Many of these seeds depend on chemicals for growth.

All this, Najundaswami says, will lead to a monopoly for agribusiness, requiring farmers to spend heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides (usually sold by the same companies).

It could, he says, threaten the livelihoods of all but rich farmers. India is made up of small farmers.
'Our farms are our last refuge,' says Najundaswami.

'If we are driven off them, we suffer extermination. What is happening in sub-Saharan Africa will happen here.'
Najundaswami, a former law professor, won a seat in the Karnataka State Assembly last year and hopes his movement will dominate state politics after elections in November.

It will, he says, be bigger than Gandhi's independence freedom struggle,'when the fight against cultural imperialism eventually spreads from the rural to the urban areas.'

His 14-year-old union is run as a grass-roots movement and is setting the political pace in 12 of Karnataka state's 19 districts.

The farmers have shown impressive muscle. On Gandhi's birthday, October 2, more than 500,000 assembled in Bangalore to hear protests from across the developing world.

Najundaswami has been feted in Paris by anti-GATT French and has addressed a rally in Geneva.
The action burst into a rare episode of violence when members ransacked the Bangalore offices of Cargill, the world's largest seed company and food merchant, in which they see the main threat.

Their central target is the 'intellectual property rights' awarded to companies by the new GATT rules, which threaten to stop them trading in seeds among themselves.

Defying GATT in their 'seed satyragraha' (non-violent Gandhian struggle), the farmers are setting up cooperatives to develop, store and exchange their own seeds.

The seed merchants and government officials promise that the real effects of GATT will be less drastic and there is much confusion about what the rules will mean in practice.

Legislation has still to be drafted and protesters claim growing sympathy for their cause among officials and MPs who cannot ignore the rural vote.

Nobody denies that the GATT text forces every country to introduce a patent law or an 'effective' substitute to protect plant breeders' rights.

John Hamilton, the Cargill manager in Bangalore, says his company has no intention of taking out patents on seeds because these are costly and ineffective.

But he confirmed the companies will 'not tolerate' rival sales of seed varieties they claim to have originated.
Hybrid seeds sold by companies are sterile, cannot be re-sown after the first harvest and must therefore be repurchased every year.

Rather than becoming perpetual clients of monopolistic companies, the farmers plan to produce their own hybrids.

Non-hybrids can be re-planted and farmers say their time-honoured methods of trading such seeds after each harvest are now under threat.

Under the new GATT rules, companies can sue farmers for selling seeds from their own fields when these are claimed derivatives to protected seeds.

The rules place the onus of proof in case of dispute on the farmers, a provision going against normal rules of justice which has caused particular anger.

Such seeds are not primitive, the farmers insist. They represent centuries of improvement and adaptation to local conditions and have been developed for mixed, sustainable agriculture.

The reputation of 'miracle seeds,' by contrast, is rapidly diminishing in India.

'People bought them under pressure of salesmanship, but they are disillusioned,' Najundaswami says.
'They require very costly inputs, yields are often much lower than advertised and very often lower than our own seeds.' Traditional farming is cost-effective, he says, because it needs fewer inputs and less water and provides its own organic manure without cost on fields where a variety of food and fodder crops can share the same space.
Behind this grievance is deeper disillusion with the famed 'Green Revolution' which brought India from chronic food deficit to surplus in the '60s.

Shivaram Hutchaia, a union member in Mandia district, said yields of Cargill sunflower seeds had been 'a disaster,' while organic production of rice, sorghum, wheat and sugar cane had broken records.

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