Thursday, 6 December 2012

Part 1: GMOs, Chapter 3: Hope


India is facing a suicide crisis. The circumstances are dark. Yet no situation is ever hopeless. As someone has said, “out of difficulties grow miracles.”


Hope by Radu Dan
A number of non-governmental organisations, both local and foreign, are taking steps to address the crisis. Their solution: Organic cotton farming.

Organic farming is often badly misunderstood. It’s not a throwback to the good old days, doing things our grandfather’s way. Granted, it’s similar in some respects to traditional farming. For example, organic farming strictly prohibits the use of genetically modified seeds and synthetic agrochemicals, both relatively recent inventions. Despite the similarities, there are substantial differences. Organic farming is knowledge-intensive and supported by current and solid science. To maximise crop quality and yield, organic farmers have to understand issues like soil fertility and insect life. So the NGOs are transferring organic agriculture know-what and know-how to the Indian farming community.

With zero GMOs and agrochemicals, organic cotton farming can help save lives. What’s more, it can give farmers a better quality of life.

But the NGOs can’t achieve their objectives alone. We have to “help” them. You see, someone’s got to buy the organic cotton produced by the farmers. That’s us consumers. In fact, the more we buy, the more farmers the NGOs can persuade to switch to organic farming. 

We’re nearing the end of the year. For some of us, it’s time to make New Year’s resolutions. We hope that buying and wearing organic cotton clothing will be one of your goals for 2013.

The environmentalist Anna Lappé is spot on: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

So what kind of world do you want? Will you give hope to the farmers of India in 2013? 

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