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Seed Sovereignty Meeting Hosted by Navdanya
July 4, 2012 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
A lively gathering of people from all walks of life including farmers, activists, scientist, legal experts and students have committed themselves to the fight for the protection of seed sovereignty. The Bija Swaraj meeting hosted by Navdanya brought the participants together, resulting in the successful foundation of a national alliance to collaborate to reclaim India’s seed freedom and biological diversity. The movement will kick start with a Bija Satyagraha on Gandhi Jayanti in Delhi.
“I started Navdanya to save seeds to prevent the memory in the seeds from being erased forever. For us, that is seed freedom”, said Vandana Shiva, founder and director of Navdanya. The threat to seed freedom is more evident than ever before in India. Indian Council of Agriculture Research’s decision to collaborate with multinational seed companies being the latest example for this. This would provide the corporates access to ICAR’s massive seed bank containing 400,000 varieties of native seeds developed by farmers.
The gathering also brought memories of the struggles by farmers to resist the seed monopolies in India. K C Basavaraju from Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha described how the farmers successfully stopped the multinational seed corporation Cargill, from operating their seed manufacturing unit in Karnataka.
The discussion revealed that even India’s young generation is concerned about the future of seeds. “Seed is obviously nature’s gift. When the natural heritage is hurt how can it assure farmers right and happiness”, said a student from Saint Mary’s School, Delhi.
Losing seed freedom also poses a risk to the health of both current and future generation. “The village regions are now a days becoming less immune against diseases due to unhealthy crops and foods,” said Chaudhary Ram Karan Solanki, a farmers activist from Delhi.
In short, the meeting has confirmed the solidarity of people of all ages and backgrounds to the movement for seed sovereignty.