Link Between GE Cotton and Indian Farmer Suicides Explored in New RT Documentary

India is the fourth largest producer of genetically engineered (GE) crops, with Bt cotton accounting for the entirety of the country’s GE plantings. A new RT documentary “100% Cotton. Made in India” [26:36] takes an in-depth look at the rise of Indian farmer suicides in relation to the widespread adoption of GE cotton technology.

Farmers and farmer-widows are interviewed about their mounting debts as a result of the transition to Monsanto’s GE cotton seed. One widow explains that GE cotton seeds need ample irrigation and heavy inputs, in addition to the high initial cost of the seed.

Alexis Baden-Mayer, Politcal Director for Organic Consumers Association based in Washington, D.C., explains that GE cotton seed is  8,000 times more expensive than normal cotton seed, which is now largely unavailable.

Baden-Mayer says, “Monsanto has created monopolistic control over the seed market in India. They are depriving farmers of the choice as to what types of seed to produce.”

100% Cotton. Made in India” includes interview footage with OSGATA President and Maine organic seed farmer Jim Gerritsen. “Biotech companies are not going to be eliminating poverty. They are increasing poverty by forcing farmers to have to buy seed from them each and every year. Breaking a tradition which has gone on for 10,000 years of farmers saving seed, regionally adapting the seed best to their farm and their locale and their neighbors and trading that seed back and forth.”

One devastated widow asks, after losing her husband to a gruesome suicide,  “How can I survive with nothing but these two acres and serious debts?”

Watch “100% Cotton. Made in India” here.

 

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