Activists escalate efforts to stop Indian farmers from using GMO seeds

Mark Lynas | Cornell Alliance for Science | January 9, 2020

Anti-GMO activists in India have escalated their war on the country’s resource-poor farmers by moving their efforts to stop genetically improved seeds into the nation’s Supreme Court.

On Jan. 6, India’s top court heard arguments from lawyers acting on behalf of anti-GMO activist Aruna Rodrigues that farmers should be prevented from using unapproved genetically modified (GM) cotton and eggplant (brinjal) seeds.

India’s biosafety regulatory system has been at a standstill since activists succeeded in persuading politicians to impose a moratorium on GM Bt brinjal in 2010. In response, farmer groups have begun distributing unapproved seeds to their members.

As the Alliance for Science reported in previous coverage, a farmers’ collective called Shetkari Sanghatana launched a Gandhi-inspired “satyagraha” civil disobedience movement where members openly planted unapproved herbicide-tolerant cotton seeds on their land, mainly in Maharashtra state, last June.