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Punjab

Posted at: Jan 25, 2016, 12:48 AM; last updated: Jan 25, 2016, 12:21 AM (IST)

NGO shows the way to debt-ridden farmers

Promotes organic farming, denounces Bt crops

Launches ‘Anna Swaraj’

  • NGO Navdanya launched “Anna Swaraj” in the village of farmer Kuldeep Singh, who committed suicide onSeptember 25, 2015, following his failed cotton crop
  • The NGO has been campaigning against GM crops since 1991. It has helped set up 54 community seed banks in the country promoting organic agriculture

Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Tribune News Service

Chugge Kalan (Bathinda), Jan 24

Taking a lead from the village of farmer Kuldeep Singh, who committed suicide on September 25, 2015, following his failed cotton crop, NGO Navdanya, which played a pivotal role in Sikkim being awarded for organic farming, launched “Anna Swaraj” today, promoting organic farming and denouncing Bt crops.

The NGO also released a film “Bt Cotton Seeds of Suicide”, which has a name of 40 farmers from the neighbourhood who committed suicide because of debt related to cotton crop. Dr Mira Shiva, member of the Central Council for Health, said, “Appreciating the great initiative shown by the Prime Minister in promoting organic farming, we too are making a beginning here.”

“Research indicates that cancer is linked to the use of excessive pesticides. There were enough indications to show linkages with other health disorders. We need to make a beginning and adopt organic farming following the example of Sikkim,” Dr Shiva said. Agricultural expert Manveer Singh spoke on techniques through which pests could be stopped without using pesticides.

Umendra Dutt, chairman of the Kheti Virasat Mission, said, “Organic farming is the healthiest alternative to harmful Bt varieties. Navdanya has helped convert Sikkim into an organic state. Now, people of Chugge Kalan should join hands and set the example of an organic model for Punjab.”

A national-level NGO promoting biodiversity and organic farming, Navdanya has been campaigning against GM crops since 1991. The NGO has helped set up 54 community seed banks in the country promoting organic agriculture.

The gathering also talked about the country’s first social awareness hash tag (#Farmerslivesmatter) being extensively used to voice out plight of Bt crop growers in Punjab and Maharashtra.

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