‘Chor Bt nahin, hakkache Bt (Not by stealth, Bt by right).’
‘Tantragyan swatantra amchya hakkachi, nahin kunyacha bapache (Technology freedom is our right, not anyone’s father’s).’
These are a couple of slogans farmers in Maharashtra have been raising as they fight for the right to use genetically modified (GM) crops. Unhappy with the slow pace at which the government is moving on the issue, some farmers affiliated with unions in Maharashtra and Haryana have taken matters into their own hands.
They planted unapproved GM crops — like cotton that is immune to the controversial weedkiller glyphosate, and brinjal that is toxic to the fruit and shoot borer — in defiance of the law. The protesters want access to agricultural biotechnology so they can lower the cost of cultivation. But there is no indication that the ruling party will overcome internal opposition and oblige them.
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