Biopiracy in India: The case of the aubergine – Opinion – Al Jazeera English

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/10/2011102994021308862.html

My fears become true.

Occupy Gene Banks and Ensure Livelihood and Biodiversity

The Southern hemisphere of the planet earth is the cradle of animal domestication and almost all the livestock species for food and agriculture traveled from South to North. During the last 100 years, gene flows from South to North have been dwarfed by flows in the opposite direction, from North to South. Large numbers of animals, semen, embryos, and eggs are shipped to developing countries, and Northern breeds (particularly of pigs, poultry, and dairy cattle) have become firmly established in various countries. This development led to the erosion of livestock biodiversity in the South

The state of the world is very critical and the time is reached to stand and ask for change. Millions of dollars are spending on wars and much more goes in the oven of bankruptcy. Industrialization/privatization is the third sword hanging on the head of humanity. This entire situation created an evil triangle which resulted in poverty, malnutrition, hunger, jobs losses, wars, and many other consequences. This evil triangle is now going a step forward for future food control. To do this, a complex state of the situation is created in the form of stealing genes (biopiracy), patents for genes, so-called gene banks, GMO, BT, and promotion & backing for the promotion of industrialized breeds.6a0120a7fc3be9970b01a511a24eb7970c

The situation is even more than nastiest. Local verities of seed, capable of combating climate change and resist droughts are pushed towards extinct with the evil mind of money hungry industrialized seed multinational companies. BT cotton is causing havoc losses to local biodiversity and now the weed control is near to impossible. Such act as backing and promotion of exotic verities pushed smallholders at stake and hunger increased manifold beside the so-called green revolution. Ban Genetically Modified FoodThe green revolution no doubt increased food production but at the cost of human health, environment, and biodiversity. Blind use of fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides, antibiotics, artificial colors and synthetic hormones created a situation of complex human health and many more new diseases introduced. Actually, green revolution was meant to destroy the resilience of local communities to climate change and drought which ultimately depend on the multinationals. Added benefits of reducing meat and dairy consumptionThis phenomenon resulted in giving food control in the hand of multinational.

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If we talk about livestock biodiversity, the situation is very fragile and millions of smallholders are deprived of their precious indigenous livestock breeds and pushed in the hell of poverty and hunger. Millions of small livestock keepers, especially pastoralists in the South (underdeveloped part of the world, especially dry lands) depend on indigenous livestock breeds for their survival. People and Animal Agriculture~The Philosophy of the Low Carbon Livestock

Also, these small farmers and pastoralists are the custodian of precious livestock biodiversity in their habitats and ecosystems. Their livestock breeds depend on very marginal lands for grazing which has no other use. Livestock production systems of such farmers need very low or even zero inputs, therefore, their share in climate change is very limited. The keepers of the breeds continuously evolve their breeds with the help of their indigenous knowledge in tune with environmental changes and consumer demands. My Philosophy of Sustainability — Camel, food security and climate change

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The Southern hemisphere of the planet earth is the cradle of animal domestication and almost all the livestock species for food and agriculture traveled from South to North. During the last 100 years, gene flows from South to North have been dwarfed by flows in the opposite direction, from North to South. Large numbers of animals, semen, embryos, and eggs are shipped to developing countries, and Northern breeds (particularly of pigs, poultry, and dairy cattle) have become firmly established in various countries. This development led to the erosion of livestock biodiversity in the South.Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine | Full text | Ethnoveterinary treatments by dromedary camel herders in the Suleiman Mountainous Region in Pakistan: an observation and questionnaire study

The influx of high performing genotypes into existing breeds has always been an important component in developing and improving breeds. In the history of all species investigated, gene flow has contributed significantly to diversity. In population genetics, migration is an important source of genetic variability. But the international exchange of genetic material (North to South) from a decreasing number of sires (bulls) increasingly loses genetic variation with global impacts for developed and developing countries.FAO Press releases on AnGR

This flow of gene (breeds) is very unnatural and has environmental consequences. Such breeds need very high inputs of energy in the form of acclimatizing housing and feeding high energy and protein levels. Also, according to a study, naturally the flora and fauna species travel from south to north to cope with the climate change. In this context, this is an opportunity for southern breeds to flow towards the north and that is very natural. Hence supporting gene flow from north to south is very stupid and wasting the money of the western taxpayer in the form of subsidies to the breeders of the North.9bbc88561fc80ec31840891c58fc22e9

The northern governments subsidize livestock exports by their banking system, while the South has furthered the import of exotic genetic materials, for example by offering livestock keepers credit, services, and subsidized feed. Southern governments tend to favor livestock industrialization at the expense of smallholder producers. International agreements regulating agricultural trade are likely to enhance the intensification of livestock production and increase gene flows to the South.

North breeds not only alter the breed diversity of the South but promotes a new culture of agricultural intensification and industrialization, leads to benefit the industries of developed countries. Such system is always dependent on foreign aids. The cash amount of aid usually goes into the pocket of corrupt officials and politicians and again transfers to the western banks. This is an evil cycle of money to exploit the small stockers of the south and narrow the diversity of the breeds.Turning Again to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

Failure of this system

  • Breeds are neither suited for the new environment nor fits with the goals and strategies of the producers.
  • Northern breeds are already very narrow within-breed diversity and very prone to the pest and diseases of the new environment.
  • Such production systems need institutional and technical support to its producers which the developing countries seldom provide.
  • Breeding decisions are increasingly taken out of the hands of farmers and herders. While relatively few Southern breeds have so far disappeared.
  • They have been selected for high yields and require standardized conditions and high inputs to exploit their genetic potential.
  • Exotic livestock breeds, especially poultry, and pig are in competition with the human population for food resources as they depend on the grains.
  • According to data collected by the FAO, 18 % of the 740 farm animal breeds that were recorded as extinct were bred from the South
  • However, among the breeds at risk, including the status endangered and critical, 60% are from the South and this proportion is expected to increase.
  • However, if the risk factors “change of husbandry”, “expansion of large-scale intensive livestock production” or “people giving up herding or farming” are taken into account, then the South could become the hotspot of breed loss of the 21st century.
  • Southern governments need to recognize their contribution to breed development and secure their access to grazing and water, services and education.

In short, the time is reached to raise voice against the gene piracy and future food control. The planet is mother earth for all. Let stop playing with nature to earn money and fattening banks. Let raise our voice against manipulating genetic makeup of flora and fauna. Gene patient is one the dangerous weapon to control the state of future food. Gene is the creature of nature and our mother earth. No way to the patent gene.

Right, the based approach is the best tool in the present political situation of the world. Every individual and living organism have the right to survival. Let’s stop depriving small-scale farmers of their right. Let them survive and keep their system continue to produce healthy and natural food.

LIFE Network has introduced the livestock keeper’s rights. Join our hands and support the rights of livestock keepers. Here is the link to details of the livestock keeper’s rights.

http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/Declaration_on_LKRs_with_initial%20signatories_6.pdf

CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES

Climate change issue is not a symbol of fashion anymore but a real beast of the modern era. Though, mostly the developed and industrialized nations are responsible but the consequences are mostly bear by the communities of poor and so called developing countries. Climate change affects the life adversely in all its spheres, like agriculture, livestock, food chain, environment and socio-cultural harmony. Climate change has been affecting social life of the vulnerable societies. The consequences of climate change are now more visible than ever in the form of droughts, flash floods, desertification and introduction of new diseases of all the living organisms.

As, indigenous and local/tribal communities are dependent on the environment and natural resources, hence they are the first prey of the climate change. This close relationship with the earth means that they are often among the first groups to suffer the consequences of climate change. The same was happened in Pakistan in the last drought of ninety’s decade. The consequences appeared in the form of social conflicts and migration, resulted in pressure on the nearby cities and towns.

There are two ways to cope with the climate change scenario, i.e. technological mitigation and adaptation. The later is the best option for developing world as the mechanical mitigation demand very high in puts and results in long run further environmental degradation.

Local/indigenous knowledge and plants & livestock varieties are the best tool to cope with the climate change beast. Local people, especially pastoralists have adapted their own ways to cope with the climate change, though not visible. The pastoralists in horn of Africa; especially afar region (more prone to frequent droughts) had replaced cattle with camel and sheep with goat. Camel is resistant to drought as survive without water and even feed for longer period than any other domestic livestock. Also camel and goat rely on bushes which survive for years of droughts. Grasses, sheep and cattle are the first lump of droughts and disappear very rapidly.

But in Pakistan (Pashtoon land), due to pressure on rangelands resources for fuel wood, especially bushes, the nomads replaced camel with donkeys and tractors. The use of donkey is increased many folds, as donkey is one of the hardies animal and need very low or even zero input.

The climate change resulted in Africa in the form of water shortage. The water sources are now far from the living areas and women fetch water from far and wide areas (fetching of water is women’s duty). Consequently young ladies were not willing to marry in villages and communities. The local old women solved this problem as giving donkey in dowry to young ladies to fetch water.

Unfortunately, the drought could not bring positive response among the agriculture farmers in many countries. The farmers are politically powerful and they converted agriculture from agroecosystems to high in put production system by using electric power and submersible technology to unearth water from the rocks very deep. They could not shift their agriculture to practice the drought resistant local varieties but adapted high yielding hybrid crops (need more water, fertilizer and pesticides, weedicides) resulting in further environmental dilemma.

Suggestions

  • Give local people, especially pastoralist/livestock keepers due recognition in policy and planning
  • The efforts/methodologies of the local people to CCA must be documented
  • Promote farmer-led adaptation to climate change
  • Invest in building the capacity of pastoralists