Indien: 10 Jahre Wonne, 10 Jahre Leid

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10 Jahre Profite, 10 Jahre Armut und Tod
Das technologische Wunder der gentechnisch veränderten Baumwolle in Indien ist ausgeblieben. Im Gegenteil, ein wahres Desaster hat seit mindestens zehn Jahren eingesetzt.

2002 gestatteten die Behörden in Indien das Anpflanzen von gentechnisch verändertem Baumwollsaatgut, um gegen den Baumwollkapselwurm resistent zu sein, welcher als zerstörerischer Parasit Pflanzen angreift, wenn man nicht regelmäßig teure Schädlingsbekämpfungsmittel einsetzt. Das Wundersaatgut heißt „Bt-Baumwolle“, hergestellt von Monsanto.
Monsanto ist eine US-Firma, spezialisiert auf chemische Produkte, seit einiger Zeit insbesondere auf Biotechnologie, hauptsächlich auf die Produktion von hybridem und gentechnisch verändertem Saatgut, insbesondere um besser Insekten und Parasiten zu widerstehen.
Obwohl das Saatgut der Bt-Baumwolle bis zu zehnmal teurer ist als das klassische Saatgut, erscheint die Bt-Baumwolle sehr verführerisch: Monsanto verspricht nichts weniger als die Verdreifachung der Ernteerträge. Wenn man auf Schädlingsbekämpfungsmittel verzichten könnte, würde der hohe Anfangsaufwand schnell ausgeglichen und gar wettgemacht werden. Deshalb haben sich die indischen Bauern in große Schulden gestürzt. Innerhalb weniger Jahre wuchs Bt-Baumwolle auf 90% der Anbaufläche.
Nur einer hat nicht an das Wunder geglaubt: der Kapselwurm. Denn der hat schnell Resistenzen entwickelt, sogar so schnell, dass man sich fragt, ob er nicht eines Tages durch das von der Pflanze abgegebene Pflanzenschutzmittel befallen wurde. Und schließlich schneidet die Bt-Baumwolle nicht besser ab als andere Baumwollarten. Um gegen sinkende Ernteerträge anzukämpfen, muss man jetzt massiv Pflanzenschutzmittel einsetzen, wodurch die Bauern auf 30% höheren Kosten sitzen bleiben.
Abgesehen davon ist der Preis für das Saatgut unaufhörlich gestiegen; heute ist es hundertmal teurer als das Saatgut für die klassische Baumwolle. Dabei muss noch berücksichtigt werden, dass diese hübsche Pflanze wie jede andere gentechnisch veränderte Pflanze steril ist und man deshalb jedes Jahr neues Saatgut kaufen muss.
Verschweigen darf man auch nicht, dass diese Perle der Natur Wasser und Nährstoffe mehr liebt als normale Baumwolle. Die Böden werden ausgelaugt, veröden; um die Ernteerträge aufrecht zu erhalten, müssen große Menge Kunstdünger und künstliche Bewässerung eingesetzt werden; all das ist sehr kostspielig, es herrscht Wassermangel…
2009 war zum Beispiel eines der trockensten Jahre, der Monsunregen war seit 37 Jahren nicht mehr so schwach. Die Ernteerträge waren wegen Wassermangel stark rückläufig.
Ohne Zweifel war die Bt-Baumwolle für Monsanto ein Verkaufserfolg. Aber technisch handelt es sich um ein völliges Fiasko. Menschlich bedeutet das Produkt ein wahres Drama. Seit 1991 sind ca. 20 Millionen Bauern vom Land in die Stadt gezogen, wo sie in den Slums der Großstädte gelandet sind. Aber diese Zahlen sagen noch nicht viel aus im Vergleich zu der unglaublichen Anzahl von Selbstmorden auf dem Lande in den Baumwollanbaugebieten. Man schätzt, dass ca. 150.000 Bauern ihrem Leben ein Ende gesetzt haben, einige sprechen von mehr als 200.000 seit den letzten 15 Jahren. 2009 brachten sich kollektiv 1500 Bauern um, 1500 Bauern, die keinen Ausweg mehr sahen aus ihrer Misere und keine Kraft mehr besaßen um zu kämpfen – stattdessen beschlossen sie den kollektiven Selbstmord.
Nachdem man eine Zeitlang versucht hatte, den indischen Bauern die Verantwortung in die Schuhe zu schieben, die das Erzeugnis von Monsanto schlecht eingesetzt hätten, hat Monsanto mittlerweile eingestanden, dass das Saatgut ineffizient ist. All das ändert nichts am Schicksal der Toten oder derjenigen, die mittlerweile im Dreck der Slums leben und derjenigen, die noch heute versuchen zu überleben, indem sie sich bis über den Kopf verschulden, um ertragsstärkeres Saatgut zu kaufen.
Diese Geschichte ist ekelerregend; widerwärtig; leider ist sie nur ein Beispiel einer endlosen Reihe anderer Beispiele, die aufzeigen, dass der Kapitalismus sich nicht um Menschenleben kümmert, dass ihm der Schutz und die Entwicklung unserer Ressourcen nichts wert ist.
Die Bt-Baumwolle ist ein schlagendes Beispiel dafür, wie der Kapitalismus in die Natur eingreift, mit dem Ziel, höhere Profite zu erzielen. Es liegt auf der Hand, dass dieses Saatgut in Umlauf gebracht wurde, ohne auseichende Garantien hinsichtlich der Effizienz der Schädlingsabwehr aller möglichen Parasiten zu haben, die diese Pflanzen befallen können. Es ging Monsanto vor allem darum, sein Produkt zu verkaufen, das Versprechen höherer Ernteerträge war das dazugehörige Lockmittel.
Das menschliche Elend, die Schäden an der Natur untergraben wohl die Zukunft des Produktes; aber was durch seinen Verkauf eingenommen wurde, bleibt in den Kassen. Es handelt sich um die Logik eines Systems, das keine langfristigen Planungen und Aspekte berücksichtigt, stattdessen für immer mehr Zerstörung verantwortlich ist und unser Leben immer mehr bedroht. Nicht nur Monsanto müsste der Prozess gemacht werden, sondern dem ganzen Kapitalismus; er ist der wirklich Schuldige.

1st Encounter of Agroecology Trainers in
Africa Region 1 of La Via Campesina

12-20 June 2011

Shashe Declaration

We are 47 people from 22 organizations in 18 countries (Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Angola, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Central African Republic, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Portugal, USA, France, and Germany).  We are farmers and staff representing member organizations of La Via Campesina, along with allies from other farmer organizations and networks, NGOs, academics, researchers, interpreters and others.

We have been meeting at the Shashe Endogenous Development Training Centre in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe to plan how to promote agroecology in our Region (Southern, Eastern & Central Africa). Here we have been privileged to witness firsthand the successful combination of agrarian reform with organic farming and agroecology carried out by local small holder farming families.  In what were once large cattle ranches owned by three large farmers who owned 800 head of cattle and produced no grain or anything else, there are now more than 365 small holder peasant farming families with more than 3,400 head of cattle, who also produce a yearly average of 1 to 2 tonnes of grain per family plus vegetables and other products, in many cases using agroecological methods and local peasant seeds.  This experience strengthens our commitment to and belief in agroecology and agrarian reform as fundamental pillars in the construction of Food Sovereignty.

Threats and Challenges to Small Holder Agriculture and Food Sovereignty

Our region of Africa is currently facing challenges and threats that together undermine the food security and well-being of our communities, displace small holder farmers and undercut their livelihoods, undermine our collective ability to feed our nations, and cause grave damage to the soil, the environment and the Mother Earth.

These include local and regional manifestations of the global food price crisis and the climate crisis that have been produced by runaway neoliberal policies and the greed and profit-taking of Transnational Corporations (TNCs).   Cheap subsidized food imports brought by TNCs, made possible by misguided free trade agreements, lowers the prices we receive for our farm products, forcing families to abandon farming and migrate to cities, while undermining local and national food production. Foreign investors, invited in by some of our governments, grab the best farm land, displacing food producing local farmers, and redirecting that land toward environmentally devastating mining, agrofuel plantations that feed cars instead of people, and other export plantations that do nothing to build Food Sovereignty for our peoples, and only enrich a few.

At the same time, uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from Developed Countries and from the global corporate food system based on long distance transport and industrial agriculture are changing the climate in ways that directly affect farmers.  Our lands become more arid, with water ever more scarce, we face rising temperatures, and increased extreme weather conditions like severe storms, floods and droughts.  The dates of the rainy season have become completely unpredictable, so that nobody knows when to plant anymore.  The changing climate is also implicated in epidemics of communicable diseases of humans, crops and livestock.  All of this hurts farming families and affects food production.

We face TNCs who want to force GMO seeds into our countries, whether or not we currently have GMO bans, and agencies like the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) who conspire with TNCs like Cargill and Monsanto and with our governments to buy off national research and seed systems in order to sell GMO seeds. These seeds threaten the integrity of our local varieties and the health of our consumers.  The same companies even manipulate regional farmer organizations to push GMOs, and we call on such organizations to resist being used in such ways.

While our soils, agroecosytems and forests are ever more degraded by industrial agriculture and plantations, and local seed biodiversity is lost, the costs of production under the conventional “Green Revolution” model are more expensive and out of the reach of small holder farmers.  The price of chemical fertilizer on the world market, for example, has risen more than 300% in the last few years.

Faced with this bleak situation for small holder agriculture and Food Sovereignty in our region, as members of organizations belonging to La Via Campesina we take the following positions:

Positions of La Via Campesina in Africa Region 1

We believe that…

Agroecological farming as practiced by small holder farmers, and Food Sovereignty policies, offer the only reasonable and feasible solutions to these multiple challenges facing our Region.

Only agroecological methods (also called sustainable agriculture, organic farming, ecological agriculture, etc.) can restore soils and agroecosystems that have been degraded by industrial agriculture.  Even chemicals do not work after severe degradation, but with agroecology we can restore soil organic matter and fertility, along with functional agroecosystem processes and services like nutrient recycling, soil biology, natural pest control, etc.  We have seen that small holder agroecological systems have much greater total productivity than industrial monocultures, with little or no purchased inputs, reducing the dependency and increasing the autonomy and well-being of rural families while producing abundant and healthy food for our peoples. Global research by La Via Campesina demonstrates that Sustainable Peasant Agriculture Can Feed the World, based on endogenous knowledge and agroecology.

The global food system currently generates between 44 and 57% of global greenhouse gas emissions, almost all of which could be eliminated by transforming the food system based on the principles of agroecology, agrarian reform and Food Sovereignty.  Sustainable Peasant Agriculture Cools the Planet, and this is our best solution to climate change.

In order to adapt to a changing climate we need the greater resiliency of diversified agroecological systems (and water conservation and harvesting, watershed management, agroforestry, ground cover, etc.) and the genetic diversity of local peasant seeds and peasant seed systems.  We demand that our governments withdraw support from the corporate seed industry with it’s standardized and often genetically modified seeds, and instead support peasant seed systems based on recovering, saving, multiplying, storing, breeding and exchanging seeds at the local level.

Our national education and research systems are heavily biased toward the very industrial agriculture practices that are killing our planet and contributing to the failure of Africans to feed ourselves.  We demand the reorientation of research toward farmer-led methods and agroecology, and the transformation of curricula at primary and secondary schools levels, and in higher education, to focus on agroecology.

We call for an end to trade liberalization and the renewed protection of domestic markets so that African farmers can receive the fair prices that will enable us to boost production and feed our peoples.

We call on governments to create comprehensive programs to support agroecological farming by small holders and to rebuild Food Sovereignty, including genuine agrarian reform and the defense of peasant lands from land grabbing, the reorientation of government food procurement from agribusiness toward purchasing ecological food at fair prices from small holders to supply schools, hospitals, institutional cafeterias, etc., as a way to support farmers and to provide healthy food to children, sick people and government employees, and programs of production credit for small holders engaged in ecological farming instead of subsidies tied to chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

At the COP-16 in Cancun, Mexico, the governments of the world (except Bolivia) met to conduct business with TNCs who traffic in false solutions to climate changes like agrofuels, GMOs, carbon markets, REDD+, etc., instead of meeting to seriously and effectively reverse global warming through real emission reductions by Developed Countries and the transformation of our global food, energy and transport systems.  We demand that our governments behave more responsibly at COP-17 in Durban, South Africa, refusing to sign agreements imposed by the North and by TNCs, instead supporting the Cochabamba Principles on the Climate and the Rights of the Mother Earth.

Commitments of La Via Campesina

While we demand that our governments act in all the ways mentioned above, and will turn up the pressure on them to do so, we will not wait for them.  Instead we pledge to continue to build agroecology and Food Sovereignty from below.  We pledge to take the following practical steps:

We will build organizational structures in La Via Campesina at the regional level to support our national member organizations in their work to promote agroecology among their member families.  This includes regional training programs, exchange visits, the production and sharing of educational materials, and the identification and documentation of successful cases in the region so that all can learn the lessons they offer. Among the structures we will build is a network of agroecology trainers and practitioners in La Via Campesina in our Region.

We will promote the creation of agroecology training programs and schools in our organizations, and farmer-to-farmer and community-to-community agroecology promotion programs.

Through our own organizations we will promote the creation and strengthening of local peasant seed systems.

We will document the experience in Zimbabwe of agrarian reform and organic farming by beneficiary families, as successful steps toward Food Sovereignty that we who are in other countries can learn from.

We will work to “keep carbon in the ground and in trees” in the areas under our control, by promoting agroforestry, tree planting, agroecology, energy conservation, and by fighting land grabs for mining and industrial plantations.

We will engage and pressure governments at all levels (local, traditional provincial, national and regional) to adopt Public Policies that favor agroecology and Food Sovereignty.

We will build a powerful small holder farmer and peasant voice to be present with other sectors of civil society at COP-17 in Durban, and at Rio +20 in Brazil, with the message that we oppose false solutions to climate change and demand the adoption of the Cochabamba Principles.  We will insist on Small Holder Sustainable Agriculture and Food Sovereignty as the most important true solutions to climate change.

Africans! We Can Feed Ourselves with Agroecology and Food Sovereignty!

Sustainable Agriculture by Small Holder Farmers Cools the Planet!

No to the Corporate Food System, GMOs and Land Grabbing!

Yes to Agrarian Reform and an Agroecological Food System!

Globalize Struggle!  Globalize Hope!

Masvingo District, Zimbabwe, 20 June 2011


La Via Campesina
Via Campesina is an international movement of peasants, small- and medium-sized producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers. We are an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent of any political, economic, or other type of affiliation. Born in 1993, La Via Campesina now gathers about 150 organisations in 70 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

International Operational Secretariat:
Jln. Mampang Prapatan XIV no 5 Jakarta Selatan 12790, Indonesia
Tel/fax: +62-21-7991890/+62-21-7993426
Email: viacampesina@viacampesina.org