Praise Of Cowdung
By Vandana Shiva
dung is worshipped because it is the source of renewal of soil fertility and
hence the sustainability of human society.
The cow has been made sacred in
Monsanto and biotech industry spokesmen parading as "farmers"
presented me with cow dung at the WSSD in
small farmers convergence at the W.S.S.D. with farmers
seeds and chemicals are a threat to farmers survival,
a threat to consumer health and a threat to the environment. Farmers in
claims of Monsanto and its apologists like Swaminathan
Iyer (who called me a "Green Killer" in the
Times of India on 22nd Sept 2002, because I practise
and promote organic farming) that GM can feed the world is totally false.
Monsanto's Bt cotton has failed across
In Rajasthan, the hybrid corn which Monsanto claims will give 20 -- 50 quintals per acre is giving 1.5 to 1.7 quintals per acre while demanding intensive water and chemical use, aggravating the draught and famine.
The pseudo scientific claims of irresponsible biotech corporations like Monsanto are killing our farmers, our agriculture, our biodiversity.
agriculture is increasing farm productivity by 2 to 3 times, increasing farmers incomes, and protecting public health and the
environment. That is why the Time Magazine identified Navdanya
as a pioneer for the new century and stated that "In
Monsanto and its lobbyists profit by selling and promoting poisonous, toxic seeds and corporate control. Movements like Navdanya celebrate biodiversity, farmers freedom and cow dung. The corporations and corporate spokespeople are getting desperate because people are seeing through their lies and deceptions. With organic farming growing worldwide, and the failures and non-sustainability of genetic engineering and chemical engineering becoming evident, the chemical corporate lobby is getting desperate. I view their personal assaults on me as a symptom of the desperation caused by the failure of non-sustainable industrial, corporate agriculture in removing hunger or improving farmers livelihoods. Sustainable systems are growing because they offer real solutions to the hunger and poverty crisis. And cow dung, biomass and biodiversity are at the heart of sustainability and the non-violent organic alternative to genetic engineering and chemicals.
the cow has been central to Indian civilization. Both materially an conceptually the world of Indian agriculture has built
its sustainability on maintaining the integrity of the cow, considering her
inviolable and sacred, seeing her as the mother of the prosperity of food
systems. The integration of livestock with farming has been the secret of
sustainable agriculture. Livestock perform a critical function in the food
chain by converting organic matter into a form that can be easily used by
plants. According to K.M. Munshi,
century ago, Sir Alfred Howard, the father of modern sustainable farming wrote
in his classic, An Agricultural Testament, that, 'In the agriculture of Asia we
find ourselves confronted with a system of peasant farming which, in the
essentials, soon became stabilized. What is happening today in the small fields of
identified the principles of sustainable agriculture as those of renewability as seen in the primeval forest. The agricultural
Testament is a record of practices that had maintained the soil fertility of
is why we organize the Howard Memorial Lectures on 2nd October as a remembrance
Biodiversity conservation and organic agriculture is increasing food output by 200-300%. Biodiversity intensification rather than chemical intensification is the way forward for Indian agriculture. Organic farming is necessary to increase food production and strengthen food security, conserve natural resources -- soil, water, biodiversity, improve farmers incomes and well being, protect rural livelihoods, prevent indebtedness, and stop debt linked farm suicides. It creates freedom from debt, domination and disease.
Corporations are creating poverty by diverting the hard earned income of peasants and farmers to the seed/pesticide industry. The new seeds besides being costly are also ecologically vulnerable to pests and diseases leading to more crop failures and higher use of chemicals. These are killer technologies which are undesirable and unnecessary.
The corporate hijack of agriculture is based on pseudo science and false claims. The violent technologies of genetic engineering and toxic pesticides, and the dishonest, deceitful promotion of these poverty creating capital intensive and non-sustainable technologies is leading to the death of our farmers and the destruction of our ecological security and food security. These are primitive, crude and obsolete technologies that are efficient in destruction, not production.
The agriculture technologies of the future have to work for people, not corporations, they have to work with nature, not against nature. If farmers and farming have to have a future, it has to be organic. Neither the planet nor the poor can afford the waste, inefficiency, deceit, pollution and violence of chemicals and genetic engineering.