Farmer unions write to GEAC Chair demanding strict action on illegal GM crop cultivation

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From: GM Free India <>
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2019 at 14:22
Subject: Letter from Farmer Unions Across India – Strict action demanded on illegal GM crop cultivation in India
To: <>
Cc: <>, <>


To:                                                                                                                                                                                                   13th July 2019 (sent on 22nd July 2019)

Shri A K Jain,

Additional Secretary &

Chairperson, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee,

Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change,

Government of India.


Dear Sir,

Sub: Strict action demanded on illegal GM crop cultivation in India – reg.


This is to express our serious concerns with regard to various instances of illegal GM crop cultivation happening in India, as well as the threat of new gene technologies being deployed without rigorous regulation.

  1. In India, so far, four instances of illegal GM crop cultivation have happened (of Bt cotton, HT cotton, HT soybean and Bt brinjal) with formal complaints brought to the notice of GEAC. It is being heard, in an unconfirmed fashion so far, that other illegal GM crops are also being cultivated. This showcases regulatory lacunae that prevent GEAC from fulfilling its very mandate, and therefore, such events are recurring again and again. This can be prevented effectively only if event developers are made liable for any illegal GM seed cultivation, rather than cracking down on farmers – after all, no GMO is supposed to go out of trials and testing plots if all biosafety norms are conformed to.


  1. We would also like to communicate to the GEAC and the Government of India, which we had done in numerous ways in the past also including resisting through direct action, that a vast majority of farmer unions of India like ours, representing lakhs of farmers, are opposed to transgenic technology being deployed in our food and farming systems. This is based on numerous scientific and sound reasons, including the fact that real solutions for our farmers and their crisis lie elsewhere, and not in transgenics. For reasons best known to the promoters, a hype is being created that Bt technology has proven to be a great success in cotton and that farmers are demanding it, whereas even official data from government sources is proof for the real situation, including high levels of pesticide and fertiliser usage. GM technology is a dangerous, unnecessary and costly distraction from real solutions that farmers want and need. Government of India or GEAC should not come to believe that farmers in the country want GMOs just because a couple of fringe groups are campaigning for it with support from some biotech proponents/industry/media channels, or because unscrupulous traders are exploiting farmers’ distress through illegal seed supply networks.


  1. We urge GEAC as the apex regulatory body, to take strong deterrent action against those who are misleading farmers, and against the illegal seed production and supply networks. Given that hybrid cotton seed production pockets are limited in India, that checking in ginning factories post-harvest is also possible and similarly in seed processing plants, it is easy enough to crack down on the illegal seed supply system of HT cotton. Similarly, banning glyphosate will go a long way in curbing the spread of illegal HT cotton. We also urge GEAC to work closely with state governments to make sure that regulation is implemented properly.
  1. We also demand that new gene technologies like genome editing have to be brought under the purview of rigorous regulation and the current de-regulated situation is very worrisome.

We believe that the regulators are indeed aware that their actions should not be determined by such campaigns, but to be led by the EPA 1989 mandate of protecting citizens and environment from risks of modern biotechnology. We urge you to ensure that the mandate is indeed fulfilled. Thank you.



  1. Naresh Sirohi – BJP Kisan Morcha
  2. Chamarasa Malipatil – Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS)
  3. Ombir Singh – Agragami Kisan Sabha
  4. Yudhvir Singh – BKU / AICCFM (All India Coordination Committee for Farmers’ Movements)
  5. Rakesh Tikait – Bhartiya Kisan Union National
  6. Badri Narayan Chaudhury – General Secretary, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS)
  7. Pradip Singh Thakur – General Secretary, All India Krantikari Kisan Sanghatan (AIKKS)
  8. Ashwani Mahajan – Swadeshi Jagran Manch

Endorsements received after 13th July 2019

9. Prakash Pohare – Kisan Brigade, Maharashtra

  1. Uttam Gayen – Paschim Banga Khet Majdoor Samity, West Bengal
  2. Dr. Sunilam – Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Madhya Pradesh
  3. Avik Saha – Jai Kisan Andolan
  4. Subhash Naskar – All India Samyukta Kisan Sabha
  5. K. Sella Mutthu – Tamizhaga Vyavasayigal Sangam, Tamil Nadu
  6. Rajariga – Tamil Nadu Women Farmers Association, Tamil Nadu
  7. Nallagounder – Uzhavar Ulaippalar Katchi, Tamil Nadu
  8. Harinder Lakhowal – Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Punjab
  9. Rajbeer Singh Jadaun – Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Uttar Pradesh
  10. Rattan Mann – Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Haryana
  11. Jagdish Singh – Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Madhya Pradesh
  12. Virendra Kumar Shrivastava – Laghu Simant Krishak Morcha, Uttar Pradesh
  13. Sagar Rabari – Khedut Ekta Manch, Gujarat
  14. Jogender Singh Ugrahan – BKU Ekta Ugraha, Punjab
  15. Dhan Singh Sherawat – Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Maharashtra
  16. Vidyadhar Olkha – Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Rajasthan
  17. Sukhdev Singh Gill – Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Himachal Pradesh
  18. Sanjay Chaudhary – Bhartiya Kissan Union (BKU), Uttrakhand
  19. S. Kannaiyan – South India Coordination Committee of Farmers Movement (SICCFM)

Copy to: Shri Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India.

Signed copy of letter available here:


Coalition for a GM-free India 

Website:, email :,  Facebook page – GM Watch India


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