Friday, February 26, 2010

It's a struggle to maintain the health of the soil, of farmers, of customers and the environment by avoiding chemicals in cotton, and of course in food crops. The harmful effects of chemicals were only understood after their use became widespread, and the warnings of early whistle-blowers like Rachel Carson [author of Silent Spring] were by and large brushed aside. Now we seem to be ready to accept and propagate Genetic Modification which could be even more dangerous than chemical use. Yesterday we heard the depressing news from our friend Dr G V Ramanjaneyulu of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture that much of the organic cotton in the country has been contaminated by BT cotton, and that as a result some cotton growing regions of the country and some certifying agencies have been blacklisted by international certifying agencies.

This just goes to show that once the genie of GM is let out of the bottle it is impossible to contain, and who knows what the long-term effects will be?

In the malkha process, we are gradually working our way towards using cotton that is neither GM nor a product of chemical intensive agriculture. Rather than have an outside agency certifying the cotton we use we would prefer to create if possible chains of transparency between cotton growers, textile producers and cloth users through regular communication.

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