Genetics in SWISSAID countries

Genetics in SWISSAID countries

Genetically modified cotton in India

Many farming families in India found they had taken the wrong track when they grew genetically modified cotton, and suffered financial losses into the bargain. The promises of seed companies such as Mahyco-Monsanto turned out to be hollow; the harvest was no better than with conventional agriculture, nor was less pesticide required, as had been promised. This is confirmed by case studies by YUVA, our partner organisation in the state of Maharashtra, and the Deccan Development Society in Andhra Pradesh, which followed the experiences of cotton farmers for three years.

Genetically contaminated seed in Colombia

In Colombia, a territory on the Atlantic coast administered by the Zenúe indigenous group has been declared a genetic modification-free zone. Genetic modification is causing very real problems for the Zenúe, as genetically modified cotton has been grown commercially in a neighbouring region since 2003, and GM corn has been approved for cultivation since 2007. Agricultural labourers are hired from the surrounding regions, including the Zenúe area. These labourers often bring seed home in order to experiment with the new, much talked about, species. Transgenic seed is quickly distributed and crosses with existing species, including traditional species. This is particularly problematic in the case of corn, as it is one of the most important basic foods in Colombia and essential to the survival of the farmers who live there, both for production and for their own use.