All Nepal Peasants’ Federation and South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication jointly organized South Asia Regional workshop on Genetic Engineering from 31st July to 1st August, 2007 in Kathmandu. The main objectives of the workshop:
- Imparting Genetic Engineering (GE) information to the peasants leaders and activists on its current status.
- Sharing information on GE in South Asia with reference to Globalization in Agriculture.
- Assessing the impact of GE in Agriculture in different parts of South Asia.
- Promoting alternative model (ecological agro model) and develop common concern for its propagation.
- Networking of organizations working against GE in Agriculture in South Asia Region.
- Building alliance with the issue of GE and food sovereignty in the South Asia Region.
The workshop welcomed around 50 participants from the South Asia Region. Besides, Food Sovereignty Thematic member groups from the region, researchers from government research center of Nepal, professors from Tribhuvan University, representatives from SAAPE secretariat and Euro step participated in the workshop.
Workshop mainly focused on the Genetic Engineering in Agriculture and its unwanted socio-economic impacts on farming. The discussion focused mainly under two broad headings:
The first part dealt on introduction and overview on Genetic Engineering, its current status, worldwide situation in relation to IPRs and at the South Asia Level. Under this heading, Ramanjaneyulu of Center for Sustainable Agriculture gave presentation on “Genetic Engineering-The Science and Technology “. After his presentation, Shalini Bhutani, Regional Programme Officer of Magazine Grain presented the paper on “Intellectual Property Right and Genetic Engineering”.
As the last presenter of the day, Mr. Arun Srivastav of India shared about the “Worldwide Impact of Genetic Engineering in Agriculture”. On the second day, Dr. Nanda Bahadur Singh, Professor from Tribhuvan University, presented the paper “Genetic Engineering in Nepal: Status of Research and Development and Commercial Approvals: National Regulatory Regime”. After each presentation the floor was open for the discussion where the participants discussed freely with genuine enthusiasm and help convince all of them that the Genetic Engineering has negative impact on the socio economic status of the poor farmers.
The second aspect was countrywide situation of South Asia regarding Genetic Engineering. Under this heading, Qumar Mouddin from Lok Sanjh, Pakistan, Prodip Kumar Roy from SUPRO, Bangladesh, and Naba Raj Devkota from Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Nepal presented the situation analysis of GE in Each country. On behalf of Nepal Agricultural Research Council, Mr. Hari Bimb presented a paper on Biotechnology activity in NARC followed by floor discussions.
Towards the end of the session, Members of the South Asia Alliance gathered to frame strategy to combate Genetic Engineering in Agriculture and to promote nature-friendly agricultural technology that has been used by the farmers from the time immemorial. A common strategy was formulated which includes following main points:
- Campaigning on issues like agrarian reform, which covers all the issues like genetic engineering, cooperative, WTO out of agriculture, genuine land reforms, no privatization of common productive resources land and water, no patents on life forms, gender equality and women in agriculture, market reforms, Regenerative and Sustainable agriculture, etc.
- Organizing more workshop of similar type in different countries to share the experiences in these related issues.
- Farmers exchange and exposure visit to know the situation of each SAARC country.
- Share knowledge about the agricultural technology used by farmers.
- Start dialect with the governmental officials to get feedback, convince and interlink with them.
- Alliance building between the farmers’ forums, NGos and other organization fighting for farmers’ right.
- Organizing awareness building campaigns against GE in agriculture as it is a technical issue, having impact on peoples’ livelihood.
- Lobbying against GE in agriculture.
- Training and capacity building on issues related to Food Sovereignty.
- Research on impact of GE and neo-liberal policies.
- Promoting main agricultural technology used by farmers.
- Intervening in official SAARC in the related issues.
- Creating agricultural database.
- Organizing talk programmes with the political person, motivating them and lobbying with the political leaders from the part of farmers so that
Food Sovereignty can be assured.
- Focusing on studying SAFTA.
At the end of the day, vote of thanks was delivered by one representative from each country and workshop was finally adjourned by Prem Dangal, Secretary General, ANPFa.