March 27, 2006, The Meghalaya Guardian

Along with the rest of the world, farmers from Ri Bhoi district has opposed the proposed enactment of Seed Bill in Lok Sabha by the central government after getting a clear picture of the Bill in an awareness campaign conducted by Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) at Umsning recently.

The Society is an international organization championing for the rights of the farmers and they have been creating awareness on the ill-effects of the Seed Bill in various places.

According to CUTS representative D. Chakraborty, many farmers from the district attended the campaign where the farmers high-lighted their grievances and difficulties while “we enlighten them on the impact of the proposed Seed Bill. “Chakraborty said that the farmers told them that due to use of seeds supplied by the government, their traditional method of farming had been weaned away.

He further said that the farmers complained that the government supplied seeds that can be used just once whereas the seeds obtained through traditional method can be used twice or thrice. He added that the farmers argued that the utilization of the fertilizers leads to loss of fertility of the soil while many people complained to the farmers on the ill effect of pesticide.

On the Seed Bill, Chakraborty said that according to the provision of the bill, companies selected by the government would produce seed and from these companies only the farmers have to buy the seeds and thus such move would do away the traditional method of farming.

The draft Seeds Bill 2004 have been introduced in the Parliament.

The highlights of the proposed Seeds Act includes compulsory registration of varieties based on agronomic performance data, accreditation of ICAR Centres, State Agricultural Univrsities and Private Organizations to conduct agronomic trials, accreditation of organizations for certification, maintenance of National Register of varieties, to regulate the export and import of seeds, exemption for farmers to save, use, exchange, share, share or sell their seed without registration, accreditation of private seed testing laboratories, enhancement of penalty for major and minor infringement, inclusion of provisions to regulate GM crops and ban on terminator seed, implementation of Legislation on Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Protection.