Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pensiamento Fantastico: The Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply

Vandana Shiva, the world-renowned activist and ecofeminist writer is an award-winning writer on issues related to women’s rights,. globalisation and the environment. She has written several books such as Making Peace With The Earth, Biopiracy: The Plunder Of Nature and Knowledge, Monocultures of the Mind, Staying Alive, Water Wars, Patents: Myths and Reality and The Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply. 

In her book, The Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply (2000), she describes the impact of globalised corporate agriculture on the small scale industries, farmers and the quality of food that we consume. In her enlightening book on some of the trends in food supply, she throws light on many of the problems faced by the common people in India such as stealing of the food produced in the country. 

Some of the issues discussed in the book are genetically engineered seeds, the controversy on cattle meat, the unethical ways of shrimp farming and commercial agriculture. She points out that the widespread conversion of land for food crops  into land for commercial crops has managed to wreck nature and also people who are dependent on these food crops. Though there is an increase in revenue, it is counterbalanced by a large-scale and long term damage to the ecosystems and their capacity to conserve soil and water. This kind of economic growth deprives forest communities of their sources of food, fodder, fuel. fibre, medicine and security from floods and drought. 

Vandana Shiva condemns WTO’s Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement that makes indigenous seed-saving and seed-sharing a crime. She founded Navdanya, an NGO that promotes biological diversity and organic farming after learning more about the ways in which genetic engineering and patenting was destroying the local varieties of food. This organisation has thousands of members and several seedbanks across the country to conserve biodiversity, practise chemical-free agriculture and to save seeds. 

The most important issue that she deals with in her book is about her struggle to fight the multinational edible oil companies and their plan to completely replace the traditional edible oils The Oils produced in the local mills were replaced by cheap imported oils resulting in the destruction of the livelihoods of the local people. 

One central theme in The Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply is the need to have food that is free from genetically engineering and addition of chemicals through fertilizers. She emphasizes how it is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that the food we eat is safe, accessible and culturally appropriate and at the same time not at the cost of robbing the livelihoods of people dependent on traditional modes of food production. 
This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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