Occupy Gene Banks and Ensure Livelihood and Biodiversity


The state of the world is very critical and the time is reached to stand and ask for change. Millions of dollars are spending on wars and much more goes in the oven of bankruptcy. Industrialization/privatization is the third sword hanging on the head of humanity. This entire situation created an evil triangle which resulted in poverty, malnutrition, hunger, jobs losses, wars, and many other consequences. This evil triangle is now going a step forward to future food control. To do this, a complex state of the situation is created in the form of stealing genes (biopiracy), patents for genes, so-called gene banks, GMO, BT, and promotion & backing for the promotion of industrialized breeds.

The situation is even more than nastiest. Local verities of seed, capable of combating climate change and resist droughts are pushed towards extinct with the evil mind of money hungry industrialized seed multinational companies. BT cotton is causing havoc losses to local biodiversity and now the weed control is near to impossible. Such act as backing and promotion of exotic verities pushed small holders at stake and hunger increased manifold beside the so-called green revolution. The green revolution no doubt increased food production but at the cost of human health, environment, and biodiversity. Blind use of fertilizers, pesticides, weedicides, antibiotics, artificial colors and synthetic hormones created a situation of complex human health and many more new diseases introduced. Actually, green revolution was meant to destroy the resilience of local communities to climate change and drought which ultimately depend on the multinationals. This phenomenon resulted in giving food control in the hand of multinational.

If we talk about livestock biodiversity, the situation is very fragile and millions of smallholders are deprived of their precious indigenous livestock breeds and pushed in the hell of poverty and hunger. Millions of small livestock keepers, especially pastoralists in the South (underdeveloped part of the world, especially dry lands) depend on indigenous livestock breeds for their survival. Also, these small farmers and pastoralists are the custodian of precious livestock biodiversity in their habitats and ecosystems. Their livestock breeds depend on very marginal lands for grazing which has no other use. Livestock production systems of such farmers need very low or even zero inputs, therefore, their share in climate change is very limited. The keepers of the breeds continuously evolve their breeds with the help of their indigenous knowledge in tune with environmental changes and consumer demands.

The Southern hemisphere of the planet earth is the cradle of animal domestication and almost all the livestock species for food and agriculture traveled from South to North. During the last 100 years, gene flows from South to North have been dwarfed by flows in the opposite direction, from North to South. Large numbers of animals, semen, embryos and eggs are shipped to developing countries, and Northern breeds (particularly of pigs, poultry, and dairy cattle) have become firmly established in various countries. This development led to the erosion of livestock biodiversity in the South.

The influx of high performing genotypes into existing breeds has always been an important component in developing and improving breeds. In the history of all species investigated, gene flow has contributed significantly to diversity. In population genetics, migration is an important source of genetic variability. But the international exchange of genetic material (North to South) from a decreasing number of sires (bulls) increasingly loses genetic variation with global impacts for developed and developing countries.

This flow of gene (breeds) is very unnatural and has environmental consequences. Such breeds need very high inputs of energy in the form of acclimatizing housing and feeding high energy and protein levels. Also, according to a study, naturally the flora and fauna species travel from south to north to cope with the climate change. In this context, this is an opportunity for southern breeds to flow towards the north and that is very natural. Hence supporting gene flow from north to south is very stupid and wasting the money of the western taxpayer in the form of subsidies to the breeders of the North.

The northern governments subsidize livestock exports by their banking system, while the South has furthered the import of exotic genetic materials, for example by offering livestock keepers credit, services, and subsidized feed. Southern governments tend to favor livestock industrialization at the expense of smallholder producers. International agreements regulating agricultural trade are likely to enhance the intensification of livestock production and increase gene flows to the South.

North breeds not only alter the breed diversity of the South but promotes a new culture of agricultural intensification and industrialization, leads to benefit the industries of developed countries. Such system is always dependent on foreign aids. The cash amount of aid usually goes in the pocket of corrupt officials and politicians and again transfers to the western banks. This is an evil cycle of money to exploit the small stockers of the south and narrow the diversity of the breeds.

Failure of this system

  • Breeds are neither suited for the new environment nor fits with the goals and strategies of the producers.
  • Northern breeds are already very narrow within-breed diversity and very prone to the pest and diseases of the new environment.
  • Such production systems need institutional and technical support to its producers which the developing countries seldom provide.
  • Breeding decisions are increasingly taken out of the hands of farmers and herders. While relatively few Southern breeds have so far disappeared.
  • They have been selected for high yields and require standardized conditions and high inputs to exploit their genetic potential.
  • Exotic livestock breeds, especially poultry, and pig are in competition with the human population for food resources as they depend on the grains.
  • According to data collected by the FAO, 18 % of the 740 farm animal breeds that were recorded as extinct were bred from the South
  • However, among the breeds at risk, including the status endangered and critical, 60% are from the South and this proportion is expected to increase.
  • However, if the risk factors “change of husbandry”, “expansion of large-scale intensive livestock production” or “people giving up herding or farming” are taken into account, then the South could become the hotspot of breed loss of the 21st century.
  • Southern governments need to recognize their contribution to breed development and secure their access to grazing and water, services and education.

In short, the time is reached to raise voice against the gene piracy and future food control. The planet is mother earth for all. Let stop playing with nature to earn money and fattening banks. Let raise our voice against manipulating genetic makeup of flora and fauna. Gene patient is one the dangerous weapon to control the state of future food. Gene is the creature of nature and our mother earth. No way to the patent gene.

Right, based approach is the best tool in the present political situation of the world. Every individual and living organism have the right to survival. Let’s stop depriving small scale farmers of their right. Let them survive and keep their system continue to produce healthy and natural food.

LIFE Network has introduced the livestock keeper’s rights. Join our hands and support the rights of livestock keepers. Here is the link to details of the livestock keeper’s rights.

http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/Declaration_on_LKRs_with_initial%20signatories_6.pdf

3 thoughts on “Occupy Gene Banks and Ensure Livelihood and Biodiversity

  1. It gives me a deep sense of profound pleasure while going through a wonderful piece of document composed by Dr. Abdul Raaziq, which not only serves as a ‘wake up call’ for all the concerned ones but equally provides some significant insight into the comprehension of the issues like ‘gene piracy’ and ‘food crisis’. The august readers and the esteemed writer would bear me out here that a common man, or more importantly a small scaled farmer or herder of live stock in a poor country like ours, is almost non-conversant with the A, B, Cs of such alarming but dormant issues, which, otherwise, do bear multifaceted adverse implications on their future chances of livelihood. In the name of ‘green revolution’ or ‘food diversity’, the multinational companies, in pursuit of their untiring efforts to earn more and more money, have played havoc to a phenomenal level not only to our indigenous flora & fauna but to the entire ecosystem of our mother planet earth. As a matter of fact, with their interventions, we have seen in most of the instances, that quantity of the stuff has increased many folds but at the cost of quality, taste, palatability etc etc. furthermore, their so called innovative moves have also resulted in appearance of some intricated medical problems, which are equally posing great medical challenges to cope with. I think there is dire need of mass awareness in this regard at all a level of the society. As a matter of fact, it is the ignorance coupled with sheer poverty which has kept our masses in darkness from the ill-designed nasty policies of the money hungers around the world in the guise of multinationals. They have been persistently draining out our precious resources in the name of development and piloting us to an uncertain future and a present marked by hunger, unrest, and turbulence. Such monsters are in fact civilized blood suckers, killing us so softly. Let’s be mindful of all their ill designs and not fall prey to any lure or lust and ensure that all God gifted treasures of the planet mother earth are utilized in a just & befitting manner for the progress and prosperity of mankind.

    • Thanks for your comprehensive comments. Gene piracy and future food control move of multinationals are the major threat to climate change vulnerable societies like us. Likewise, you can see an article on Aljzeera website (01/11/2011) about the eggplant gene piracy by Monsanto in India. The link of Aljazeera’s article is available at my blog.
      I wish and hope for further feedback from your side.

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