In with root intensification — out with gmo

by Ole A. Seifert

Ecological farming with System of Root Intensification (SRI) is by far the best method to produce record crops in agriculture, not gmo. It can provide savings of 80-90% of seeds. Two good reasons to stay away from genetically modified seeds that turns many farmers into slaves of patents by biotechnology Companies

SRI can increase yields phenomenal. To the left SRI rice, plain rice on the right. Photo: Amrik Singh.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the System of Root Intensification (SRI) was developed [2013]. The French agronomist and Jesuit priest Henry de Laulaníe developed this method in Madagascar in 1983. The method has come more and more to light, especially since it has been used with great success in many poor countries. It was like an epidemic in media about  the rice farmer in India who had a record crop on his little patch of land in 2012. It was the young rice farmer Sumant Kumar from the impoverished province of Bihar who were responsible for this crop. Four to five tons of rice per hectare was the usual — world average is 4. Not only were the grains of rice larger than usual, but the production of his one little hectar of land reached astonishing 22.4 tons! This was a new world record, far better than any GMO rice crops have ever managed. Other farmers in Bihar district which also used SRI, could enroll record crops around 17-18 tons. Worth noting is that Sumant Kumar did not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides, only natural fertilizers from the farm. Bihar is now referred to as the center of the new green grassroots revolution and the state is planning a financial injection of $ 50 million to SRI.

Media focus on Kumar’s record crop makes many think that this is a method that is only suitable for rice. Applied to the non-root vegetables, it is called System of Crop Intensification (SCI). SRI / SCI sets groundbreaking records for the crops, like wheat, finger millet, potatoes, soybeans, kidney beans, lentils, peas, mustard plants, sugar cane, yams, tomatoes, garlic, eggplant and other edible plants.

The basic principles of SRI:
– Carefully managed cultivation of sprouts
– Early transplantation of 8 to 15 days old seedlings
– Easy planting with large distance
– Early and regular weeding
– Carefully controlled water management
– Use of natural compost to the greatest possible extent

Each of these methods has been used for a long time. Together they form a powerful method. The main advantage is the increasing returns achieved by using less water and local varieties. The amount of seed is also greatly reduced – up to 80-90%. ** Neither fertilizers or pesticides are required.

“Farmers use less seeds, less water and less chemicals but they get more without having invested two more. This is revolutionary, ” said Dr. Surendra Chaurassa from Bihar’s agriculture ministry. “I did not believe it to start with, but now I think it can potentially change the way everyone retreats. I would want every state two Promote it. If we get 30-40% Increase in yields, that is more than enough to recommend it.”**

The last ten years have been published around 250 scientific articles about SRI. It is estimated that somewhere between four and five million farmers are using SRI today, with support from the authorities in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

Organic farming versus genetically modified crops (GMOs)
For years, there have been statements that organic agriculture can increase agricultural production, especially in poor countries. Although some casts doubt on the efficacy and outcomes especially in the short term by organic farming, the results show otherwise. Both in terms of the size of the crops as well as the soil. More and more agronomists and agricultural experts now believe that organic farming can not only increase production, but may be the only solution to eradicate hunger and famine ***. There is skepticism to organic farming, but one should bear in mind GMO seed producers position. They are economic giants who spend huge funds on lobbying. Much of this is reminiscent of tobacco manufacturers struggle to prove that smoking, especially passive smoking (eventually) was not dangerous, with paid researchers’ statements. When you know that Monsanto has used mercenaries from former Blackwater to infiltrate anti-GMO groups, it is reasonable to doubt that their goal is for everyone’s welfare, but rather purely economic goals and the pursuit of maximum profit *** *. Monsanto is the largest producer and market of genetically modified seeds, has a history that is worth noting, emphasizing that the people’s welfare is hardly central to their principles. According to a UN report in March 2011, organic farming has the potential to double food production in ten years.

Climate change adaptation: SRI using less water has larger root system. From Andhra Pradesh, India.

Gmo – so last millenium
Does it matter if the population gets sicker and sicker? Or is it just a wonderful gains that create more jobs, revenue and profit? Red blood cells are destroyed by genetically modified crops from seed producers, chemical and biotechnology giant Monsanto group, according to new findings. “Scientists tested levels ranging from 27 mg 270 mg over a seven day period, it was remarkably evident that the Cry toxins were hemotoxic, even at the Stop doses administered. Hemotoxins destroy red blood cells, Disrupt blood clotting and cause organ degeneration and tissue damage. “****** Another study was conducted over two years, a normal life cycle for a rat, in contrast to the normally prescribed 90 days (USA ), also showed an increase of cancers and earlier death than the control study group. This study was led by Professor of Molecular Biology, Gilles-Eric Séralini, at the University of Caen in France. The study met tremendous opposition when it came out last year. Funnily enough, the strongest opponents were also closely tied and associated with Monsanto and other GMO companies … *****

Unfortunately, there is still little that is known about the long-term effects of GMOs. Some studies indicate that GMOs can cause sterility. The precautionary principle should apply. Gateavisa warned against genetic engineering in 1989 (anniversary issue 126/1989).

The arguments for gmo is partly been to produce higher yields and reduced use of pesticides. The arguments have no validity anymore. Larger crops without the use of pesticides does not happen by gmo, but by healthy, organic cultivation. 80% of the world’s GM crops are engineered to withstand high doses of pesticides. Some mentions better flavor, texture or appearance in GMO-products. It may be true, but how healthy is a tomato that stays fresh for months? Does it digest in the body corresponding slow? Gene Technology Act regulates the use of genetically modified organisms and foods in Norway. It says that the production and use of genetically modified organisms should be performed in an ethically acceptable manner, be useful to society and should be in line with the principle of sustainable development. How to consider these criteria? What is regarded as useful for the community? Are shareholders’ profit more important than public health? Sustainable development is hardly by destroying biodiversity that will happen by the widespread use of GM seeds.



Originally published in norwegian for Gateavisa, May 23, 2013 at 6:56am. 

****) Monsanto hired mercenary Blackwater to infiltrate anti-GMO groups



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