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Background history

Small farmers in India

Most of the small farmers in India own no more than a half a hectare to two hectares of land. In the last three decades land use has changed from subsistence farming to a system of market-based commercial agriculture. The agricultural lobbyists have pushed the farmers into using more and more chemicals – artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and more recently, bioengineered seeds. The old traditional resilient seeds were exchanged for genetically modified so-called “high yield seeds”. This meant the farmers were completely at the mercy of the arbitrary pricing policy of their suppliers. There was no way back. The genetically modified seeds have to be bought and sown anew every (more…)

2013 Report

Trip Reports

I had never doubted the truth of the newspaper reports or TV documentaries in Germany about genetically modified crops etc, although it was rather abstract for me. But to see the reality of how Monsanto has actually advanced into the most remote and poorest parts of the world in order to turn honest working farmers into chemical slaves was a shock for me.

On the surface all appears to be well with the world when you drive around the countryside in Andhra Pradesh. You can see women in brightly-coloured saris walking along the road carrying things on their head, a boy or elderly person looking after a small herd of goats, farmers having something to eat while their animals rest in the shadow of a large tree. I enjoy looking out of the car window when we’re on our way to the villages. We’re overtaking oxcarts all the time. Sometimes you can see old paintings and wood carvings. The oxen have small bells on their horns that jingle with each step. (more…)

2012 Report

Successful outcome of the first aid initiative for the victims of the microcredit institutions in India

“I organised the aid initiative prompted by a programme by “Weltspiegel” on the German television channel ARD on 30th January 2011 about the victims of the microcredit industry in Andhra Pradesh in India. Below you see a report to our sponsors.”  M. R.

Dear friends, together we have achieved something fantastic!

The aid initiative in Andhra Pradesh in India got off to a good start. Up to the middle of January donations were being paid into my account. I was able to account for it all, and the total including my share came to 4,435 €! Much much more than I had expected. Your feedback was fantastic and I received many emails expressing support and real concern for the issue.

I took my flight to India at the end of December. During most of January I was waiting for emails from the ARD correspondent, looking for someone to accompany me on my upcoming trip, comparing exchange rates, and learning about the whole subject from well-informed Indians. On 31st January I eventually set off for Warangal, alone and with a case full of money. ARD India had put me in contact with Professor K. Venkatanarayana, from the Department of Economics at the Kakatiya University, Warangal. He lives on-site with his wife and has already brought film teams and journalists together with those affected. With typical Indian hospitality, he and his wife welcomed me with open arms, and I gladly accepted their offer to stay in their home. (more…)