Bangladesh must ensure food and nutrition for the people and prevent an alarming increase in non-communicable diseases caused by tobacco consumption and production. In order to achieve that goal, reclaiming all lands occupied by tobacco and immediately shifting to food production and agroecological restoration of damaged landscapes is a priority. As a fertile riverine delta with biodiverse agrarian systems with rich indigenous knowledge of food production, it makes no sense to allow tobacco companies to abuse Bangladesh’s fertile soils for a crop that hardly benefits economically, rather costs ha (Read More)
Context of maternal health
Reduction of maternal mortality rate is one of the most important health goals of the government of Bangladesh. The present rate of maternal mortality is 194 per 100,000 live births showing that Bangladesh could not achieve the MDG target of 143 per 100,000 live births by 2015. However, the decline in MMR from 322 in 2001 to 194 in 2010, a 40 percent decline in nine years was significant achievement. Now the new goals are set for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The 17 new SDGs, also known as Global Goals, the target is to reduce the global maternal (Read More)
The Monsanto Tribunal is an international civil society initiative to hold Monsanto accountable for human rights violations, for crimes against humanity, and for ecocide. Eminent judges heard testimonies from victims, and delivered a legal opinion following procedures of the International Court of Justice. A distinct and parallel event, the People's Assembly, was a gathering of social movements from all over the world that exchanged ideas and planned for the future we want. The Tribunal and People's Assembly took place between 14 and 16 October 2016 in The Hague, Netherlands. On Tuesday April 18th 2017, the judges publicly presented their (Read More)
Deb Carstoiu, Managing Director of plant biotech communications at CropLife International wrote a report on Bt Brinjal farmer Anisur Rahman Sheikh in a northern district of Bangladesh. According to Carstoiu, ‘Rahman Sheikh recently planted biotech eggplant for the first time. The biotech variety (Bt eggplant) repels or kills the fruit and shoot borer, and Rahman Sheikh is confident that it will make a difference for him and his family’. (see Deb Carstoui's 'PPPs: Planting the seeds of (Read More)
A snapshot of Newshour Extra Talkshow (ATN News) broadcasted on February 4, 2017.
WHAT is the role of the ministry of environment and forestry in giving approval to a government project? I wanted to ask the very question to the minister directly in a TV show in which he featured recently. I couldn’t get through. So here I am asking the question for his kind attention.
The Newshour Extra Talk show of ATN News on the night of February 4, 2017 invited the honourable minister, Anwar Hossain Manju, ministry of environment and forestry. The talk show is featured sadharaner janya prashna (questions for the public) as ekai eksh (Read More)
After repeated failure of Bt Brinjal another food crop, very common vegetable Potato is genetically modified and waiting for approval for field cultivation. This is Blight Resistant Potato (RB Potato). This is a matter of concern as Bangladesh is being used for easy introduction of GM crops for its weak regulatory authority.
Failure of field cultivation of Bt brinjal, the so-called first GM crop in Bangladesh, did not stop Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) from abusing the authority and resources of a public institution.
Without clarifying the criticisms ag (Read More)
Bt Brinjal affected by aphid
Brinjal is the most important vegetable in Bangladesh, a common crtop farmers grow for family consumption as well as for the market. Nationally it is grown in about 50,000 hectares of land in two major seasons: winter and summer. However there are varieties that can be grown round the year. However seasonal varieties are culturally preferred. Indigenous nutrinional knowledge claims that those fruits and vegetables are best for health if they go by seasons.
Bangladesh is a country of wide range of varieties of brinjals. Despi (Read More)
Consumers have the right to know what they are buying
The field cultivation of genetically modified brinjal (also known as Bt Brinjal) was conditional. In October 2013, the National Committee on Biosafety (NCB) imposed seven conditions to be followed in field cultivation. One of these conditions was labeling -- if Bt Brinjal is brought to the market, they must be labelled, ie it should be clearly stated if it is GMO.
Since 2014, two rounds of cultivation showed very poor performance, and the brinjals which were brought to the market were not labelled. Consumers did not kn (Read More)
Bt Brinjal, the genetically modified brinjal introduced in Bangladesh despite concerns and failures in performances, is imposed again for the third round with newer farmers during 2015 – 2016 winter crop season. No report has been published as research findings of the first two rounds of field cultivation except some propaganda news. The website (both Bengali and English page) of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) has no information. It only says Bt Begun (Bt Brinjal). That’s all. The page is just blank. Even International Service for the Acquisition for Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) did not publish any repo (Read More)
WE DO not eat rice for Vitamin A since there are plenty of vegetables and Vitamin A-rich food sources that can meet our need. So, if someone looks for Vitamin A in rice, instead of green and yellow Vitamin A-rich vegetables, we will, of course, question the person’s common sense or competence in open source knowledge. But if someone tells us that they have designed rice in such a way that we can now get Vitamin A from the rice, such persons are called ‘scientists’. This is amazing, indeed!
Obviously, rice does not naturally contain Vitamin A; so it must be engineered to distort its natural character to become somet (Read More)
Ecological meaning of ‘small and marginal’ farmers
We know that ‘small and marginal farmers’ not only ensure food supply to 150 million people of Bangladesh but contribute to the conservation and regeneration of country’s agro-biodiversity and genetic resources. Small and marginal farms also perform various other ecological and environmental services. Farmers are the repository of social memory, wisdoms and knowledge practices without which agriculture can not contionue.
However, the economic notions such as &l (Read More)
Indian Prime Minister Norendra Modi’s eventful two-day visit ended on the 7th June, 2015 in Bangladesh. Mr. Prime Minister is a vegetarian and therefore as a host Bangladesh government, particularly Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself took special care to select different kinds of vegetarian foods. The Hindustan Times reported on 7 June, 2015 titled “100 veg dishes for Modi” including special daal, khichdi, dhokla and Bangladesh’s special sweets. In The NDTV news it was elaborated further, such as for starters, there was a Gujarati speciality - Kaman Dhokla, accompanied with a yoghurt corriander chutney. For main (Read More)
Mark Lynas is amusing. He visited the field of ‘Mohammed Rahman’, of Krishnopur, Bangladesh and claimed: “but improved seed genetics can make a contribution in all sorts of ways - It can increase disease resistance and drought tolerance, which are especially important as climate change continues to bite; and it can help tackle hidden malnutrition problems like vitamin A deficiency”. The claim is quite flowery like the title, ‘Why I got converted to GMO food’. Amusingly, (Read More)
Since the beginning of the Bangladesh government clearance for field cultivation of GM food crop Bt. Brinjal, it has been a scandal. The genetically engineered crop failed miserably in the chosen farmers fields of Bangladesh, despite the careful selection and training of the farmers. Promoters of GMO adopted more scandalous options. They refused to review the experiment by the normative standard of strict scientific experiment and the international ethical standard of precautionery principle obligatory for potential hazards from GMOs. Instead the promoters took more aggressive attempts to carry out propaganda based on false claims. The a (Read More)
A discussion meeting of over two thousand farmers was held on 6 May, 2015 against the aggressive extension of tobacco cultivation in Chakaria Upazila, Cox’sbazar district at Majherparas Bazar, Kakara union at 5pm. The farmers and their representatives shared their sufferings due to oppressive treatment of tobacco companies at the time of procurement of tobacco leaves. On the otherhand, if they grow food crops, the lack of storage facilities for perishable ones, they suffer economic losses. In this situation the farmers suffer in the horns of dilemma, either to grow food crops or tobacco. Today, the farmers have united under the assur (Read More)
Women’s struggles against discrimination, inequality and violence is global and strong. However, women’s dis-empowerment is not an isolated consequence independent from colonial legacies and neo-liberal global arrangement of economic, political and cultural relations. From what is happening through corporate control over seeds, agriculture and food system, none better than women know well that women’s struggle is instantly and directly related to the question of biological survival and regeneration of the conditions of life. Women have historically been keeping seed , engaged in food production, ensuring nutrition (Read More)
On January 8, 2015, Deneb Sumbul, daughter of Najma Sadeque sent an e-mail in the listserve that Najma Sadeque used to use with the subject “My Najma Sadeque no longer with us” . The mail said, “With the greatest sorrow, this is to inform you that my mother, Najma Sadeque passed away last night around 12:30. She was suffering from kidney failure. In how many ways can I describe my wonderful indomitable mother - she wore so many hats - an activist to the last, journalist for over 35 years, one of the founding members of WAF and someone who had so many interests and never short on wonderful ideas and new perspectives. For (Read More)
Outgoing US Ambassador to Bangladesh recently wrote an article in Dhaka Courier uncritically promoting genetically modified Bt Brinjal in a country considered belonging to the bioregion where global wealth of biodiversity originated. He often expresses his love for Bangladesh, and we, as a humble nation, never failed to acknowledge his feelings. Nevertheless, his article stands absolutely contrary to the prem (love) he often likes to explicitly project. ( See 'From Iowa to Bangladesh (Read More)
The environmental, farmers and women’s groups are outraged at the news that despite the failure of the first field cultivation scheme, the government of Bangladesh has taken a programme to distribute saplings of genetically modified Bt brinjal among over 100 farmers. Dr. Rafiqul Islam Mondol, Director General of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), told The Dhaka Tribune “We selected 106 farmers in 17 districts to distribute the saplings. The distribution began in October 2014”. Each farmer is given saplings of two varieties for half bigha (16.5 decimal) land, though BARI initially decided to suggest one bi (Read More)
The World Health Organization (WHO) took the lead in 2003 to formulate a global treaty called the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. It was the first treaty that was designed in developing a regulatory strategy to address addictive substance, such as tobacco and that asserted the importance demand reduction strategies as well as supply issues. The FCTC was unanimously adopted on 21 May 2003, at the 56th World Health Assembly, and was opened for signature, for a period of one year, from 16 June 2003 to 22 June 2003 at WHO h (Read More)
Policy making in a country like Bangladesh is not an easy task, a meaningful policy position is impossible without serious efforts from the policy makers to involve stakeholders; secondly, it is necessery to involve various groups and organisation active through empirical reserach or programmes that government wishes to address. Without a meaningful base of empirical reseach and participation of relevant stakeholders, a policy document could hardly be of any value. If policy makers ignore these very basic essentialities policy documents are reduced into statements related to few projects, lacking conceptual clarity and coherence with (Read More)
The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institution (BARI) is a public institution under the agriculture ministry and is obliged to serve public interest. As a public research institution, its primary task is to decide research priorities that must contribute to the benefit of the farming community, enhance the formal and informal scientific knowledge base of Bangladesh and strictly protect natural, biological and intellectual property of the people of the country.
Unfortunately, the institution has miserably failed to meet to its obligation and responsibi (Read More)
BARI has miserably failed in its attempt to show that Bt brinjal is resistant to fruit and shoot borer (see the series of article in UBINIG).
It should have been investigated by independent qualified geneticists, entomologists and agronomists in order to unveil the mode of inheritance and heritability of attributes linked with FSB (Leucinodes orbonalis).The BARI, claiming to be one of the most prestigious institution of Bangladesh, is now lost its vision, blindly following the political directives instead of scientific wisdom. Such mindless act of dea (Read More)
Bt brinjal is a GMO or Genetically Modified Organism. Crystal gene from Bacillus thuringiensis has been inserted into brinjal genome to increase the resistance of brinjal against Fruit and Shoot Borer (FSB) insect. Bangladesh Agricultural research Institute (BARI) has conducted this research with the support of ABSP II of USAID. BARI received the seeds of Bt brinjal from Maharastra Hybrid Seed Company (MAHYCO), India. There was no innovation by BARI scientists, they only used the Monsanto-Mahyco technology to conduct experiment with the genetically modified Bt. Brinj (Read More)
The International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22 is observed to increase understanding and awareness on biological diversity that include ecosystemic variability and indigenous knowledge and/or cultural practices. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted this day to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
In Bangladesh, the Ministry of Environment and Forest hardly observes the day, though Bangladesh has signed the CBD. Despite many valid critique of the text, (Read More)
On 22nd January, 2014 twenty farmers from four districts were given the saplings of Bt Brinjal in ceremony organized by Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC). The Agricultural Minister Matia Chowdhury gave out the trays of saplings along with a booklet. The farmers selected by BARI were happy because they thought they were fortunate ones to be chosen for such a ceremonial distribution of saplings. Matia said while addressing as the chief guest, “We have decided to start cultivating Bt brinjal after different necessary tests at home and abroad. We took long time to exp (Read More)
'Currently most research is invested in new technologies rather than in making better use of existing knowledge. Much more research is needed to turn existing knowledge into practical application.' (WHO 2013)
UBINIG’s commitment to biodiversity-based approaches to agriculture, health and nutrition is based on a critical understanding of various technological approaches to solve some of the major problems of poverty, hunger and malnutrition. Recent interest in biofortification, particularly of staple crops, is of critical interest (Read More)
Rice production in Bangladesh is a crucial part of the national economy. The main food crop of the country is rice. Rice cultivation covers about 80 percent of cultivable land and production varies according to seasonal change based on water supply. The largest rice crop is aman, accounting for more than half of annual production. Some traditional varieties of aman rice are sown broadcast in spring on low land. The plants thrive in summer and rainy seasons. The matured crop is harvested in late autumn. The other group of aman rice varieties is grown by raising seedlings in seed bed in summer. The seedlings are transplanted in the main fiel (Read More)
The Bangladesh Bank (B B) has recently expressed concern for defaulting agricultural loans (the Shokaler Khabar 12 March 2014). The B B has also instructed the concerned scheduled banks to take effective step for reducing the defaulters in agricultural loans. The defaulted farm loan in the banking sector had increased by 44 percent as of January 31, 2014 from the same date a year ago.
The situation of much acknowledged microcredit is not so different from agricultural loan. A BBC report said, in Bangladesh poor people are selling organs as a last resort to repay their microcredit debts. The report said:”Kalai, like many other (Read More)
The Nayakrishi farmers at Rajendrapur and adjoining villages in Baraigram upazila of Natore district have been maintaining indigenous genetic resources. They have been maintaining the seeds of local varieties of crops in cultivation. The seeds are maintained on farm as well as in the Nayakrishi Seed Hut at community level. The Nayakrishi initiative aims to ensure the livelihood of the rural community through community based biodiversity management by safeguarding genetic resources and environment against the introduction of invasive genotypes, hazardous technologies and the climate change variations. This initiative ensures secured access (Read More)
On October 30, 2013 Bangladesh National Committee on Bio-safety (NCB) approved the application of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) for limited-scale cultivation and marketing of genetically modified eggplant, known as Bt Brinjal amid protests by environmental and farmers groups. The resistance against Bt Brinjal is increasing on issues related to serious threat to bio-safety and health. The authorities have failed to prove any agronomic value of the genetically engineered product and the claims are based on faulty methodology. The farmers are squarely resisting against patenting and explicit attempt of bio-piracy through t (Read More)
Mamudpur Nayakrishi Seed Hut (NSH) started its journey in 2001. UBINIG has been holding training session, exposure visit, farmer exchange, festival in Mamudpur and adjoining other villages on biodiversity based farming. Rina Begum along with other farmers of Mamudpur village received Nayakrishi (Biodiversity based farming) training conducted by UBING. Since then they have been practicing Nayakrishi. Gradually the other farmers started joining Nayakrishi. These activities have created awareness for conservation and management of PGR at community level. Rina Begum along with other Nayakrishi farmers realized the importance of seed conservati (Read More)
Bt. Brinjal, (also known as eggplant or aubergine), a genetically modified food crop, inserted with a gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis has been approved by the National Committee on Biosafety (NCB) in Bangladesh for limited scale cultivation by farmers. In a notification (in bangla) of October 30, 2013 bearing a reference No.22.00.0000.073.05.003.2012-271 the Environment Section-2 of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry provisionally approved the petition of BARI to cultivate Bt Begun varieties 1,2,3 and 4 in a limited scale at the field level by following seven conditions:
1. BARI Bt. Brinjal 1, 2, 3 & 4 (Read More)
It is very unfortunate that Bangladesh government, which is now in Poll time period (next election is in January, 2014) has taken a step for a policy disregarding public opinion and which has serious implications for its people as consumers, for farmers and for environment. The National Committee on Biosafety (NCB) officially released four Bt brinjal, which is infused with pest-resistant gene. According to newspaper reports, the four varieties of BtBrinjal — Bt Brinjal-1 (Uttara), Bt Brinjal-2 (Kajla), Bt Brinjal-3 (Nayantara), and Bt Brinjal-4 (Iswardi local) — would first be released on limited scales as per a production manu (Read More)
There are evidence of connection between the birth of autistic babies and the GM soybean. Autism is a life- long developmental disability that manifests itself during the first three years of life. A diagnosis of autism can be one of the most devastating diagnoses a parent can hear. At worst, children diagnosed with autism will never be able to function as a normal human being in society.
Cause of Autism
There are several factors researchers have looked at in attempting to uncover the cause of autism. These include genetics and infe (Read More)
Despite indefinite moratorium on Bt Brinjal trial in India and Supreme Court ban in the Philippines, it is alarming that Bangladesh is preparing for the approval for commercial release.
In India, similar attempts to introduce Bt. Brinjal in the market led to controversy and on February 9, 2010, the ministry of environment and forests imposed a moratorium on Bt Brinjal. In the absence of scientific consensus and opposition from state governments and others, the ministry decided to impose a moratorium on the commercialisation of Bt Brinjal u (Read More)
Weapon Producer's Concern about Food insecurity in Bangladesh!! Dupont, the producer of weapons and killing chemicals sponsors Global Food Security Index!
On August 10, 2012 a news item came up on various news media wiith headlines such as 'Bangladesh least food secure S Asian Nation' (Bdnews24.com) which was quite disturbing (also see, 'food security situation poor in Bangladesh'. It said, Bangladesh is the least food-secure among the six South Asian countries according to Global Food Security Index 2012, released by Th (Read More)
UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative) and the biodiversity-based farmers’ initiative “Nayakrishi Andolon” expressed concern over promotion of technologies that are direct threat to biodiversity and the food sovereignty of the country.
In a discussion meeting titled ‘African NERICA rice and Bt. brinjal are threat to bio-diverse agriculture in Bangladesh’ UBINIG and Nayakrishi Andolon farmers presented field based information to show how these are going to pose a threat (Read More)
Future of farming in Bangladesh depends on the capacity of the government to insist on the priority of detoxicating agriculture and stop further erosion of agroecology and environment.
Rio plus twenty means a decision about our future. Somehow the declaration of the Heads of States and Governments, knick-named as Zero Draft, has the title “The Future We Want”. But whose future? The governments do not seem to be willing to address the various crises, created by the systemic failure of global economic order resulting in increased (Read More)
Chatka is made from bamboos to tame river, an effective but simple indigenous innovation of the local community to reduce river erosion that also helps in reclaiming land. The bamboo binding resists soil erosion, turn silt, deposit soil formation and helps accretion of land.
The farmers of Sonatoni union have taken th (Read More)
JAMRUL: TheTree Symbolising the Future Women Aspire
Women's Conference and Festival 2012 was organized in the context of developing a perspective about future that women want. JAMRUL, or the Rose Apple (Syzygium samarangense)) Tree - a very sweet juicy fruit tree, favorite to women, came out as the symbol to depict the desires of women for their future they dream for all.
Women are concerned about establishing their rights as (Read More)
Date: 6th March, 2010 Time: 10 am – 1:30 pm
Organized by: Narigrantha Prabartana, UBINIG and Odhikar