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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
Farmers are cheated in Bt Brinjal ‘field cultivation’: A failed attempt at the cost of risks to human health and environment
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
'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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
A Critique of the Rio+20 Zero Draft
Twenty years after the Earth Summit, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) will take place in Rio from 20-22 June, 2012. For two decades, peoples movement have worked hard for social, economic and environmental justice but yet the global economic system only resulted in a billion people starving from hunger. The gap between the rich and poor is widening with 70% of world’s resources enjoyed by top 20% and those in bottom quintile get only 2%. Climate justice
Peasant Movement Constituting Life-affirming Communities in Bangladesh
Led by small scale farming communities of Bangladesh, biodiversity-based ecological agriculture, known as Nayakrishi Andolon (New Agricultural Movement), has become popular as a peasant movement. It is not a 'traditional' farming practice in a static sense but aims at enhancing capacity of the farming communities to absorb advances in environmental, ecological and biological sciences and recent knowledge of increasin
Sale of body parts for overcoming poverty and indebtedness!
In a country where over 40% of the population lives below poverty line and 13% (or 20 million) of the total population suffer from kidney diseases, the link between kidney trade and poverty is not very difficult to establish. The recent incidents of kidney trade, by some unscrupulous ‘brokers’ buying the kidneys from the poor people for transplantation within and outside the country, has raised serious concern among the general public and also
Impact of Tobacco Cultivation and Policy Advocacy for Shifting to Food and Other Agricultural Crops
The concerns about the harmful affects of consumption of tobacco products and tobacco cultivation in Bangladesh have drawn considerable attention over last few years. Since the efforts at the global and national level to regulate the use of tobacco products which include the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) entering into force in Bangladesh on
In the month of Agrahayan, the eighth month of Bengali calendar, (early December) over 500 Nayakrishi farmers from 19 districts got together in Tangail to exhibit the rice varieties in their own collection and to discuss the issues that has caused threats to the preservation of rice varieties. It was a festival organized by UBINIG and Nayakrishi Andolon held during December 2 – 4, 2010 in Bishnupur village of Tangail. Climate change and natural disasters are being used as an excuse to introduce hybri
Budgeting Health 2010 - 11
The Budget speech by the Finance Minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, on 10th June, 2010, touched upon Health and Family Welfare in the 139th paragraph; it clearly indicates health sector unfortunately is not a priority sector, not even the health service delivery to the people. The neo-liberal paradigm denies that government has responsibility to ensure health service delivery 'free of cost' to the people. The introductory remarks of the Finance Minister were pathetically dry on this vital sector which is important not only for soc
Say 'No' To Tobacco Cultivation
Kushtia. 30 March. A farmers' meeting in village Boro Gangdia (Union Khalisha Kundi) of Daulatpur upazilla on 30 March, 2010 expressed grave concern over the aggrssive extnsion of tobacco production in the district of Kushtia, threatening serious crisis in food and destruction of environment, ecology, bodiversity and livelihood of local communities. The meeting was organized by UBINIG with participation of farmers, NGO, journalists, college teachers and local government leaders. The Chief Guest was Afazuddin Ahmed Member of Par
Kushtia: 25 March. Farmers of Kushtia are outraged. Tobacco farming is not only destroying soil, forsts, environment, ecology and conditions of survival, but financially ruining the farming community. The tobacco companies are now refusing to pay farmers what was originally promised to allure them to cultivate tobacco, instead of food crops. Both local and transnational companies are using fertile lands for non-food cash crop creating severe food crisis and environmental disaster. This is an issue that must be addressed immediately by the policy maker.The Tobacco companies particu
On 16th of October, 2009 (1 Kartik, 1416 Bengali calender) is the World Food Day. It is also a very important day to commemorate Fakir Lalon Shah, the Guru who taught the world to celebrate life, nature, diversity and culture to apprehend andb celebrate the unity of Life as Nature. This is also the day of his departure from the earthly presence. On l Fakir Lalon Shah's 119th death anniversary in 2009 UBINIG, Nayakrishi Andolon and Nabapran Andolon jointly remebered Lalon in a spiritual way: pledhing to conserve biodivesity and resist GMOs.
UBINIG organised a festival of farmers o
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Dai Ma Conference 2014
Dai Ma (Traditional Birth Attendants) play a major role in rural health systems, particularly in maternal & child health. UBINIG is working with them for a long time to develop an agroecological approach to health, medicine and nutrition, side by side with the Nayakrishi farmers who practice biodiversity based ecological agriculture. Dai Ma are now organised into a network engaged in innovative knowledge practices and institutional experiments. This will enable them to contribute more effectively in national health sytem. They have strong grassroot connections and effective social network. They are self-motevated and monitor the health of mother and child on their own as an important member of the community. Indigenous knowledge and profound understanding of reproductive and child health make them unique in their role in the community. UBINIG is working with theme to find innovative and eefective ways to link them with national health system.
We are introducing here some key leaders of the rural health movement led by Dai Ma.
Protest against Btbrinjal continues
Farmers of Nayakrishi Andolon and members of UBINIG jointly organised a protest rally against Bt Brinjal after Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) was trying to get approval from the government for cultivation and commercial release based on inadequate, incomplete and unethical research practice. They are undermining strict adherece of 'preacuationeruy principle' during field trial necessery to protect environment and all life forms including human beings from the potential environmental and health effects of the genetically modified crops.
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Samples of UBINIG Posters
Posters express concerns and ideas. They are interesting materilas to read and listen as well participate in the issues one is committed. UBINIG regularly prints and shares posters as a way to build up networks and communications. Web through some examples posted here.
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