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India’s New Farm Laws And Contractual, Legal & Enviornmental Concerns Related to GM Seeds

January 1, 2021 | By

Author: Daljeet Singh

India is going through a major shift in its agriculture economy as 3 new Farm laws being rolled out during Covid 19 period. These laws have been rushed through the parliament with a voice vote (Mainly used under Emergency powers) in senate (Rajya Sabha), Shows the absolute desperation of the Modi Government. Modi Government is claiming and propagating these laws as the farmers life changing in terms of there Income and its been claimed widely by PM Modi himself that these laws will double the income of every farmer of the country.

As per 2018 total agricultural land in India is 60.45% which employs 50% of Indias workforce. India’s primarily and agricultural Economy and it contributes 18% to Country’s GDP other Agriculture related sectors like animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries accounted for 15.4% of GDP.

One of the three laws is contractural farming and the introduction of private companies in agricultural sector which allows corporations to enter in contractural agreements with farmers.

There are many layers in this new agricultural regime introduced by India its also portrayed as American Dream within Indian agricultural sector. One of the major factor of contractural farming is getting into contract with the companies in producing and growing there desired and contracted crop and the companies will also provide the seeds tho the farmers to produce.

There are many aspect that we can look in this process but one major is SEEDS. As these will be provide to the farmers with in the contractural agreements. Farmers will be bound by the contractural corporate law to follow the process designed by big corporations that will fall into a major exploitation of Indian farmers as statistically average Indian farmer own only 1.08ha according to Bloomberg Report of 2015-16. Its also a fact that the Genetically-modified ( GM ) Seeds been widely used by major companies in contractual farming to get high yields.

The method of modification used with GM seeds varies from the traditional method in an important aspect. The traditional way of growing crop has evolved over 12000 years and the genes have not been modified over generations of cross-fertilization, but rather inserted directly into the DNA of the seed.

1. Contractual issues

The contracts that seed companies require that buyers of their GM seeds sign when obtaining those seeds may disadvantage farmers. Seed companies have invested significant funds in the research and development of GM seeds, and they protect this investment through their contracts with agricultural growers. These contracts aggressively protect the biotechnology company’s rights to the seeds, frame the context within which disputes may be settled, and limit the liability of the company. Limited rights to retain and reuse seed Under a private contract between a grower and a biotech company, the grower’s rights to the purchased seed are significantly limited. Such contracts generally contain a “no saved seed” provision.This provision prohibits growers from saving seed and/or reusing seed from GM crops. In effect, the provision requires growers of GM crops to make an annual purchase of GM seeds.

A patent infringement case stemming from unauthorised saving of GM seeds was recently tried in the Canadian courts. In this case, Monsanto Company sued Percy Schmeiser, a local farmer, for saving and planting GM seeds produced from pollen that had blown onto his fields from a neighboring farm. Schmeiser himself had no contract with Monsanto. The court found that the defendant planted seed saved from a field onto which pollen from GM canola had blown. The court found further that Schmeiser had engaged in these activities knowingly. This violated the patent Monsanto held on the Roundup tolerant seed. Mr. Schmeiser was required to deliver to Monsanto any remaining saved seed and to pay to Monsanto the profits earned from the crops, plus interest.

2. Legal Intervention

In this new laws Indian government has given only minimal legal rights to fight against any legal issue. contracts between companies and private growers will contain a binding arbitration clause that requires all conflicts arising from performance of the seed to be resolved through arbitration at Mainly district Level Officer SDM. This binding arbitration clause precludes farmers from filing lawsuits.

3. Environmental Concerns

Development of resistant weeds and insects Farmers may worry that their use of GM seeds will create “super weeds” or “superbugs” that, over time, become resistant to GM seeds and crops and to other herbicides and pesticides. There is some research that suggests that weeds and bugs could possibly evolve into resistant organisms. Similarly, insects have, in the past, developed a resistance to pesticides.

Its been claimed that Genetically-modified (GM) seeds are developed to increase production of agricultural crops. It has been claimed that the GM seeds that have been modified to contain specific characteristics such as resistance to herbicides or resistance to pests (in the case of Bt corn and BT Cotton ) it is no hidden fact that the after first few years of drastic impacts outlive the benefits. Cotton Belt of Punjab is the biggest example of the drastic impacts of BT Cotton as the seeds developed the tolerance and Herbicides and Pesticides used even more than the traditionally developed seeds.

We have seen that during Covid 19 even the Developed world and Superpowers were on its knees and the only thing which matter most for human existence is food security and the laws like these are challenging the basic necessity of human kind as corporation are trying to control the food security of the world.


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