NAGPUR: Micha Peled, director of the internationally acclaimed documentary on Vidarbha's farmers 'Bitter Seeds', believes that Monsanto is one of the major culprits behind the plight of cotton cultivators of the region.
Peled's one-hour documentary tracks the lives of two Telantakli residents in Pandharkawda taluka of Yavatmal district - farmer Ram Krishna and Manjusha Aherwar, a wannabe journalist, whose farmer father had committed suicide. This documentary has won four awards and has been screened in various film festivals in different countries.
The director said in many countries the viewers of his film told him that their countries faced the same problem due to Monsanto. "In Vietnam, some bureaucrats told me about the damage being done to their country by Monsanto's genetically modified seeds."
Lamenting on government's apathy towards farmers, Peled said, "During the British Raj, Vidarbha was famous for its cotton. At that time there was no Bt cotton. Farmers used their own seeds. Now they buy seeds from private companies. The agents of these companies are the only people who provide advice to farmers. Obviously, the only aim of the agents is to increase the sale of their seeds. Monsanto does not tell them that Bt cotton is successful only in irrigated fields.
"It is government's job to provide seeds as well as advice to the farmers. Since 1991, the government has abrogated this responsibility. Globalization is okay for many sectors but it is disastrous for agriculture. In US, the smallest cotton farm is 1,200 acre whereas in India it is as small as one acre," Peled pointed out.
The film is the third in Peled's globalization trilogy. His other two films are - Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes To The Town, which explores consumers in United States and China Blue, which exposes the exploitation of workers in Chinese factories.
Peled was in Nagpur to attend a 'Meet the Press' programme organized by Nagpur Union of Working Journalists (NUWJ). He then left for Hiwra Bazar, an agrarian crisis-hit village where Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) is screening his film. The documentary will be shown in fourteen villages of the region which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and members of Planning Commission had visited. It will also be shown in Telantakli