290 - Vandana Shiva

A indústria biotecnológica e dos transgênicos mostra-se mais forte, mas também os movimentos por uma produção natural e mais sustentável estão mais fortalecidos A famosa ativista indiana levanta questões importantes sobre uma batalha que, afinal, é do interesse de todos.

If you’re concerned about the quality of the food that you eat and the future of our planet, then the opinions of Vandana Shiva are worth listening to. This Indian activist enjoys legendary status in the movement for ecology in general and organic farming in particular. She campaigns tirelessly for the rights of Third World farmers and against the interests of biotechnology corporations like Monsanto, which promote GMOs, or “Genetically Modified Organisms.”
We first interviewed Vandana Shiva at the Slow Food meeting two years ago and, when she recently returned to the event, we interviewed her again. We began by asking her what changes she had noticed in the last two years:

Vandana Shiva (Indian accent):
I think, in the two years that have passed, the movements for biodiversity, the movements for the small farmer, the movements for ecological agriculture, are stronger, and the proof of our strength is the fact that more and more books are being written against organic farming, and against the small farmer, which shows that, for big business, the biggest threat now is a very clear recognition that small farmers produce more, biodiversity produces more, ecological agriculture produces more, so the alternative we are building is very much recognised as being the only alternative that works, whether it is to get food to people, or it is to conserve biodiversity, and soil and water, or it is to get better food.

The other big change in the last two years has, of course, been the arrival of Barack Obama at the White House. We asked Vandana Shiva for her assessment of the United States’ 44th president:

Vandana Shiva
Well, I in fact am coming from the United States and I’ve just been told that Michelle Obama’s organic garden was shut down because it was too much of a challenge to big business. They wrote to Obama and said the garden is sending (the) wrong signals about industrial farming: of course, it was designed to! I’m also disappointed that President Obama has made no change, as far as the biotechnology mafia in (the) White House is concerned: every official of the Bush administration has been maintained in the Obama administration, which shows how powerful the biotechnology industry is, in governing the United States.

But she was more positive in her assessment of Europe:

Vandana Shiva
I think in... in the European government attitudes there is more change, partly because, even though the European Union tries to impose GMOs, there’s instantly rebellion from the ground. People don’t want GMOs and the pretense by the European Union that leaving it to the (individual European) states, will allow it to sneak in: you know, everyone’s recognised this is a game, and everyone’s saying, “No, we want a European level ban on GMOs.” So there is, I think, large interests (sic) defending good agriculture, good food.