Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 12th 2013 Contents A34
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, November 12, 2013
India s cotton farmers. Industrial agri-
culture, she says, is a business of sub-
sidy and engineered processes, neither
of which are available to small scale
BT cotton, the film notes, requires
more water and fertiliser, which must
be applied on a very specific schedule.
But most of the farmers of Vidarbha
have no irrigation and depend on the
In a particularly moving moment
in the film, Ram Krishna Kopulwar
plays host to three men who have
brought their son to formally meet
Sawpna with a view to arranging a
Kopulwar sits uneasily as the three
generations of men detail their
demands for a dowry.
It s a price that he is unable to pay
and tells them so with a smile that s
a heartbreaking mask of shame and
It s not hard to see how a man put
in a position of such absolute humil-
iation might consider ending a life
without any apparent hope.
The film claims that a farmer kills
himself in India every thirty minutes.
The sheer number and scale of the
deaths is undisputed. More than a
quarter of a million farmers have
committed suicide in the country over
the last decade and a half, but while
the film struggles admirably to skewer
Monsanto, it isn t clear that the com-
pany s seeds are the only reason for
the staggering suicide rate.
Indeed Nature, the respected sci-
ence journal, while frowning generally
on genetically modified seed stock,
disputes the essential theory of the
film (here: http://ow.ly/qllfW) as part
of its evaluation of the scientific
manipulation of plant regeneration.
What s particularly troubling about
the situation outlined by Bitter Seeds
is the way that GM seeds appear to
have completely taken over as the
only resource for farmers in India.
Traditional cotton seed stocks,
which could be fertilised by cow dung
and not expensive chemical regimens
while providing fresh seeds for the
next crop have disappeared from the
Green Screen serves up wine, chocolate and water tonight
Green Screen 2013 continues this evening at Medulla Art Gallery with
Earth Water Woman and Nothing Like Chocolate. There will be a question
and answer segment, as well as cocktails and a chance to sample chocolates
7 pm Earth, Water, Woman (22 mins)
Earth, Water, Woman spotlights the Fondes Amandes Community
Reforestation Project in T&T, and its charismatic leader Akilah Jaramogi, in
their ongoing efforts to transform barren hillsides into a vibrant, healthy
ecosystem. With gorgeous cinematography by Swati Guild, this documentary
urges viewers to examine their relationship to Mother Earth.
Nothing Like Chocolate (63 mins)
Nothing like Chocolate, a documentary film narrated by Susan Sarandon,
tells the moving story of the relentless and headstrong Mott Green, founder
of the Grenada Chocolate Company, as he pursues his unique vision to create
the best chocolate in the world, from scratch. See how the smallest chocolate
factory in the world is doing enormous things for cocoa communities, and the
world's sweet tooth.
TONIGHT ON THE GREEN SCREEN
shelves of agriculture suppliers.
Kopulwar s crop falls prey to
a mealy bug infestion after being
saved by a last minute shower of
rain, and he loses half his crop.
His three acres of land will
remain in the hands of the money
lender for another season after
he makes a payment his original
After months of work, he can
barely meet his debt to the bank,
can t pay the moneylender and
has no hope of arranging a match
for his daughter.
Micha Peled s film wrestles
mightily with all the elements
that India brings to bear on his
chosen subjects, but it ultimately
fails to offer a persuasive con-
Suicide rates in India were
increasing before Monsanto
introduced its controversial GM
seed strains to the market and
small crop farmers, scraping by
on the lower end of the economy,
are particularly vulnerable to the
social and financial forces that
are pressuring the poor and
financially marginal in that coun-
try.Manjusha Ambarwar publishes
her first piece of writing for the
local agriculture focused paper,
winning herself some closure for
her father s death, and perhaps
a shot at a career that allows her
to chart her own destiny.
We leave Ram Krishna Kopul-
war where we found him, walking
stoically across a freshly ploughed
field, still resolutely determined
to wring a solution to his prob-
lems from earth that s equally
resolved to fight him all the way.
And India remains India, a
beautiful, absolute land of sudden
hard rains and dry crumbling
earth, of deep spirituality and
devotion and hard divisions of
class and knowledge into which
the unprepared stumble and
sometimes, never return.
'One farmer suicide every thirty minutes in India'
Continued from Page A33
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