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5477Fukuoka's Albert Howard Memorial Lecture

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  • Allan Balliett
    Feb 5, 2006
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      Does anyone have access to a transcript of this presentation? It
      must have occurred around 2001. Thanks -Allan igg@...

      Organic farming need of the hour: Fukuoka
      NEW DELHI, Oct 6: The world renowned author of "one straw
      revolution", Masanobu Fukuoka has called for a world wide effort to
      popularise organic farming so that harmony with nature is maintained.
      Delivering the third albert howard memorial lecture on "the greatest
      mistakes of mankind" here on Wednesday, Fukuoka said the land is
      losing its fertility due to the extensive use of chemical fertilisers
      and genetically-modified seeds land all over the world.
      "Where ever I have gone to study agricultural patterns, the biggest
      threat to farmers is from chemical fertilisers and genetically
      modified seeds which can degenerate the land in the long -run," he
      said.
      "Already 40-45 per cent of the total agricultural production in the
      world is by genetically-modified seeds which can spell doom for
      agriculture," he observed.
      In Japan, he said, 40 years ago one straw produced 100 grains while
      today due to the so-called chemical farming or mechanised farming
      that yield has gone down to just 70-80 grains in one straw.
      Fukuoka, whose book "one straw revolution" is revered by many as
      being one of the most authentic books on organic farming said the
      book, which he had written at the age of only 25 was meant to achieve
      the objective of creating awareness among the farming community on
      the threats they face from big multinationals companies in the years
      to come, has failed to achieve its goal.
      "My book was a foolish idea because I never realised that farmers too
      will take so many years to realise the ill effects of using excessive
      fertisers and genetically-modified seeds," he said.
      Terming India's growth in agriculture as a journey with numerous
      pitfalls, Fukuoka said in all these years india may have become
      self-sufficient in agriculture and grown in the field of information
      technology but it has lost the wisdom of the great leaders and
      thinkers like Mahatma Gandhi and Gautam Buddha.
      "Information Technology is in fact 'intellectual profit' whose sole
      aim is to generate wealth and earn profit without caring for the
      environment as well as for the people," he said.
      He, however, was full of praise for the increase in awareness level
      about environmental issues in India.
      "Indians have shown that awareness about one's environment can really
      make a difference in the way we think and also in the way we act," he
      said. Fukuoka whose contribution to agriculture is no less than that
      of any scientist, also revealed to the Indian farmers his
      self-developed variety of rice named after him,"Fukuoka rice". The
      rice which can give a yield two times more than the best genetically
      modified rice has been prepared by natural breeding and use of
      organic materials.
      "I have experimented with sowing this rice variety in the coldest
      places all over the world and there has been no difference in their
      yield, whereas no other crop variety, even the best
      genetically-modified ones can claim that it can grow in any kind of
      climate," he said.
      Fukuoka added his rice variety which was developed some 25 years ago
      was kept away from the world because he never wanted anyone else
      other than the poor farmers to know about his discovery.
      "In southern India, this rice can give a yield three times more than
      the present varieties, which can go a long way in solving the food
      problems of this country," Fukuoka said.
      He called upon farmers in India to take full advantage of his rice
      variety so that they can earn more without harming the environment.
      Environment Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Tewolde Egziaber, who chaired
      the lecture, said the recently held World Summit on Sustainable
      Development (WSSD) had given something to the pro-environment lobby
      as it has managed to delete clauses which would have given precedence
      to wto laws over local environmental laws.
      Tewolde, who was the chief negotiator for African nations in WSSD
      said, "though we have an uphill task in our hand, because we have
      started late, but slowly this realisation is dawning upon the trade
      organisations that environmental issues cannot be skirted for long."
      He regretted that United Nations has not been forthcoming in
      supporting the cause of the environmentalists.
      Noted environmentalists from India, Dr Vandana Shiva, who organised
      the lecture announced the Gandhi award for contribution to
      preservation of the environment.
      Activist Pushpa Bhargava and Khadi and Village Industries Corporation
      have won the award this year for promotion of nature friendly
      techniques of agriculture. (UNI)
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