A group of poor Indian rice and potato farmers who harvested confirmed world-record yields of rice and potatoes did so without the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)or chemicals of any kind.
Sumant Kumar, a farmer in Nalanda district of India’s poorest state Bihar,used only farmyard manure without any herbicides and has grown an astonishing 22.4 tons of rice on one 2.5 acres of land. Rice is the staple food of more than half the world’s population of seven billion and Kumar's accomplishment is a world record. It beat not just the 19.4 tons achieved by the Chinese agricultural scientist Yuan Longping, but also the World Bank-funded scientists at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, and anything achieved by the largest European and American seed and GM companies. Other Indian farmers have also recorded over 17 tons, and many have also claimed to have more than doubled their usual yields.
Another Bihar farmer broke India’s wheat-growing record the same year and all of the said farmers have broken these records without GMOs or advanced seed hybrids, artificial fertilizer or herbicide. How? They used a technique technique developed in Madagascar in the 1980s by a French Jesuit and then identified and promulgated by Cornell political scientist and international development specialist Norman Uphoff. It is called System of Rice [or root] Intensification (SRI).
SRI for rice involves beginning with fewer, more widely spaced plants; using less water; actively aerating the soil; and using plenty of organic fertilizer. According to the SRI Institute website, farmers who use synthetic fertilizer with the technique get lower yields than those who farm organically.
A panel of experts appointed by a Supreme Court has recently recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of all GM food and termination of all ongoing trials of transgenic crops in India. See: http://www.examiner.com/article/a-10-year-cap-on-genetically-modified-foods-recommended-by-supreme-court-panel
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