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Press Release

New Delhi, 13 November 2015: Navdanya is collaborating with the ministry of Women and Child Development to bring to Dilli Haat, INA the first ever  organic Women of India Exhibition. Through the Mahila Anna Swaraj (MAS) (Diverse Women for Diversity) initiative Navdanya has connected over 5 million women from 22 states of India as one force for sustainability and women’s empowerment. Members of MAS are women seed savers, women organic growers, artisanal processors.

They include Navdanya’s own SHGs and other prominent women’s organisation such as Kudumbashree from Kerala, Sewa from Gujarat, Gravis from Rajasthan, Guild of Services working in UP and Delhi. MAS brings together women farmers, artisans and SHGs members from over 22 states to showcase their diversity, creativity and skill. The exhibition will be on till November 23rd. During this period patrons will get a chance to choose from a wide variety of organic produces such as handicrafts, organic textiles and food. Navdanya has been asked by the Ministry to serve organic High Tea for the inauguration at 3 pm on 13th November.

Navdanya has emerged as one of the pioneer organic movements of modern India. Through its vast network women and small farmers, we have worked to make India food sovereign and give food security back in the hand of women farmers once again.

We all aim to revive our women centred traditions and once again make women the keepers of health, nutrition and seed. Throughout history women’s knowledge and skills that have kept India diverse, nutritious and healthy.

But today our women are faced with challenge of ‘The Green Revolution Monocultures’. The chemically produced food has killed our biodiversity and given us nutritionally empty wheat and rice. It has also displaced hundreds of varieties of pulses and oilseeds. It has robbed women of their role and made the seed and biotech MNC’s the new owners and controllers  of the seeds and food. The current food crisis is a result of disharmony in our ecology caused by marginalisation of women and exploitation of our soils.

Today, India is the biggest importer of edible oil. GMO Soya and Palm oil are destroying forests of Brazil and Indonesia. But they are also destroying the livelihoods of our farmers. They are stealing from us our right to tasty, healthy nutritious food. The corporations want to commodify our desi oils seeds and replace our oilseed diversity, with a genetically modified monoculture.
In 1998, Mahila Anna Swaraj started the Sarson Satyagraha against imports of GMO soya oil in India. Led by corporate propaganda the government banned our traditionally cold pressed mustard oils and forced our millers to shut their ghaanis. MAS led the movement to bring back our sarson. We forged an alliance with mothers, sisters, millers and thousands of sarson lovers to fight this unjust ban.

Under threat in 2015 again from the GMO mustard, we re-launched the Sarson Satyagraha across India to spread awareness about GM mustard and help farmers grow and save our desi mustard again. Sarson Satyagrahis have planted desi mustard from Rajasthan to Jharkhand in past few months and distributed gunny bags filled with local rai and sarson seeds for free to small farmers.

2016 is the year of Pulses. We are launching a campaign “Pulse of life” to conserve India’s pulse diversity, grow more dals in India, and reclaim India’s Dalhan (Dal) sovereignty. Today, agro-chemical and agribusiness corporation are plotting to steal from millions of Indians one of the most essential nutrition from their diets. This is methodically being done by increasing dependence on imports, price manipulation, inflation and bad policy. Our dal farmers are not supported by our government. In the coming year,  we will start an intensive drive to make our farms more diverse and promote desi dals all over India. We will start new community seed banks of dal varieties, train more farmers in biodiverse organic farming, share, and bring real dal to our members through fair trade and the Food Smart Citizen movement.

For more details please contact:

Renu, 837393459

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Photos by Shaani Singh and Indra Shekhar Singh

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