Sounding a note of caution over growing popularity of imported “toxic” foods, globally renowned environmental activist and author Dr Vandana Shiva has said Kashmiri apples, walnuts and almonds are fast losing the race to the ‘toxic’ fruits imported from different parts of the world.
“Toxic apples and almonds imported from California, Washington and China hugely subsidised because of market distortions in the name of free trade has made Kashmiri apples and almonds to disappear from local markets and the imagination of the people,” said Shiva in an exclusive interview with Greater Kashmir.
“A rejuvenated Kashmir that has food sovereignty and seed sovereignty will be the real Kashmir. If you have a good food system that would creative massive employment generation,” Shiva said.
More than 75 percent of growing chronic diseases are a result of the deadly toxins present in the environment and food available with us for consumption says Shiva who is the founder of three-decades old “Navdanya network” which works across India for biodiversity conservation, organic farming and rights of farmers, says Kashmir has a great scope for adapting to organic farming that yields harmless food products.
Uttarakhand-based Shiva who was here to participate in a seminar recently said her research has also indicated that 75 percent of environmental damage is caused due to the use of chemicals in farming.
“Seventy five percent of the non-communicable chronic diseases spread because of what we are eating and what is present in the environment. The toxins we are consuming in our food along with lack of a balanced diet is causing the micronutrient deficiencies,” Shiva said.
Shiva who has helped more than one million farmers across India for adapting to non-harmful organic farming says use of chemicals in farming produces “nutritionally empty food.”
Shiva who has been associated with organic farming for more than three decades said Kashmir being a high-altitude Valley has a great scope of adapting 100 percent organic farming.
“Cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, neurological problems and infertility are all new epidemics.
Earlier you would find few cases of such diseases here and there but now every second person is a diabetic. India is an epicentre of diabetes because people changed their diet habits fast,” she says.
According to Dr Shiva toxics are taking a toll on overall society and the economy “as 1.3 trillion dollars is what the society is bearing in terms of damages such as farmers’ debts and deaths, subsidies given for chemicals, death of flora and fauna,” she said.
Shiva said chemicals in farming are the main cause for the destruction of the planet. “Most of environmental damage including soil, water and biodiversity loss is because of the chemical farming. 50 percent of the harmful gases in the atmosphere that are causing climate change and calamities such as flooding is also because of this all,” she said.