student / Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU)
17 Jul -16 Aug 2009
In order to tackle environmental problems as well as challenges in the nutrition area, the Indian government decided to promote the application of biotechnology in the food sector. However, both environmental and social problems with this technology have been foreseen. Suicide waves of Indian farmers prove the vast problems in Indian agriculture, especially in the rural areas of the country. The question that interests me in this field is, in how far opposition networks lobbying against agricultural biotechnology can be organized via modern information and communication technologies (ICT). I.e. do the ICT help to establish strong, well organized networks that can be truly influential? As a network to analyze I chose Genecampaign, which is a leading Indian NGO in the field of biotechnology. The Indian network shall be compared to a European counterpart, Gene Watch UK.
So far I have been working closely together with Dr. Neetika Walia at TERI, who is Fellow & Area Convenor for Plant Tissue Culture & Molecular Biology. She gives me insight not only in the kind of research the TERI is engaged in in the area of biotechnology but also establishes contacts to scientific and political stakeholders. Another very appreciated contact person is Dr. Vibha Dhawan, Executive Director for Advanced Biotechnology Development. She provides me with great insights into the Indian regulatory system on biotechnology and also provides me with contacts. I have also been able to get into contact with TERI students and inquire their opinions and views. I greatly appreciate the help of all these people.