Miracle Seeds?

The field of genetic engineering developed the ability to move genes between cells, organisms and species. An organism such as a bacteria, insect, animal, seed or plant whose genetic material has been altered using the techniques of genetic engineering is called Genetically Modified Organism (GMO). In 1995 WTO ruled that micro organisms and micro-biological processes already existing in nature could be patented. This gave birth to seeds that are genetically engineered to contain a particular gene, patented and privately owned. Continue reading

Social and Solidarity Economy

Peerathorn Seniwong and wife from Bangkok, Thailand lived in poverty without jobs or a home for years. They survived by turning into scavengers who dig through rubbish for recyclable stuff. They exchanged the recyclables for little money at the recycling plants. Experience of extreme poverty urged Seniwong to find a way to help himself climb out of it while helping others who shared similar fate. Continue reading

Better Banks, not Bigger Banks

Bremer Financial Corporation a.k.a Bremer Bank was founded by Otto Bremer in 1943. He formed it as a holding company to consolidate a number of local banks he owned. Today, Bremer Bank is headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota and also serves communities in North Dakota and Wisconsin of United States. Besides being a banker, Otto Bremer was also community conscious. In 1944 he founded Otto Bremer Foundation, a charitable trust funded by the Bremer Bank. He wanted his banks to connect with the local communities that they serve through charitable work and volunteering. “To serve our clients, we must also serve their communities”, that was his good idea. Continue reading

Microcredit and The Working World

In the world as we know it, it’s difficult for an individual to obtain credit or loan when he or she does not draw a large salary and does not have a long credit history. Needless to say that acquiring credit is impossible for a poor lady without a permanent roof over her head in a country like Bangladesh. She is not deemed to be “creditworthy”. No wonder, it’s here in Bangladesh a banker called Muhammad Yunus started a microcredit project in the 1970s to fund female entrepreneurs who were, of course not creditworthy. The project provided tiny funds that helped women to start a small business that could sustain them and possibly lift their families over the poverty line. Continue reading

Amul and India’s White Revolution

It was 1946. Poor dairy farmers in a small town called Anand in Gujarat, India started to protest against unfair practices by the agents of a milk monopoly called “Polson”. They had no where else to sell their milk and were paid a pittance by the middlemen. Besides, they had to travel far to the dairies to deliver their milk. Sometimes the milk went sour along the way.

There wasn’t an option but to form their own cooperative. Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Lmt. was born by the end of that year. Soon they started to skip the middlemen and deliver their milk to Bombay (Mumbai), which was their main market. Farmers, including those who owned only a couple of cows and buffalos, got to earn what they deserved. They owned their dairy too as members of the village cooperative. Continue reading