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PRESS RELEASE Contact: Kendra Okonski

picture of Barun Shankar Mitra with award


28 August, Johannesburg - At a mass rally today in Johannesburg, the winner of the Bullshit Award for Sustaining Poverty was announced. In a closely run race, the winner was chosen for her important contribution to sustaining poverty around the world, in her role as a mouthpiece of western eco-imperialism.

In front of a rapt crowd of farmers from Africa and Asia, the award - a plaque mounted with a cow manure, representing the traditional agricultural technology that the winner favours - was bestowed on Ms. Vandana Shiva. Other award nominees included Greenpeace International, BioWatch, SAFeAGE, and the Third World Network.

The award was bestowed on behalf of Indian farmers by Barun Shankar Mitra of the Liberty Institute in New Delhi, India, who commented:

"Vandana Shiva is an individual whose immense presence at the World Summit on Sustainable Development and other global meetings, and her passionate defense of poverty, has resonated as far as newspapers and TV cameras can be found.

"Millions of people rely on backbreaking labor and low-intensity subsistence farming, not out of choice but out of necessity, yet Ms. Shiva claims that modern agricultural technologies are too dangerous for the poor. But given the choice, poor rural farmers seize the opportunity to use modern technologies to improve their agricultural productivity. Ultimately, it is farmers who should make the choice over what technologies they use, not eco-imperialists such as Shiva. Farmers are the most important stakeholder in this debate and their voice must not be ignored.

Farmers are choosing modern agricultural technologies out of their own free will - and for good reasons. And by so doing they are benefiting the environment. Low intensity farming not only hurts farmers, but also endangers environmental quality. Poverty and environmental degradation go hand in hand - and modern technologies alleviate poverty and enable environmental protection. This means that we should empower poor people to use these technologies, to increase their consumption of resources, which will benefit them as well the environment."

Unfortunately, the goddess of poverty was not able to attend the event in person to receive the award (a sign that she is perhaps not omnipresent). Mr. Mitra invites her to accept it at any time during the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Liberty Institute ( is a member of the Sustainable Develoment Network (


For more information, or to interview Barun Mitra, please contact Kendra Okonski, 072-477-2371.


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