As people of the land, farmers understand thevalue of property rights.As a farmer in India,traditional property rights are intact andat the center of our social and economic lives.

It issimple:Property rights are to be protected at all cost for India to move from a developing country to a developed nation.

Intellectual property rights arevery much similar totraditionalprivateproperty rights.It is based on this knowledge thatfarmers like me areso worried about a case that the Supreme Court of India will hearonJuly 18.

When the justices ruleon the case,which involves a patent forBtcotton,they aredeterminingthefuture ofagriculturein India. Theirchoice is stark. We can be aseriouscountry that honorsintellectual property rights and allowsfarmers to make themost of modern agriculture technology. Or we can be a countryof bandits who ignorethis important safeguard ofinnovation and condemnfarmers to the primitive practices that have held back our nation for so long.

Farming is hard work, full of physical labor. But it also depends on creativity and the life of the mind. Without the thoughtful contributions ofDr.Norman Borlaug,India andthe developing world never would have seen the Green Revolution that allowed us tobecome self-sufficient in food grainsin the 1970s and 1980s.

It has been noted that Dr. Norman Borlaug “saved more lives than any other person who has ever lived.”

Now we find ourselves in a Gene Revolution,poweredby new plant technologies. Indian farmers have welcomed its arrival. Those of us whohave grownBtcotton, as I didfrom 2002 to 2014,realizedthe benefits of GMright away.My experience,and that of our Farmer Association,with GM seeds was fantastic and memorable. We were able to harvest great profits byreducingthe agro chemical costs of the farmer and boosting yields and income.

The benefits are so obvious that more than 95 percent of Indian cotton farmers chooseto plantGMcotton.Studies reveal that GMtechnologyeven deliver to social benefits: Women inagro technologyfarm families enjoy more prenatal care. Their children receive more vaccinations and stay in school longer.

My only complaint about GMtechnologyis that we do nothave enough of them.By the default of Indian policy makers to give permission for Bt brinjal,weve watchedour neighbors in Bangladeshget the opportunity to cultivateBtbrinjal (you know thisas eggplant)and harvesting huge profits without chemical use and higher production per hectare.Westill waitalsofortheopportunity to cultivateGM mustarda fully developed technology that continues to wait for political approval.

Were on the threshold of growing more food on less land than ever before.

The protection of intellectual property rightsmakesthese advances possible. They provide incentives for scientists and researchers to work on the next generation of seeds, which will grow into plants that have the power to overcomenot justweedsbut alsopests, disease, drought, and more.

Patents for these plants draw investment capital from both public and private sources.To eradicate nutritiona

Mr. Pangli speaking at event May 2017 in Punjab State.

l hunger andfeed Indias populationabout 1.3 billion people right now, with more every yearwe mustinspire our bestand brightestminds to work onsolutions.

To support scientific agricultural growth, we mustdefend what they do by providing the basic protections of intellectual property rights.

Earlier this year, Indias High Court of Delhi put all of this at risk. On April 11, in a caseabouta patent for a pest-fighting variety ofBtcotton, it came up with a new standard for issuing patents that virtually eliminates their value.

If the Supreme Court of India now accepts this approach, advances in plant-relatedtechnology will decrease dramatically as there will be no motivation for agricultural researchers. Im concerned also that the next generation of agricultural researchers will be diverted to other professions.Wellcontinue towatchother countries innovate, adapting their own agriculture to the challenges of the day, such as climate change. Rather than catching up to the developed nations of the world, India will fall even further behind.

The bad result will be entirely our fault. We wouldnt be able to blame our troubles on the legacy of colonialism or the greed of capitalists. Instead, it would come entirely from our own refusal to recognize that intellectual property rights are the building blocks of success in the 21st century.

I support the governments key agrarian agenda of doubling Indian farmers income by 2022. As PM Modi and others focus on the strategies necessary to achieve this important goal, I am concerned it will be difficult to reach without research and technology innovation.

This is not what I want for my country.It isnot what I want for myfarm,myfamilyor the farmers and Farmers Associations across India and around the globe.

Theresponsibility of theSupreme Court of Indiais clear: Itmust reverse the lower courts faulty legal decisionand defendthe intellectual property rights that are essential to our future.

These five GFN members from India have all benefitted from Bt cotton (left to right: Messrs. Kulkarni, Pangli, Kapoor, Kang, Madhavan).