Social Impacts: Monsanto’s Cotton and Indian Farmers
Almost all of the conventional cotton grown here in the U.S. and abroad is genetically modified, and much of that GM cotton is Bt cotton from Monsanto. Like Bt corn, the plant is modified to produce its own pesticides. Even setting aside the intrinsic problems with GMOs like crop cross-contamination and the rise of resistant superweeds, this GM cotton is bad news.
Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide because they are so deeply in debt from Monsanto’s Bt cotton, which didn’t deliver the benefits it promised. These farmers borrowed money to invest in GM cotton seeds, because Monsanto promised higher yields with less water and fewer pesticides. Andrew Malone reported for The Daily Mail on this problem back in 2008 that “The price difference is staggering: £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than £10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds,” but salesmen promised that the benefits were worth the higher price tag.
What they got instead was despair.
In the video below, activist Vandana Shiva talks about the hundreds of daily suicides among Indian farmers because Bt cotton didn’t live up to salesmen’s claims:
Is that 100 percent cotton tote bag or t-shirt feeling like less of a green choice? Don’t worry! There are some great alternatives to conventional cotton. Check out a few of my favorites on the next page.