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KILLER SEEDS: The Devastating Impacts of Monsanto's Genetically Modified Seeds in India

Science & Tech  (tags: business, climate, environment, GeneticEngineering, geneticengineering, health, humans, India, Monsanto, GMO, safety, world )

- 1893 days ago -
Monsanto's operation in India illustrates monopolization and manipulation of the market economy, tradition, technology, and misgovernance. The world's largest producer of genetically engineered seeds has been selling genetically modified (GM) in India f

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Gillian M (218)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 7:13 am
Also see this story from Daily Mail even though it is from Nov 2008, it shows the suffering that happened and continues to happen

The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops


Rock H (254)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 7:52 am
Thanks Gillian for sharing this MUST READ article from the Centre for Research on Globalization:

"Monsanto offered its GM seeds to the farmers of India with hopes of reaping plentiful crops. Plain and mostly uneducated farmers thought Monsanto had come to provide a “magic” formula that would transform their lives. They had no idea what was coming.

Monsanto’s seeds in India did not produce what the company had promised and farmers hoped. The expensive seeds piled up debts and destroyed farming fields. In many instances, the crops simply failed to materialize. The farmers were not aware that the GM seeds required more water than the traditional seeds. And lack of rain in many parts of India exacerbated the crop failure.

With no harvest, the farmers could not pay back the lenders. Burdened with debts and humiliation, the farmers simply took their own lives, some by swallowing poisonous pesticides in front of their families. To date, an estimated 200,000 farmers have committed suicide all over India.

To add to the misery, wives inherited the debts along with the fear of losing their homes and lands. With no money coming in, they also had to pull their kids from the schools. The mass suicide among the Indian farmers is known as the “GM genocide.”

Gillian M (218)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 8:18 am
Thanks Rock. To me the worst part of reading this story is that, when I first heard about this practice, there were only just over 1,000 farmers who committed suicide but, to me, it was appallingly selfish to do so leaving their family in such straights.

I have yet to find out how many have had to sell themselves or family as slaves to pay the debt off, this information seems to be unavailable to me in the UK.


Bob hardly here P (394)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 11:09 am

Roger G (154)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 4:56 pm
noted, thanks !

Mike M (43)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 10:03 am
Thanks sad story

Al C (7)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 10:22 am
All the GMO's companies are harmful. They must be banned from this world.

Brad Kraus (6)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 2:17 pm
I have heard Vandana Shiva speak and she is a powerful speaker, a voice against this injustice. We must all speak out.

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 3:50 pm
Noted w/thanks, Gillian. This is just horrifying. We need a worldwide ban on GMO's.

faith v (16)
Sunday January 13, 2013, 6:03 pm

jj D. (0)
Monday January 14, 2013, 7:12 am
Ickbal is hardly the first one to discuss Indian suicides and wrongly blame them on GMO's. He certainly wont be the last. Here are some facts:
Indian Farmer Suicide
Topline Messages Farmer suicide in India is a tragic phenomenon that takes place for a variety of complex social and economic reasons.

The causes of these suicides cannot be traced to a single factor, though financial stress has been widely considered to be the main factor.

Additional Messages
The reality is that that the tragic phenomena of farmer suicides in India began long before the introduction of Bollgard in 2002. Farmer suicide has numerous causes with most experts agreeing that indebtedness is one of the main factors. Farmers unable to repay loans and facing spiraling interest often see suicide as the only solution.

In fact, a 2004 survey of cotton farmers in India by the IMRB International showed a 118 percent increase in profit for farmers planting Bollgard over traditional cotton. The same survey showed a 64 percent increase in yield and a 25 percent reduction in pesticide costs.


Past Member (0)
Monday January 14, 2013, 5:45 pm
It's too bad that misleading stories like this get propagated in Care2, because it weakens the credibility of this organization. "jj D." has written a pretty honest response (I looked into this when it first surfaced in '08 - there is nothing linking ongoing suicides to gmo seeds). There may be other reasons to oppose gmo crops, but this one is false. But look how many responders believe it. "You can't reason a person out of a position that they weren't reasoned into." (Attributed to Mark Twain, and alternatively, Jonathan Swift)

Eugene C (3)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 2:33 am
Noted, thank you........This information needs to be on prime time TV. It would be great if ' Four Corners' could do a documentary on this! The live cattle trade to Indonesia certainly became exposed through this channel! Anyone out there with connections to the ABC in Australia?

Gillian M (218)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 12:04 pm
Really jjD & past member, perhaps you should start with the Daily Mail story above and continue with

GM Genocide: India Links Farmer Suicides to Monsanto

Monsanto’s GMO Seeds Contributing to Farmer Suicides Every 30 Minutes

5 Indian Farmers Commit Suicide in Past Two Days Over Debts & That's Just in One District of One State

Farmer Suicides Rising in India as GM Bt Cotton Crops Fail

Indian farmers shun GM for organic solutions

All GM Field Trials in India to be Stopped


Muriel Servaege (53)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 1:49 pm
Sad story. There are really people who make their fortune on other people's misery.. And what's happening is is logical. Monsanto should be heavily sentenced for this.

Jelica R (144)
Tuesday January 15, 2013, 6:05 pm
I am not up-to-date with this issue, though last I've heard is that 30 Indian PMs were investigating GM seeds impact and, after collecting 6000+ case pages, a moratorium on new GM seeds was introduced. The case of cotton GM is at India Supreme Court now.

India was forced to open it's market under pressure from WTO, World Bank and IMF , the usual suspects. Lately there were some rumours that bait was US&a "assistance" with India's nuclear program.

If anybody is interested in learning about devastating consequences of GM seeds, Vandana Shiva has probably the best data.

TY Gillian for highlighting this very important,but not generally understood issue (as some comments here shows).


Shirley B (5)
Wednesday January 16, 2013, 11:09 am
Monsanto et al MUST be stopped.

Mit Wes (2)
Thursday January 17, 2013, 5:57 pm
Has anyone read Mark Lynas recanting of his previous anti-gmo positions ?

Will Care2 publish the story ?

Mit Wes (2)
Thursday January 17, 2013, 6:03 pm
India cotton production per year.

Looks like they're up to their ears in cotton !

And Vandana Shiva had compared GMO's to Rape. It's nice for rape victims to know that their attackers are compared to sincere attempts to increase food and agricultural production.


Mit Wes (2)
Thursday January 17, 2013, 10:43 pm
Bythe way India has not banned any trials of GM crops.

Mit Wes (2)
Thursday January 17, 2013, 10:48 pm
Why would anyone trust anything Mercola has to say? Look what's he trying to sell you, for a small fortune, of course !

"Containing all of the 84 elements found in your body, the benefits of natural Himalayan Crystal Salt include:..."

Take a quick look at the periodic table and see if you can keep all poisonous and radioactive elements out of that set of 84.

Mit Wes (2)
Thursday January 17, 2013, 11:04 pm
Farmer Suicides caused by Bt cotton?

See page 27. There's actually a slightly negative correlation of suicides to bt cotton cultivation in India.

And, while 35,000 sucides per year may seem like a lot, it is out of a population of over 600 million famers that exist in India. That's a suicide rate of .00584% Global suicide rate is .016%

Very disingenuous to blame these sad suicides predominantly on Bt Cotton.

Jelica R (144)
Friday January 18, 2013, 5:37 pm
Mit, if you check, you'll see that India cotton production has risen because there was more land allocated to cotton production. While at it, you can also notice that cotton yields have been in sharp decline, measured in (KG/HA). GM cotton was introduced to India in 2002. and after initial growth, annual yields are falling. At the same time, price for GM seeds rose and surpassed cumulative price for non-GM seeds+chemicals; thus reducing profits. Not what Monsanto promised.

This is just a part of the problem. Much more important is that India's arable land has been allocated to plant commodity goods for export instead food for domestic consumption - so that you and I can have cheaper T-shirts.

If you want to compare traditional versus agroindustrial yields of food check Iowa State University. In July 2012, ISU Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture has released a leaflet Higher diversity, fewer inputs make profitable farms; stating that "Researchers found that “low-input, high-diversity” (LIHD) rotations outperform the conventional system in yields and produce similar profits. On average, corn yields in the diverse rotations were four percent greater and soybean yields nine percent greater. These results were achieved by replacing purchased inputs with combinations of ecological processes, human knowledge, production management skills and labor." Journal paper “Increasing cropping system diversity balances productivity, profitability and environmental health,” can be downloaded.

These are not some California hippies nor East-coast intellectuals, but hands-in-dirt people from Iowa. A month ago I have spent a whole evening reading about their work at the ISU Leopold Center web-site. It was both educational and hearth-warming to see scientists and farmers working together to produce healthier food. Science can give solutions for our problems, but that has to come from responsible scientists and not from corporate mercenaries.

Mit Wes (2)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 6:08 am
Let's see. pre 2002 yieldss were hovering at about 300 KG/HA and after 2002 they peaked at about 554 KG/HA. Then they declined to 475 KG/HA in 2012. There was also a similiar decline from 1996 to 2000. What you are flagging as a failure looks like it could be just normal variance of yield. And 475 is still far higher than 300.

The Leopold center's system of rotation has two problems for the argument against GMO's. One, it doesn't prove GMO's are ineffective. Quite the opposite, it even says you can use GMO's in its system and get the best of both worlds. Two, it needs increased labor. That is a huge input, but it doesn't state how much more labor. Their average yield charts are unclear if they average in the years they aren't growing corn and soybeans.

There is also an additional problem with their system, though not for me. It still requires some synthetic fertilizers and herbicides, making it still unacceptable to the organic crowd. I'm not against different systems being tried out and finding the best ones. I'm against this philosophy that GMO's are bad on principle and synthetic inputs are bad on principle. I'm against how the likes of Mike Adams and Joe Mercola lie through their teeth in their malaligning of this potentially great technology while they profit by their increased sales of their magic potions. (Google Himalayian salt for an example)

Those so called hippies, as you put it, would have us return to some organic low tech utopia that never existed in the first place even if it means 3 billion people have to starve to death to get to it. Even This Leopold system would be rejected by them.

Gillian M (218)
Saturday January 19, 2013, 7:31 am
Mit, we have no way of knowing how good the plants are grown this way and how they interact with non-GMO which is why they are sterile. I doubt that Indian farmers know that.

Additionally, scientific testing has shown that GMO crops are not safe in the food chain for us which is why it is not extensively grown. It is one thing to breed crops that do well in a particular environment but it is another to play G-d and think that we know best, cloning is an excellent example of that.

Mit Wes (2)
Sunday January 20, 2013, 8:20 pm
@Gillian Miller;

Not extensively grown? Up to 85% of corn, 91% of soybeans, 88% of ootton (cottonseed oil in food) and 95% of sugarbeets and most papayas grown in the US are GM.

"we have no way of knowing how good the plants are grown this way and how they interact with non-GMO which is why they are sterile." Which plants? There are no terminator genes in any commerial GMO crop.

And scientific testing has shown GMO's to be at least as safe as any other breeding technique. It should be noted that testing of GM crops are more stringent than for other pbreeding techniques even thoug the other techniques cause much more DNA to be rearranged either by chromosomal tranfer or, in the case of gamma rays, outright mutations until the desired one finally happens. With GE techniques, the particular gene in question can be placed in the particular location and can be turned on and off at will.

Jelica R (144)
Friday January 25, 2013, 9:17 pm
Mit Wes; Thursday January 17, 2013, 5:57 pm:
"Has anyone read Mark Lynas recanting of his previous anti-gmo positions ?"

I did. Here: Have You Heard about the Famous Anti-GMO Scientist Who Switched Sides and Is Now Pro?; stating: "Mark Lynas is not a scientist. He does not even reveal his education on his own website, nor is it easily available on the Web. He is a British author, journalist, and environmental activist with a flair for publicity and a primary focus on climate change. He’s been called a “pioneer” and an “apostle” of the anti-GMO movement, but that is mostly his own self-promotion.
“I’d assumed that GM was dangerous. It turned out that it was safer and more precise than conventional breeding, using mutagenesis for example.” Safer than mutagenesis, a process that involves exposure to radiation and chemicals? Maybe. Safe? Categorically untrue. For someone who says he has come to love the scientific method, this is a remarkably unscientific conclusion, because there have been no long-term human studies supporting the safety of GMOs. What is most notable about the GMO field is the lack of independent, objective, and long-term studies in humans. There have, however, been plenty of animal studies, and here the science is becoming clearer: GMOs may be causing birth defects, high infant mortality rates, fertility problems, and sterility in hamsters, rats, mice, and livestock fed GMO soy and corn, and some hamster pups even began growing hair inside their mouths. Studies indicate other serious health risks as well: immune system dysregulation, with changes in the number of immune response cells showing up in the gut, spleen, and blood — all of which points to an allergenic and inflammatory response to GMOs; increased aging (especially in the liver); dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation; and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen, and gastrointestinal system."

Jelica R (144)
Friday January 25, 2013, 9:22 pm
From Special Investigative Report: Will GMOs Really Feed the World?

"In 2003, the World Bank and the UN initiated a global consultative process with sixty countries and some 400 scientists around the world about agriculture and its role in poverty alleviation. The 590-page report, also published in 2009, concluded that GE crops have no role to play in relieving poverty. Fifty-eight countries approved the report following its release, while only three — the USA, Canada, and Australia, all strongly supportive of GE crops — did not fully approve it because it failed to tout GE crops as the savior to the world food shortage problem. The report stressed that even if GMO crops were able to increase overall yield, the limited number of GMO crop varieties would not reduce food scarcity: crops have to be adapted to local conditions, be supported by local infrastructure, and be within the capacity of the local farmers to implement them. Moreover, the emphasis of some traits through genetic engineering could threaten biodiversity by limiting farmers’ options, forcing them to select from too few varieties.

What developing countries need most is increased food production — yet according to the UCS report, several recent studies show that organic and low-external-input farming methods (i.e., using reduced amounts of fertilizer and pesticides) can improve yield by over 100% in those countries, along with greater health benefits. Farming of this sort is based on farmers’ knowledge of their environment as well as locally adapted crops. It helps poorer farmers especially, assuming they are not forced to be dependent on buying expensive, patented seeds from a handful of biotech companies.

The cost of GE seeds in the context of the poverty of the developing world is a major consideration. Over 17,000 farmers in India committed suicide in 2009 alone — approximately one every 30 minutes — and those suicides have been blamed on Monsanto and GE seeds. Farmers went into debt to buy GE seeds, hoping for increased yield, and when those crops failed due to pest infestation, they were left more impoverished with no prospects for the future. Farmers were not told that the crops would require twice the amount of water, and the crops do not produce viable seeds — which means the farmers would have to keep purchasing new seeds. Many of the farmers made their suicides a symbolic act by drinking Monsanto’s pesticide.

The rate of Indian farmer suicides began increasing after the introduction of Monsanto’s Bt cotton in 2002, and two-thirds of farmer suicides occur in five Indian states, which has come to be known as India’s “Suicide Belt.” Dr. Joseph Mercola witnessed the destruction of traditional Indian farmers firsthand.

Besides its high price, GMO could put other farming systems — organic agriculture, seeds from international suppliers, etc. — in serious jeopardy through the poor segregation of crops and significant threat of cross-contamination, endangering the livelihood of those farmers as well. Furthermore, GMOs create global dependence, concentrating economic power in the hands of a few — those who own the patents on the seeds — stripping small farmers of their independence.

In short, GE crops can be far more detrimental to developing countries than helpful."

Jelica R (144)
Friday January 25, 2013, 9:24 pm
There's more at: Monsanto's GMO Seeds Contributing to Farmer Suicides Every 30

"According to the most recent figures (provided by the New York University School of Law), 17,638 Indian farmers committed suicide in 2009 — about one death every 30 minutes. In 2008, the Daily Mail labeled the continual and disturbing suicide spree as ‘The GM (genetically modified) Genocide’. Due to failing harvests and inflated prices that bankrupt the poor farmers, struggling Indian farmers began to kill themselves. Oftentimes, they would commit the act by drinking the very same insecticide that Monsanto supplied them with — a gruesome testament to the extent in which Monsanto has wrecked the lives of independent and traditional farmers.
Many families are now ruined thanks to the mass suicides, and are left to economic ruin and must struggle to fight off starvation:

‘We are ruined now,’ said one dead man’s 38-year-old wife. ‘We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide.’

In India, around 60 percent of the population (currently standing at 1.1 billion) are directly or indirectly reliant on agriculture. Monsanto’s intrusion into India’s traditional and sustainable farming community is not only concerning for health and wellness reasons, but it is now clear that the issue is much more serious."

Jelica R (144)
Friday January 25, 2013, 9:32 pm
Missing link for article in my previous comment:
Monsanto's GMO Seeds Contributing to Farmer Suicides Every 30


Gillian M (218)
Saturday January 26, 2013, 12:44 pm
Mit, GMO crops are grwon in America but that doesn't mean that they are safe and is why the EU doesn't want it.

GMOs are bad for your body, bad for the community, bad for farmers and bad for the environment. This is why:
1.The health consequences of eating genetically modified organisms are largely unknown. Genetically engineered foods have not been shown to be safe to eat and may have unpredictable consequences. When trans-fats were first introduced, corporations battled to get them onto your grocery shelves – and it is only decades later that this once novel food has been proven to be extremely unhealthful. Many scientists are worried that the genetically altered foods, once consumed, may pass on their mutant genes to bacterium in the digestive system, just like the canola plants on the roadsides of North Dakota. How these new strains of bacteria may affect our body systems’ balance is anybody’s guess.
2.Food items that contain GMOs are unlabeled in America. Why so sneaky? The European Union has banned GMOs, as have Australia, Japan, the UK and two dozen other countries that recognize that a lack of long term studies and testing may be hiding disastrous health defects.
3.Genetic engineering reduces genetic diversity. When genes are more diverse, they are more robust; this is why a pure bred dog tends to have greater health problems than the dear old mutt. Plants with reduced genetic diversity cannot handle drought, fungus invasions or insects nearly as well as natural plants, which could have dire consequences for farmers and communities dependent on GMO crops for survival.
4.Once the mutant genes are out of the bag, there is no going back. Genetically modified organisms contaminate existing seeds with their altered material, passing on modified traits to non-target species. This creates a new strain of plant that was never intended in the laboratory. In North Dakota, recent studies show that 80% of wild canola plants tested contained at least one transgene. In Japan, a modified bacteria created a new amino acid not found in nature; it was used in protein drinks and before it was recalled it cause severe mental and metabolic damage to hundreds as well as several deaths. Japan banned GMOs after this horrific experience. Monarch butterflies have also died after their favorite food, milkweed, was cross-pollinated from Bt corn which rendered it toxic to the endangered species.
5.GMOs are not the answer for global food security. Genetically engineered crops have shown no increase in yield and no decrease in pesticide use. In many cases other farm technology has proven much more successful, and even Monsanto agrees that its genetically engineered crops yield less than conventional farming.
6.Genetically engineered foods have not been proven to be safe, but the few studies conducted don’t look so hot. The organs of rats who ate genetically modified potatoes showed signs of chronic wasting, and female rates fed a diet of herbicide-resistant soybeans gave birth to stunted and sterile pups.
7.Big biotech firms have very sketchy track records, but then again what would you expect from organizations who want to patent the world’s food supply? These massive biotech companies have a history of toxic contamination, deceiving the public and suing small farmers when their patented seeds blew across the fence. Biotech firms sell sterile seeds to African farmers- meaning the seeds are only good for one season, because the plants that grow up will not be able to reproduce. Farmers must buy new seeds every year instead of growing from the previous year’s yield. GMOs are not the farmers’ friend.
8.GMOs require massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. These things are poisons, and should not be eaten or allowed to run off into our water supply. But they are, every day, by companies who care far more about the bottom line than they do about your health, your environment or your children’s future.

The bottom line is that genetically modified organisms have not been proven in any way to be safe, and most of the studies are actually leaning the other direction, which is why many of the world’s countries have banned these items whose DNA has been genetically engineered. In America, they aren’t even labeled, much less banned, so the majority of the populace has no idea that they are eating lab-created DNA on a daily basis.
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