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Monsanto and the Seeds of Suicide


World  (tags: children, corruption, death, food, freedoms, government, India, humanrights, Monsanto, politics, society, world )

Kit
- 518 days ago - commondreams.org
Monsanto PR: "Monsanto is an agricultural company. We apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world produce more while conserving more." "Producing more, Conserving more, Improving farmers lives."



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Kit B. (276)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 6:35 am
(Photo: Viviane Dalles*)



“Monsanto is an agricultural company. We apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world produce more while conserving more.”

“Producing more, Conserving more, Improving farmers lives.”

These are the promises Monsanto India’s website makes, alongside pictures of smiling, prosperous farmers from the state of Maharashtra. This is a desperate attempt by Monsanto and its PR machinery to delink the epidemic of farmers’ suicides in India from the company’s growing control over cotton seed supply — 95 per cent of India’s cotton seed is now controlled by Monsanto.

Control over seed is the first link in the food chain because seed is the source of life. When a corporation controls seed, it controls life, especially the life of farmers.

Monsanto’s concentrated control over the seed sector in India as well as across the world is very worrying. This is what connects farmers’ suicides in India to Monsanto vs Percy Schmeiser in Canada, to Monsanto vs Bowman in the US, and to farmers in Brazil suing Monsanto for $2.2 billion for unfair collection of royalty.

Through patents on seed, Monsanto has become the “Life Lord” of our planet, collecting rents for life’s renewal from farmers, the original breeders.

Patents on seed are illegitimate because putting a toxic gene into a plant cell is not “creating” or “inventing” a plant. These are seeds of deception — the deception that Monsanto is the creator of seeds and life; the deception that while Monsanto sues farmers and traps them in debt, it pretends to be working for farmers’ welfare, and the deception that GMOs feed the world. GMOs are failing to control pests and weeds, and have instead led to the emergence of superpests and superweeds.

The entry of Monsanto in the Indian seed sector was made possible with a 1988 Seed Policy imposed by the World Bank, requiring the Government of India to deregulate the seed sector. Five things changed with Monsanto’s entry: First, Indian companies were locked into joint-ventures and licensing arrangements, and concentration over the seed sector increased. Second, seed which had been the farmers’ common resource became the “intellectual property” of Monsanto, for which it started collecting royalties, thus raising the costs of seed. Third, open pollinated cotton seeds were displaced by hybrids, including GMO hybrids. A renewable resource became a non-renewable, patented commodity. Fourth, cotton which had earlier been grown as a mixture with food crops now had to be grown as a monoculture, with higher vulnerability to pests, disease, drought and crop failure. Fifth, Monsanto started to subvert India’s regulatory processes and, in fact, started to use public resources to push its non-renewable hybrids and GMOs through so-called public-private partnerships (PPP).

In 1995, Monsanto introduced its Bt technology in India through a joint-venture with the Indian company Mahyco. In 1997-98, Monsanto started open field trials of its GMO Bt cotton illegally and announced that it would be selling the seeds commercially the following year. India has rules for regulating GMOs since 1989, under the Environment Protection Act. It is mandatory to get approval from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee under the ministry of environment for GMO trials. The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology sued Monsanto in the Supreme Court of India and Monsanto could not start the commercial sales of its Bt cotton seeds until 2002.

And, after the damning report of India’s parliamentary committee on Bt crops in August 2012, the panel of technical experts appointed by the Supreme Court recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of all GM food and termination of all ongoing trials of transgenic crops.

But it had changed Indian agriculture already.

Monsanto’s seed monopolies, the destruction of alternatives, the collection of superprofits in the form of royalties, and the increasing vulnerability of monocultures has created a context for debt, suicides and agrarian distress which is driving the farmers’ suicide epidemic in India. This systemic control has been intensified with Bt cotton. That is why most suicides are in the cotton belt.

An internal advisory by the agricultural ministry of India in January 2012 had this to say to the cotton-growing states in India — “Cotton farmers are in a deep crisis since shifting to Bt cotton. The spate of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers.”

The highest acreage of Bt cotton is in Maharashtra and this is also where the highest farmer suicides are. Suicides increased after Bt cotton was introduced — Monsanto’s royalty extraction, and the high costs of seed and chemicals have created a debt trap. According to Government of India data, nearly 75 per cent rural debt is due to purchase inputs. As Monsanto’s profits grow, farmers’ debt grows. It is in this systemic sense that Monsanto’s seeds are seeds of suicide. The ultimate seeds of suicide is Monsanto’s patented technology to create sterile seeds. (Called “Terminator technology” by the media, sterile seed technology is a type of Gene Use Restriction Technology, GRUT, in which seed produced by a crop will not grow — crops will not produce viable offspring seeds or will produce viable seeds with specific genes switched off.) The Convention on Biological Diversity has banned its use, otherwise Monsanto would be collecting even higher profits from seed.

Monsanto’s talk of “technology” tries to hide its real objectives of ownership and control over seed where genetic engineering is just a means to control seed and the food system through patents and intellectual property rights.

A Monsanto representative admitted that they were “the patient’s diagnostician, and physician all in one” in writing the patents on life-forms, from micro-organisms to plants, in the TRIPS’ agreement of WTO. Stopping farmers from saving seeds and exercising their seed sovereignty was the main objective. Monsanto is now extending its patents to conventionally bred seed, as in the case of broccoli and capsicum, or the low gluten wheat it had pirated from India which we challenged as a biopiracy case in the European Patent office.

That is why we have started Fibres of Freedom in the heart of Monsanto’s Bt cotton/suicide belt in Vidharba. We have created community seed banks with indigenous seeds and helped farmers go organic. No GMO seeds, no debt, no suicides.
****

By: Dr. Vandana Shiva | Common Dreams |

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist and eco feminist. She is the founder/director of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology. She is author of numerous books including, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis; Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as NGOs, including the International Forum on Globalization, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and the Third World Network. She has received numerous awards, including 1993 Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel Prize) and the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize.
 

Arielle S. (317)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 6:49 am
“Monsanto is an agricultural company. We apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world produce more while conserving more.” “Producing more, Conserving more, Improving farmers lives.” -

Lies, lies and more lies. This company is killing the earth and it keeps getting away with it. Poisons, farmer suicides, failure to produce, superbugs, gmo tumors, kidney disease - that's what Monsanto stands for. No fire in hell hot enough for this company.
 

Teresa W. (681)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 7:09 am
Agricultural? Especially the agent orange they produced in the 1960s was agricultural?!
 

Kathy B. (98)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 8:13 am
Monsanto can claim to be an agricultural company all they want, but in reality they are a biochemical company and are responsible for poisoning the planet. Ecocide anyone?
 

Ben Oscarsito (354)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 8:18 am
I've said it so many times, and I say it again:
-Monsanto is pure EVIL! That's all there is to it...
 

JL A. (275)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 10:24 am
No wonder there are efforts in India to ban GMO agriculture!
 

Betsy Bee (1047)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 10:57 am
My daughter is a molecular biologist and a physician. She has told me that the field of molecular biology should require more stringent oaths to "do no harm" than the medical profession.

She made this comment to me about terminator seeds. "Terminator seeds are nature's response to an aberrant and potentially destructive life form.:
 

Sandra Patterson (60)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 5:15 pm
Exactly,first do no harm. noted
 

Angelika R. (146)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 5:24 pm
MONSANTO = DEATH .
Are there really ANY people left who do still NOT KNOW? hard to believe.. thx Kit-
for those who have not already seen this post by Kathy: http://www.care2.com/news/member/914755234/3551911 - The Last Heirloom Seed

 

Julie F. (63)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 6:52 pm
I'm glad this message keeps popping up. Everyone needs to know.
 

Patsy Olive (0)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 7:13 pm
This is alful to do harm to these people that can't help themselves.
 

Tamara Noforwardsplz (185)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 7:50 pm
"Monsanto is an anti-environmental company. We apply poisonous technology to help farmers around the world produce more toxic foods while we conceal more. Poisoning more, Concealing more, and Improving our own bank accounts. And we are proud to say, that is the Monsanto way"
Noted, thanks Kit
 

Yvonne White (231)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 8:08 pm
This isn't just about India - American farmers are being sued when birds, wind, or whatever transplants seeds from "legal" neighboring farms onto their land & it grows..Monsanto is killing family farms so Corporate Ag can take over Everything!
 

Robert O. (12)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 9:53 pm
Monsanto is one of the truest definitions of evil and no doubt have devious machinations. If you control the food supply, you control the people and you can't honestly tell me that's not what Mon(ster)santo is out to do.
 

Mary Riley (937)
Friday March 29, 2013, 1:39 am
Whatever else Monsanto purports to be, it is an evil entity! And our president just recently signed the Monsanto protection Act. We are in deep trouble.
 

Mitchell D. (130)
Friday March 29, 2013, 8:11 am
I did not realize that the title of this posting referred to a literal suicide, which is certainly sad. However, i see Monsanto as paving the way for the suicide of the human race, as it increasingly poisons the planet with its "innovative" products.
And, now Pres, Obama has apparently signed the bill giving Monsanto protection to go on doing its thing; also sad.
 

Michela m. (3882)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 11:02 am
Noted!!
 

Michela m. (3882)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 11:26 am


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s.parameswaran Shanmugam (11)
Sunday March 31, 2013, 12:32 am
action taken
 

jeanne schreurs (203)
Sunday March 31, 2013, 5:52 am
Where is NATURE gone?
 

Julianna D. (18)
Sunday April 7, 2013, 12:04 am
GMOS will not feed the world. especially since they cost more to grow than traditional crops, and produce less yield
 

Cinzia Palamara (64)
Sunday April 7, 2013, 4:09 am
Thanks Kit and Michela for sharing and posting this interesting article
 

Muriel Servaege (45)
Sunday April 14, 2013, 11:57 am
Thank you, Kit and Michela. Noted.
 
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