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Do you know about Monsanto?
By Pandurang Hegde

The detailed profile of agribusiness giant, compiled after prolonged investigation by award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, provides insight into the corporate ways to control the food supply chain.


Title: The World According to Monsanto

Writer: Marie Monique Robin

Translated from the French by George Holoch

Publisher: Tulika Books, New York, New Delhi 373 pages

This book traces the history of Monsanto as a chemical giant that was responsible for manufacturing “agent orange”, the most deadly chemical weapons used in the Vietnam War by USA. It was also responsible for manufacturing bovine growth hormone to increase the milk yield, but which end up spreading Mad Cow Disease across the developed nations.

Providing a testimony to the crimes committed by Monsanto, the book exposes how the company was able to fool the public, the governments and the scientists. Whoever questions the company strategy and approach is hounded out with vengeance. Many of the cases studied in the book reads like a James Bond plot. The book documents how Monsanto influenced political leaders from diverse backgrounds in USA and other countries, and reveals the extra ordinary global reach of this agro multinational.

The GMO (genetically modified organisms) story about the soybean, corn and bt cotton provides insight into the way Monsanto has been able to lie and get absolved despite bad science, poor yields and adverse impact on human health.

The book documents with chilling case studies of Latin America, especially in Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, and the company was able to bulldoze the democracies and establish GMOs, especially Soya in more than fifty per cent of the agricultural fields by deceit and brazen unethical methods.

The book provides chilling case studies of Latin America, especially in Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil and how the company was able to bulldoze the democracies and establish GMOs.

These shocking experiences should serve as warning to all Indians, since Monsanto is desperate to get a stronghold in India. It has already made a killing in spreading Bt Cotton all over India, by denying farmers any choice in cotton seeds. Many policymakers, including scientists and ministers, have turned into agribusiness giant’s de-facto spokespersons, with no concern for the seed sovereignty of farming communities.

Influenced by their wrong policies, Indian farmers have taken to growing soy and corn on a large scale backed by state subsidies for seeds and chemical fertilizers. This will eventually pave entry for Monsanto to sell its GMO seeds. It’s another matter that farmers and media persons remain unaware of the deeper conspiracies around this issue.

This book is a useful for those who are keen to understand how large agri-corps carry on with their agenda to create monopoly over food production in the name of removing hunger and providing healthier food through ‘latest technologies’.

Pandurang Hegde  |  appiko@gmail.com

Pandurang Hegde is a farmer, environmentalist and writer based in Sirsi town in Karnataka. He is well known for launching the Appiko movement which played a key role in protecting many forests from the axe in the Western Ghats region.

Write to the Author  |  Write to d-sector  |  Editor's Note

 Other Articles by Pandurang Hegde in
Global Development  > Global Economy > Agriculture

Seeds under siege
Monday, April 26, 2010

International Seeds Day (April 26) reminds us of concerted attempts by the large seed corporations to destroy seed diversity of the world to expand their markets and profits.
 Other Articles in Global Development
Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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