Friday, May 28, 2010

MOnsanto and Food Security

Monsanto Philippines,I read in GMANEWS.TV, is set to give away a new corn variety that is said to be more pest resistant. According to the report, this will be a secong generation genetically-modified corn variety.
This is the same Monsanto company that recently donated “475 tons of hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds, some of them treated with highly toxic pesticides.” Haiti, having no law regarding GMO regulation, rejected the donation. But Monsanto is claiming that these are “not” GMO seeds, merely hybrid seeds.
But what Monsanto did not say, according to Global Research, is that the chemicals which the seeds have been treated with are very dangerous to health. Farmers are advised to wear protective clothing when handling the seeds.
Furthermore, Monsanto is known for giving away seeds and then filing complaints against the farmers whose farms have been contaminated by their seeds or seeds have sprouted or “volunteered”. It currently holds patent to 650 seeds. I have seen a documentary on this, Food Inc. I think, and what Monsanto does to the farmers is simply cruel.
Monsanto, by the way, is also the company that produced Agent Orange used in Vietnam War that has caused birth defects in the Vietnamese people.
Haiti resolved to burn the Monsanto seeds, GMO or not, because they firmly believe that it will not help them solve the hunger that has plagued them after the deadly quake.
Maybe we can learn from this in light of the government’s roadmap to “rice sufficiency” in 7 years (?) using genetically-modified rice varieties that also promise high yields and high pest-resistance. Over the years, we have become more and more rice insufficient, probably precisely because of these high-yielding varieties (HYVs). The yield may be high but so is the cost for the pesticides and other farm inputs that it needs.
A final word lifted from the Global Resarch article written by Bev Bell (thanks!)
“Fighting hybrid and GMO seeds is critical to save our diversity and our agriculture,” Jean-Baptiste said in an interview in February. “We have the potential to make our lands produce enough to feed the whole population and even to export certain products. The policy we need for this to happen is food sovereignty, where the county has a right to define it own agricultural policies, to grow first for the family and then for local market, to grow healthy food in a way which respects the environment and Mother Earth.”

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