Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How scuzzy can you get?

I am quoting below a story from the Grassroots International Insight Newsletter:

“When news of Monsanto donating hybrid seeds to Haiti after the devastating earthquake last January began to spread through the country, Grassroots partner The Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP) began informing Haitian farmers as to what exactly this "gift” entailed.

These "free" seeds turned out to be one-time-use seeds: requiring unsuspecting farmers to buy not only expensive fertilizers and pesticides, but also replacement seeds for the next year and every year after that -- all from Monsanto. An estimated 1000 peasants marched in central Haiti to protest this Trojan horse, complicating Monsanto's effort to convert your Haitian peasants into new customers.

"... Hybrids are a very serious attack on small-scale farming, on farmers, on biodiversity, on creole seeds, and on what is left of our environment," said a peasant leader of the MPP.”

Haitian farmers, like farmers all over the world, hold back some of this year's crop to use as seeds next year. They do not have the money to buy new seeds every year. Nor can they afford chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

But the seeds that Monsanto so "generously" offered to give to Haitian farmers contain a terminator gene -- so-called because the crops raised from Monsanto hybrid seeds cannot be used as seed a second year. A farmer who uses Monsanto seeds has to buy new seeds every year.

In addition Monsanto seeds are designed to be used with artificial fertilizers and pesticides. They will not yield much of a crop for the Haitian farmers who cannot afford to buy fertilizers and pesticides.

Adoption of Monsanto seeds in Haiti would be a major disaster for the farmers. In the midst of the terrible devastation and suffering of the January earthquake, Monsanto invited additional damage to Haitian agriculture -- already suffering seriously-- just to get a few more customers.

How scuzzy can you get?