Tagged with "Monsanto"
Seed Wars: Latin America Strikes Back Against Monsanto
Category: ACTIVITISM
Tags: Big Corp globalist agenda Monsanto Science and Technology take action

Earth- Heal

by Don Quijones

Boasting more back channels and revolving doors with national and regional governments than most other companies on the planet, Monsanto is used to getting its way. With the direct assistance of the U.S. government and diplomatic services, the company goes from strength to strength, regardless of its myriad scandals.

As California based economics blogger (& friend) Wolf Richer wrote on his blog, Testosterone Pit, its previous flagship products include:

The once harmless DDT, now banned worldwide; a family of industrial chemicals called PCBs that are now considered highly toxic; Agent Orange, the defoliant liberally used during the Vietnam War and promoted as harmless to people, with grave results for the Vietnamese and US soldiers who came in contact with it. And there was saccharine, the sweetener that ended up being a carcinogen.

 

More recently, Monsanto reinvented itself and decided to save mankind not with a DDT successor, but with genetically modified seeds, whether people wanted them or not.

Present in more than 80 countries around the world, Monsanto is now the world’s leading manufacturer of GM seeds. Its main competitors include the German agribusiness and chemical behemoths Bayer, Syngenta and BASF, and US chemicals titan Dow.

Despite the competition, Monsanto’s profits have never been healthier: its third quarter 2013 profits ($368 million) comfortably beat expectations, and its total revenue rose 7 percent to $3.1 billion. “All of our indicators continue to line up to deliver mid- to high-teens” growth in operating profit on a percentage basis this year, CEO Hugh Grant (no, not that Hugh Grant) told reporters on a conference call early Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

However, not everything is going Monsanto’s way. In May 2013 the company had to suffer the ignominy of being the target of the two-million-man “March Against Monsanto,” as people in over 400 cities in 52 countries protested against the company, its influence and its GMO seeds.

What’s more, despite its tireless lobbying efforts in Brussels, Monsanto and its main rivals continue to hit a brick wall of resistance in many of Europe’s biggest markets, including Germany and France. And now, with popular resistance on the rise in Latin America, the U.S. agribusiness giant faces the prospect, albeit slim, of losing its grip on one of its most important strategic markets.

From Mexico’s Rio Grande in the north to Argentina’s fertile pampas in the south, indigenous and peasant communities are rising up against government legislation that would apply brutally rigid intellectual copyright laws to the crop seeds they are able to grow. The latest chapter in this unfolding drama was written in Chile, where the coordinated actions of a broad alliance of social movements have managed to put a stop – at least for now – to the passage of the so-called Monsanto Law.

Nine-Hundred and Seventy

Even the U.S.’s staunchest ally in the region, Columbia, is beginning to feel the heat. In August 2013 the Columbian independent journalist Victoria Solano released the documentary 970, so-named after the government’s Resolution 970, a law which sought to force the nation’s farmers to exclusively use certified seeds – that is, seeds patented by the world’s largest agribusiness companies.

The film denounced the injustices committed by the government against the peasant farmers of the Huila region, who had 70 tonnes of uncertified rice seeds confiscated and destroyed. According to the farmers, the government hadn’t even informed them of the new law. Indeed, it was only through Solano’s film that many Columbians realised that sharing or giving away seeds – a practice that dates back millennia – was now a crime.

The response of the Columbian campesinos was to mount a collective resistance struggle that brought large swathes of the country’s rural heartland to a standstill and resulted in direct, bloody clashes with government and paramilitary forces. In the face of the public backlash, the country’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, decided to suspend the law – temporarily of course! Then, at the tail end of 2013 Columbia’s Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional since indigenous communities had not been consulted before its implementation.

With the privatisation of seed laws effectively on hold in Columbia and Chile, and resistance growing in Mexico, where 800 scientists recently sent a petition to President Enrique Peńa Nieto calling for a complete ban on transgenic corn, events on the ground in Latin America seem to be taking a decided turn against the interests of Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow & Co.

The reason why this should be of vital interest – not only to GMO producers and Latin American growers, but also food growers and consumers around the world –  is that Latin America is currently the epicentre of the GMO movement, accounting for anywhere between 60 and 70 percent of total global GMO production.

Industrialization of Agriculture in Latin America’s Southern Cone

The three biggest players in the market are Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. In Argentina, soybean crops, most of which are transgenic, are grown on 60 percent of the country’s fertile land, generating annual revenues of over 30 billion dollars. And with the government increasingly dependent on foreign reserves to meet its crippling debt obligations, it is money that is desperately needed.

Unlike Chile, Columbia, Mexico and Peru, Argentina is not a signatory of the Trans Pacific Partnership, which is widely seen as an enabling act for the global domination of GMO producers (read more here). Even so, the Kirchener government is trying to pass its own version of “Monsanto Law” through parliament. However, in the face of broad opposition from small farmers and consumers, it, too, has had to stall its progress.

In Brazil, meanwhile, popular resistance is growing against the government’s attempts to pass a law which would allow for the use of GM terminator or suicide seeds – seeds which make crops die off after one harvest without producing offspring. As a result, farmers would have to buy new seeds for each new planting, making them dependent on major seed and chemical companies.

In 2000, 193 countries signed up to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which recommended a de facto moratorium on this technology. However, as the Guardian reports, powerful landowning groups in Brazil have been pushing Congress to allow the technology to be used for the controlled propagation of certain plants used for medicines and eucalyptus trees, which provide pulp for paper mills. Environmentalists fear that any such move by Brazil – one of the biggest agricultural producers on the planet – could produce a domino effect that would result in the worldwide adoption of the controversial technology.

Like Argentina, Brazil is one of the world’s largest producers of soybean. And its biggest customer? Why, none other than fellow BRICS nation China, which gobbles up nearly 70 percent of Brazil’s soybean exports. Furthermore, in what could radically change the dynamics of farming in Brazil, China recently agreed to import three new GE soybean varieties from the nation, which will mean even greater pressure to turn over its agricultural land (and of course Amazonian rainforest) to soybean cultivation. It will also mean even juicier profits and greater control over the global food chain for Monsanto and other GMO producers.

Ignoring the Real Problems: Consumption and Distribution

With few exceptions, governments across Latin America have sold off vast tracts of fertile land to the world’s biggest agricultural conglomerates. Precedence is almost always given to export markets, at the expense of domestic needs. Now the same governments seek to hand over control of their food supply to giant international GMOs such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow and Du Pont.

Their justification for doing so is always the same: improved productivity and efficiency. It is the exact same meme used by the GM industry. According to Bernard Geier, the former president of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture, it’s a disingenuous argument. Despite all the lofty talk of putting an end to worldwide hunger, there is no crop which offers the genuine potential to significantly raise yields, he says.

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Effective Immediately: France Bans All GMO Cultivation
Category: Uplifting News
Tags: Activism GMO food Monsanto take action

Heather Callaghan

Activist Post

The French National Assembly has made a sweeping declaration with a new bill, effective immediately. No more genetically modified crops.

On Tuesday, the French lower house of parliament adopted a law immediately banning cultivation of any GMO corn, due to environmental safety concerns.

Recently, they also made a halt decree to prohibit planting the only GM crop allowed in the EU – Monsanto’s MON810 corn, with built-in insect resistance.

Jean-Marie Le Guen, the minister in charge of relations with parliament, said:

It is essential today to renew a widely shared desire to maintain the French ban. This bill strengthens the decree passed last March by preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their reach to all transgenic maize varieties.

 

Farmers and seed companies are challenging the rule, as they have blocked similar decrees before, viewing safety concerns insufficient. But Le Guen bound the rule so that member state decisions could not be litigated against.

The ban heads back to the Senate for final approval – if rejected, the French National Assembly gets to cast the final ruling. Future strains will be banned even if the EU states approve more.

Of course big biotech companies are not satisfied to let bans rest. If companies like Monsanto have any say, they’ll be back. The EU actually wants to give them that final say.

Additionally, DuPont and Dow Chemical are poised to crash the EU again, if allowed. They already jointly developed Pioneer 1507 GM corn and most of the member states did not gather enough votes to block it.

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It’s Official – Russia Completely Bans GMOs
Category: GMO food
Tags: GMOs health freedom Monsanto

Arjun Walia

Collective Evolution

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently announced that Russia will no longer import GMO products, stating that the nation has enough space, and enough resources to produce organic food.

If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.” – Medvedev

Russia has been considering joining the long list (and continually growing) of anti-GMO countries  for quite some time now. It does so after a group of Russian scientists urged the government to consider at least a 10-year moratorium on GMOs to thoroughly study their influence on human health.

“It is necessary to ban GMOs, to impose moratorium (on) it for 10 years. While GMOs will be prohibited, we can plan experiments, tests, or maybe even new methods of research could be developed. It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous. Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect, therefore, at this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals. Bio-technologies certainly should be developed, but GMOs should be stopped. We should stop it from spreading. ” – Irina Ermakova, VP of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety

(RIA Novosti/Ekaterina Shtukina)

 

A number of scientists worldwide have clearly outlined the potential dangers associated with consuming GMOs. I recently published an article titled “10 Scientific Studies Proving GMOs Can Be Harmful To Human Health,” you can read that in full here.  These are just a select few out of hundreds of studies that are now available in the public domain, it seems that they continue to surface year after year.

Russia completely banning GMOs, such a large, developed nation is a big step forward in creating more awareness with regards to GMOs. Ask yourself, why have so many nations banned GMOs and the pesticides that go with them? It’s because evidence points to the fact that they are not safe, they are young, and we just don’t know enough about them to safely consume them. They just aren’t necessary, so why produce them?

Within the past few years, awareness regarding GMOs has skyrocketed. Activism has played a large role in waking up a large portion of Earths population with regards to GMOs. People are starting to ask questions and seek answers. In doing so, we are all coming to the same conclusion as Russia recently came to.

In February, the State Duma introduced a bill banning the cultivation of GMO food products. President Putin ordered that Russian citizens be protected from GMOs.  The States Agricultural Committee has supported the ban recommendation  from the Russian parliament, and the resolution will come into full effect in July 2014.

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