Why we should worry about seeds

Monsanto Buys ‘Terminator’ Seeds Company

by F. William Engdahl

I get to worry when I talk to the poorest farmers in Northern Malawi, where we work when I look at the seeds they use. They are all hybrids. For Maize and Rice and Cabbage and Soya and even tomato…all hybrids. Worse still when we have a pest on our farm,they can list off a collection of the most noxious chemicals all available in Mzuzu. If the likes of Montsanto and their like with questionable pasts, can be bothered with one of the poorest countries on the planet, they mean business!! The fact that a chemical company, posing as something altogether different can OWN patented seeds, puts doubt over the safety of the world’s  food supply. 

The United States Government has been financing research on a genetic engineering technology which, when commercialized, will give its owners the power to control the food seed of entire nations or regions. The Government has been working quietly on this technology since 1983. Now, the little-known company that has been working in this genetic research with the Government’s US Department of Agriculture– Delta & Pine Land– is about to become part of the world’s largest supplier of patented genetically-modified seeds (GMO), Monsanto Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri.

Relations between Monsanto, Delta & Pine Land and the USDA, on closer scrutiny, show the deep and dark side of the much-heralded genetic revolution in agriculture. It proves deep-held suspicions that the Gene Revolution is not about ‘solving the world hunger problem’ as its advocates claim. It’s about handing over control of the seeds for mankind’s basic food supply—rice, corn, soybeans, wheat, even fruit, vegetables and cotton—to privately owned corporations. Once the seeds and their use are patented and controlled by one or several private agribusiness multinationals, it will be they who can decide whether or not a particular customer—let’s say for argument, China or Brazil or India or Japan—whether they will or won’t get the patented seeds from Monsanto, or from one of its licensee GMO partners like Bayer Crop Sciences, Syngenta or DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

While most of us don’t bother to reflect on where the corn in the box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes or the rice in a box of Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice come from, when we grab it from the supermarket shelf, they all must originate with seeds. Seeds can either be taken by a farmer from the previous season’ seeds, and planted to produce the next harvest. Or, seeds can be bought new each harvest season, from the companies which sell their seeds.

The advent of commercial GMO seeds in the early 1990’s allowed companies like Monsanto, DuPont or Dow Chemicals to go from supplying agriculture chemical herbicides like Roundup, to patenting genetically altered seeds for basic farm crops like corn, rice, soybeans or wheat. For almost a quarter century, since 1983, the US Government has quietly been working to perfect a genetically engineered technique whereby farmers would be forced to turn to their seed supplier each harvest to get new seeds. The seeds would only produce one harvest. After that the seeds from that harvest would commit ‘suicide’ and be unusable.

There has been much hue and cry, correctly so, that this process, patented ‘suicide’ seeds, officially termed GURTs (Genetic Use Restriction Technologies), is a threat to poor farmers in developing countries like India or Brazil, who traditionally save their own seeds for the next planting. In fact, GURTs, more popularly referred to as Terminator seeds for the brutal manner in which they kill off plant reproduction possibilities, is a threat to the food security as well of North America, Western Europe, Japan and anywhere Monsanto and its elite cartel of GMO agribusiness partners enters a market.

There is more at: http://tothedust.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/monsanto-buys-‘terminator’-seeds-company-3/

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