Buzzword GMOs. I needed to move beyond, “this kind of science is bad”. That’s not enough to get me fully invested, engaged, in the discussion. And everyone harps on Monsanto. Is it factually the big bad wolf? Is this a anti-corporate bandwagon thing? I hate bandwagons. Too much bias to slog through. So I agreed, it’s bad. Moved on.
Today I watched an incredibly informative segment on HBO Vice: Saviour Seeds.
Disclaimer: This is all from my head. My notes after watching. The Saviour Seeds piece filed in huge gaps that engaged me willingly. I had to write. It took me longer to write this than to watch the piece. This is not well written and I likely made small errors that do not change the narrative.
From the company that brought us Agent Orange…
Monsanto is the GMO leader, the biggest global player, and claims the goal of feeding the world in a looming food shortage crisis.
BUT Quantity of food production is not the issue in feeding the world. I’ll get into global food experts and expand in a future post.
1). The prime, and really sole, GMO crops are corn and soy. Which are nutritionally relatively vacant. Corn and soy are highly profitable because they are used heavily for processed foods, cattle feed, and ethanol – fuel.
2). Monsanto is brilliant. They genetically modify seeds to be resistant to THEIR products. The herbicides (world leader Roundup)/ pesticides – for which they reap additional massive profits.
3). All the global seeds are literally from the 1 -3 sources. Local or global, small or commercial farming – genetic variation and diversity are critical to maintaining viable crops.
Remember: variation and diversity are also critical nutrition.
Limiting the source (Monsanto) and type of crops (corn and soy) leaves everything (people and crops) vulnerable to catastrophe. One insect or blight and we have a global meltdown.
4). Paraguay as a model of GMO in action. 98% of Paraguay’s agriculture has gone to Monsanto sourced soy production.
a). The farmers buy the seeds, plant and harvest. But they can’t plant any seeds from their production. They have to sell them – back to Monsanto, and buy more to plant each year.
b). Along with mass quantities of Monsanto herbicides and pesticides.
c). Since this program with Monsanto has begun hunger in Paraguay has doubled.
With production moved to soybeans – that are not for local, but rather commercial, consumption – Paraguay now must import food, fruits and veggies.
I’m not detailing the problem beyond the obvious: less local and subsistence farms, worse local economy, less money, higher prices, less affordable nutritious food. Hunger.
d). Super Weeds and Super Bugs. Resistant ones increase annually.
e). Chemicals effect everything and everyone in the area. Obviously. Especially the small farms that are not part of the program, no GMO crops, that live and farm next to Monsanto fields.