Monsanto GMO crops fuel economic and food poverty

Monsanto is developing and cultivating GMOs globally to address impending food shortages by producing crops used primarily for processed food, animal feed and fuel.

Protecting Monsanto GMO program
Protecting Monsanto GMO program in Paraguay

Buzzword “GMOs”.  Not really my comfort zone, what little I had read was what I considered oversimplified, complicated, science – genetics and chemistry, pesticides, fertilizers, and theories.  I discovered that I was very wrong, there are far more tangible consequences in human suffering and oppression hidden behind insidious misinformation and deception about GMOs.  There is no prerequisite interest or comprehension of any science to appreciate the toll in terms of health, poverty, and food.

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A photo of an infant effected by pesticides used on neighboring Monsanto GMO crops in Paraguay.

I read brittle articles, or just the headlines, posted on Facebook criticising Monsanto, accompanied by a like-minded chorus of tirades in the comments.   There is a singular fixation on Monsanto.  Is it in fact the big bad wolf?  Or is this another “anti-corporation” bandwagon?   (I hate bandwagons.)  I could determine from the memes and articles, over and over, was that “this kind of science is bad” and “it could cause” whatever.   That alone is not enough to engage me in the discussion or debate, too much work to determine “good versus bad” science and what it “could” bring about.  So I have simply agreed,  “Yeah, it’s bad.  They suck.” and moved on.  I have so many other global tragedies to monitor.

Until I watched an incredibly short, but informative, feature on HBO Vice: Saviour Seeds.

Disclaimer: This is all from my head. My notes after watching. The Saviour Seeds piece filled in huge gaps that engaged me. 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 some errors that do not change the narrative.  The images are not from the HBO feature.

Monsanto is the GMO leader, the biggest global player.  The company claims to work for the goal of feeding the world in a looming food shortage crisis.  But…the quantity of food production is NOT the issue for feeding the world.

These following factors do not support the Monsanto goal of “feeding the world”.

1). The majority of Monsanto’s GMO crops are corn and soy. Which are relatively nutritionally vacant for humans. But corn and soy are highly profitable.  They are used heavily in processed foods, cattle feed, and ethanol – fuel.

2). Monsanto is brilliant. They genetically modify seeds to be resistant to THEIR own products.  Those herbicides(world leader  is Roundup) and pesticides from which they reap additional massive profits.

3). All the Monsanto seeds worldwide are literally produced from only 1 to 3 sources at most.  Agriculture, whether it is local, subsistence, or commercial, depends on variation.  Genetic diversity is critical to maintaining viable crops.

4).  Variation and diversity are critical nutrition.  Land and resources dedicated to one commercial crop on a massive scale severely limit the capacity for variety.

5).  Limiting the genetic sources of the seeds and the type of crops to corn and soy on a global scale is a potential disaster.  It leaves both human populations and crops vulnerable to epic catastrophe.  One insect or disease blight could trigger a global meltdown.  A plague of hunger.

Paraguay / Monsanto GMO Model

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98% of Paraguay’s agriculture has gone to Monsanto-sourced soy production.

Since the program with Monsanto has begun hunger in Paraguay has doubled.

  • a). The local farmers in the Monsanto program in Paraguay buy the seeds, plant, and harvest. But they can’t plant the seeds produced by their crops.  The farmers must sell those seeds back to Monsanto and then buy more to plant each year.
  • b). The farmers using Monsanto seeds in Paraguay are required to buy mass quantities of Monsanto brand herbicides and pesticides.
  • c). Soybeans have become the predominant agricultural product in Paraguay.   The harvested soybeans are for commercial export, not local consumption.
  • Paraguay was rich with varieties locally grown produce sold in open air markets, and it was organic by default.  Now Paraguay must pay to import food, fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • d).  The amount of local produce has diminished.  What is available is costly.
  • e). Super Weeds and Super Bugs. The numbers of pesticide resistant species of each group increase annually.
  • f). Chemicals effect everything and everyone in the area.  Especially the neighboring small farms that are not part of the program.  People, crops, and natural resources are poisoned.

This is a brief, simplified, example = a part of what is occurring in many countries in Latin America and Africa.  Though I think Monsanto’s alleged role in a coup is unique to Paraguay.  Please visit The Council on Hemispheric Affairs to read http://www.coha.org/patent-rights-to-mother-nature-monsantos-overreach-in-paraguay-planting-the-seeds-of-injustice-2/ it is well and heavily cited.  And interesting.

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