Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

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 No Monsanto in Haiti

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Sasaye
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Date d'inscription : 02/03/2007

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MessageSujet: No Monsanto in Haiti   Lun 31 Mai 2010 - 23:07

No Monsanto in Haiti
posted by: Jasmine Greene 1 day ago

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, the process of rebuilding the nation has attracted many businesses, one of them Monsanto.

Monsanto has announced that it will donate 6,000 seeds to the Haitian agricultural department, and while the idea seems beneficial, many view it more as a burden than a gift.

Monsanto is a US-based agricultural company that produces various bioengineered/ genetically modified organisms (GMOs). They own Agraceus, a company that produces Roundup Ready soybean as well as 90% of genetically engineered (GE) crops around the world. The company has bought out 50 other seed companies and have also increased their bovine growth hormone and pesticide business [Source: Greenpeace]. The creation and distribution of these products have paved the agricultual growth in the US and other nations, but at a high cost.

According to an 2007 report by the Center for Public Integrity, Monsanto is responsible for discharging high amounts of toxic wastewaters that contained Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) in Anniston, AL. PCBs are known organic pollutants and have been known to cause serious skin and liver damage and is also a possible carcinogen.

Besides Anniston, reports have found Monsanto to be responsible for 56 contaminated sites and is considered a Superfund site by the EPA and contains 26 known toxins, one of which is listed in the top five most hazardous chemicals [Source: Center for Public Integrity]. As of a 2001 report, Monsanto is responsible for 56 contaminated sites.

But the problem with Monsanto doesn't just lie in their wastewater, it is also with the seeds themselves. A 2008 Austrian experiment done on mice over the course of 20 weeks showed that GE crops could potentially lead to infertility. A group of mice were fed a mixture of 33% monsanto corn and non-GE corn. The results showed that mice that were fed this feed were giving birth to less and lighter babies in their third or fourth litter while those fed non GE corn gave birth to the average litter.

Not only that, but liver and kidney conditions and can induce a state of hepatorenal (kidney) toxicity [Source: International Journal of Biological Sciences]. Unfortunately, there has been little research done on the effects of these crops on humans and even Monsanto claims that they do not worry about safety, but numbers, as safety for food falls to the FDA and EPA (did you know that Bt potatoes are listed as a pesticide and therefore fall under the EPA regulations rather than FDA?) [Source: NY Times].

Of course, these GE crops are for our own good right?

Well, not really. After 20 years of research and 13 of commercialization, there has not been significant increases in crop yield in the US, and even pest resistant crops that contain the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), do not prevent pests from destroying crops and have only improved yield very slightly [Source: Union of Concerned Scientists].

There are now pests that have adapted a resistance to the Bt, which could lead to the devastation of agriculture. Since all these crops are practically clones of one another, the lack of biodiversity combined with the growing adaptation of pests could lead to a huge problem. Other crops created for nitrogen efficiency, have been shown to inhibit other unrelated genes that help these plants combat disease and have even changed the toxicology of tobacco plants [Source Union of Concerned Scientists].

These GE crops may reduce the amount of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer for our crops for now, but the effects of changing a plants genome is still unknown.

With all of these unknowns and issues that have not been resolved, the people of Haiti are making a stand against this multibillion dollar Monsanto conglomerate.

The country has already lost much of their farmlands and agriculture due to the earthquake, and many, namely Chavannes Jean-Baptiste (executive director of the Peasant Movement of Papay [MPP]) view the planting of these GE crops and view Monsanto's "donation" as "a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds…" [Source: Food Freedom].

Monsanto donated hybrid corn treated with Maxim XO fungicide and tomato seeds treated with Thiram. Thiram is so toxic that farmers who handle this product with it must wear special protective clothing to protect themselves. It's not just the problem with toxicity, but also of increasing dependence on these seeds. Baptiste and many others believe that introducing these crops would hurt Haiti's chance of supporting their local farmers and significantly decrease the amount of biodiversity in food [Source: Food Freedom]. And while these seeds are free initially,

Monsanto has intellectual rights to all their seeds and farmers must buy these seeds every year to grow these plants. The price for these seeds are too high for many Haitian farmers, not to mention potential lawsuits should they become cross-pollinated with other GE crops or even natural plants. Monsanto has filed 112 lawsuits against 372 farmers and 49 small agricultural businesses for alleged technology contract violations or GMO patents, resulting in a total of $21.5 million in judgments for the company. Internationally, the company appears to investigate 500 farmers a year [Source: Yes Magazine].

On top of cost for seeds, can Haitian farmers afford to pay these lawsuits?

Although the government has already accepted the generous donation, though Haitian agriculture minister and Monsanto have claimed that they are not GE crops. Baptiste and other members of the MPP have been committed to burning Monsanto seeds and are marching in protest to Monsanto's presence in Haiti on World Environment Day (June 10, 2010).

The MPP considers Monsanto one of the "principal enemies of peasant sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty for all peoples" [Source: Yes Magazine] and urges people around the world to help Haiti produce their own agriculture rather than forcing their own on the country via seeds and plants.
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MessageSujet: Monsanto Must NOT Further Monopolize the World Seed Market   Jeu 3 Juin 2010 - 13:08

Monsanto Must NOT Further Monopolize the World Seed Market

Allowing Monsanto to monopolize the market could have lethal consequences for all of us. Because not only is Monsanto doing what it can to eliminate competition from other agricultural biotech products, their goal is to do away with conventional seeds, period, and take control of the food supply.

Since the 1980s, Monsanto has become the world leader in genetic modification of seeds and has won at least 674 biotechnology patents, more than any other company, and they will not stop there.

As I’ve discussed in many previous articles, this is a threat to human civilization and would spell disaster for the entire planet.

If you want to help keep Monsanto from expanding their stronghold on the world’s food supply, please continue to stay informed and boycott all GM foods. This is made easier by the Non-GMO Shopping Guide.

Every time you choose to buy a non-GMO product over a product that contains GM ingredients, you are making a dent in the empire that is Monsanto … and helping to save the world’s food supply one bite at a time
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