Under the pretence of ‘feeding the world’, Monsanto – the leading commercial force behind the creation, promotion, and widespread use of pesticides and genetically modified seeds in farming – is making millions. In fact, in its most recent quarterly report, Monsanto announced a US$1.48 billion profit!
But ask farmers in the global south and they will tell you the story of patented seeds that are destroying their livelihoods. The claims that Monsanto products will reduce chemical use in agriculture, control pests and weeds and will save the world with GE drought tolerant seeds have been established as false over years of experience all across the world. Organic growers in the US are struggling to certify their products because of GE-contamination.
Well-known seed sovereignty campaigner Vandana Shiva says: “For us it is the control over seed, the first link in the food chain, the source of life which is our biggest concern. When a corporation controls seed, it controls life. Including the life of our farmers. The creation of seed monopolies, the destruction of alternatives, the collection of superprofits in the form of royalties, and the increasing vulnerability of monocultures has created a context for debt, suicides and agrarian distress.”
In Aotearoa/NZ, the previous Labour government chose not to extend a moratorium on genetic engineering in 2003 despite widespread protests. Field trials of genetically modified onions and brassica went ahead Canterbury and GE pine trees were planted at the Crown Research Institute in Rotorua. Luckily, many of those trees were destroyed in 2008 by environmental activists.
The biotechnology industry is growing rapidly but it is crystal-clear that these companies are not driven by compassion for their fellow human-beings or the planet. They are in it for the money! Huge profits go to the CEOs and shareholders of these companies, meanwhile many farmers have become trapped and it will soon become impossible for consumers to distinguish between GE and non-GE produce.
The Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement is an organisation across Aotearoa working towards a classless, stateless society: anarchist-communism. As anarchists, we want a world free of hunger and a world free of exploitation and oppression. We want communities and not companies in control of food production. This ensures that farmers get the respect they deserve and the environment is cared for and not simply exploited to profit the rich. Genetic engineering is not the path towards a sustainable future.
– Leaflet for anti-Monsanto marches (25th May 2013)