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[Topics under debate]: Free Citizen, Long Term Vision, Preamble
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Make this manifesto better, or accept it!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
q is what is the level of choice and competition in this sector. if
these 2 don't exist then monsanto should be severely curbed. but i don't
want us to rush to judgment. facts first.

On Sat, 27 Mar 1999, Charu datt wrote:

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> TOPICS under debate: Free Citizen, Long Term Vision, Preamble
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> The following article presents one side of the the debate around
> the "terminator gene", gene patents, and related material.
> Comment is invited.
> -Charu
> Genetic Engineering and Third World Livelihoods
> By Sonia Shah
> Agricultural and environmental organizations are sounding the alarm
> about genetically engineered crops the lack of labelling or wide-scale
> testing of these profit-motivated products pose a great unknown risk
> for consumer health, animals, and the environment.  Western consumers
> may grapple with the health and moral implications of genetically
> engineered foods. But for Third World farmers, the implications are
> clear: these products are killing livelihoods, cultures, and
> economies.
> For instance, 70% of the population of India are small farmers who
> subsist by collecting and harvesting seeds passed on from generation
> to generation.  These seeds the source of the world's biodiversity are
> the heritage, legacy, and security for farming communities. Given the
> seed's central place in their economy and culture, many agricultural
> communities consider the seed to be sacred.  But chemical companies
> such as Monsanto which brought the world Agent Orange and DDT are
> aggressively seeking to disrupt this natural cycle of regeneration for
> small Third World farmers. By buying up local seed companies and by
> claiming to own (by patenting) native seeds, Monsanto, as the world's
> largest producer of agrochemicals and transgenic seeds, is attempting
> to pirate this age-old, self-sustaining method of farming and
> sustenance.
> Small farmers must now buy the seeds they once harvested themselves
> from their own crops. Or they may buy genetically engineered seeds,
> such as Monsanto's wheat, corn, and soy which have been engineered to
> be resistant to the company's own broad-spectrum poison “Roundup.”
> Monsanto sells both the poison and the transgenic seed together in the
> same package the seed is useless without the poison.  Monsanto
> propaganda asserts that genetic engineering will result in more
> sustainable farming, but in fact most transgenic crops are developed
> to be impervious to the continued use of herbicides. To more fully
> curtail farmers' ability to replant their own seeds, Monsanto is
> currently developing seeds with a “Terminator” gene, so that the seeds
> are sterile. This corporate strategy of forcing small Third World
> farmers to use dead or poison-dependant seeds, while profitable for
> Monsanto, pushes farmers into an ill-afforded corporate dependence and
> further contaminates their land.
> Over much resistance, the Indian government allowed Monsanto to test
> its pest-resistant Bt cotton seeds in India. Last year, 95% of these
> seeds did not sprout for farmers in the state of Andhra Pradesh;
> hundreds of farmers commit suicide. In December 1998, Indian farmers'
> organizations which have been organizing resistance to corporate
> agriculture at least since GATT negotiations started launched a
> "Cremation Monsanto" campaign, uprooting Monsanto-engineered crops and setting
> the fields afire.
> That very same month, President Clinton bestowed the nation's highest
> honor for technological achievement on the Monsanto scientists that
> developed Bt cotton. The U.S. exports 80% of the world's genetically
> engineered materials, and has successfully stymied any attempts to
> regulate this trade.  The impacts on consumer health and the
> environment are disturbing unknowns; but for Third World farmers, the
> future is all too clear.
> Sonia Shah is the editor of Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists
> Breathe Fire, and an editor/publisher in the South End Press
> collective.
> Sources Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, by
> Vandana Shiva (South End Press, 1997).
> North and South Face Off Over Genetic Engineering, InterPress
> Third World News Agency, 2/16/99
> Goldburg, R., et al, Biotechnology's Bitter Harvest: Herbicide
> Tolerant Crops and the Threat to Sustainable Agriculture,
> Council for Responsible Genetics, Cambridge, MA
> AP Asks Monsanto to Stop Trials in Cotton Fields,
> Deccan Herald 12/4/98
> Scientist suspects foul play, wants CBI to probe cotton
> suicides, Times of India, 1/18/99
> Prof. Nanjundaswamy,
> Cremation Monsanto the campaign, web posting
> The 1998 National Medal of Technology, Scientific American,
> March 1999, p.47.
> US Government Sued Over Genetic Crops, InterPress Third World
> News Agency,
> 2/18/99.
> See also
> The Monsanto Machine, by Jeffrey St. Clair,
> In These Times, 3/7/99, p. 4
> Monsanto: Playing God by Kirkpatrick Sale,
> The Nation, 3/8/99, p. 14, and
> Vermont, the Pure-Food State, by Daniel Bellow,
> The Nation, 3/8/99, p. 19
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
> Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/
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This is the National Debate on System Reform.       debate@indiapolicy.org
Rules, Procedures, Archives:            http://www.indiapolicy.org/debate/