BANGALORE’S Call to join the world-wide MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO
Join PEOPLE’s ACTION for FOOD SAFETY & SOVEREIGNTY on 15th Oct. 2013
WHY MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO?
Have you heard of this agri-business company called Monsanto? Monsanto is an American company, which has become the world’s largest seed company by employing many devious strategies and tactics. Its annual gross profit in 2012 was around 46,500 crores of rupees – which is calculated to be more than the GDP of at least 48 countries! Closer home, this is more than the 5 years’ outlay in India for National Agriculture Development Programme (Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, the government’s flagship programme for agricultural development). Imagine the power of this corporation.
Monsanto is notorious across the world for a variety of misdeeds and crimes polluting natural resources, killing and maiming humans with its products, bribing officials for approvals, falsifying safety reports to show the most dangerous chemicals like dioxin as safe, colluding with regulators through revolving doors between the company and government, false advertising etc.Monsanto is also a company which has sued and jailed farmers for the “crime” of saving and using seeds that have been purchased by the farmers from the company, to protect its patents.
Can you imagine farmers not being allowed the right to save seed from their own crop, when it is farmers who have bred thousands of crop varieties over the centuries?
‘No food shall be grown that we don’t own’ is Monsanto’s reported objective.
Today, India is also under threat from the hazardous products that Monsanto wants to profiteer from – these are products that affect the very food that we eat to survive and stay healthy and our environment. These are products that have the potential to jeopardise future generations too.
Monsanto’s Misdeeds and Growing Threat in India
Mahyco-Monsanto used its Bt cotton seed monopoly to set exorbitant prices. The A.P. government had to use the MRTP Commission, which observed that Monsanto-Mahyco was indeed using unfair trade practices in India, while asking the company to reduce the royalty/sub-licensing fee being charged in India.
Monsanto/Mahyco did not hesitate to sue governments in India on issues related to compensation for loss-incurring farmers or price-regulation.
After the advent of Bt cotton, Monsanto entered into licensing agreements with most seed companies in India so that out of 225 lakh acres of GM cotton, 210 lakh acres is planted with its seed- Bollgard. Today it controls nearly 93% of the market share of cotton seeds in India, with little choice left to farmers.
Monsanto is on the Board of Indo-US Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture, under which bio-safety regime for GM crops was sought to be weakened.
Monsanto entered into agreements with several states (Rajasthan, Orissa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, J&K) under which the states spend hundreds of crores of public funds every year to purchase Hybrid Maize seeds from them. Such agreements were found to have no scientific or funding rationale to support them. Appraisals have shown these to be risky for farmers. However, the corporation has found huge, ready markets supported by taxpayers’ funds!
Monsanto is pushing the sales of its herbicide glyphosate which is known to cause reproductive problems. Approval for its herbicide-tolerant GM crops would skyrocket the use of this hazardous chemical in our fields.
In 2011, gross violations were exposed in its GM maize field trials in Karnataka.
Oppose Corporate Control of our Food & Agriculture. It is not just the farmers who should worry; as consumers, our access to safe, diverse, nutritious food is at risk.
GM Free Karnataka along with like-minded organisations is organising various events across the state to join hands with the Global movement for food safety and sovereignty and against Multinational Seed corporations like Monsanto.
While this March is against Monsanto and its misdeeds, this is also our statement against all such corporations, and for our right to safe food. This is a statement of our rejection of GMOs and other unsafe agricultural technologies.
If we as a nation want to protect our food sovereignty, if we want to retain control on what we grow and what we eat, this is the time for us to act decisively.
JOIN US AT TOWN HALL ON OCTOBER 15TH (at 11 am), ON THE EVE OF WORLD FOOD DAY. LET US RECLAIM OUR FOOD AND FARMING……