GM Crops May Spell Death to Bio-Diversity

by Wan A.Hulaimi
October 3, 2011

If you wake up in the morning to find that your brinjals are no longer yours, what would you do?Take a case in point. Prabeer Kumar, a farmer in Karnataka, India, suddenly discovered that he had no seeds to sow and for his next crop he had to buy from a giant multinational. Farmer Kumar doesn’t exist — I have just made him up — but Karnataka does, and India and that giant multinational, they are all real. Some other Kumars in India found that they had a piece of paper in hand that made them promise to buy only GM seeds from one big company. GM seeds that will bear fruit and die so that farmer Kumar will have to go to the shops again and again ad infinitum until he himself dies for want of more rupees.

I have made up farmer Kumar because he represents many thousand farmers in the state of Karnataka who have unwittingly signed pieces of paper that have bound them to genetically modified (GM) seeds, nature tampered by big money-grabbing multinationals and then thrust back upon them at a price to be grown in land that they have not yet patented, thank God, to yield genetically modified crops to feed us all.

You have heard the benefits of GMs already even if we do not yet know their effects on our environment, health and wealth. This is the solution for world hunger, they say. But who knows? Take a simple question: if farmers have to go back to the shops after each yield, it will? But oh no, they’ll say, crops will be grown in huge quantities by big companies. Oh yes? Oh dearie me!

They introduced Bt cotton in India, a non-renewable genetically modified cotton seed with claims about insect resistance and the usual spiel. We do not know what this tampering with nature to ‘control’ the assault of nature is doing to our birds and our bees and our butterflies, but many Indian farmers — a quarter million according to some sources — committed suicide as a result of the high price of seeds which they once got for nothing from the last crop. Non-renewability of GM seeds sends farmers out to the shops, and shopping for tailor-made goods, as you know, costs a big wad of rupees.

Yet it keeps moving on as more and more of our natural species are being tampered with, their genes added to and readjusted to make them safe for big companies to make proprietary claims on them all. India has close to eight per cent of the world’s living species. They tried to patent basmati rice so that only they will be able to sell them to farmers, but they failed, and their next trick is with the humble brinjal which you could have taken from your neighbour’s garden and planted in yours for just a chat and a smile. They are now trying to patent the brinjal in India so that you will no longer be your next door’s good neighbour because you and they and your friendly local farmer will soon have to buy GM ‘bt brinjal’ for your curry. And bully for India, they are taking Monsanto to court for ‘bio-piracy’ which, in this context, means stealing indigenous plants, genetically modifying them, and giving nothing — but misery — in return to the people. This is the first time in the world that a nation is taking such a step against a multinational. Other countries in the world with huge bio-diversity reserves would be well advised to sit up and listen well.

What will GM crops do besides giving untold wealth to giant seed monopolising companies? We don’t know, but more than a few suspicions have been expressed and they should all be looked into.

In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), a body of medical clinicians from various specialities, called for a moratorium on GM foods. “GM foods pose a serious health risk” they said in their position paper. And more: “there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects”. And more: “GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health.”

Very little long term research has been done on the health and ecological effects of GM seeds. But if you have time and the search engine, do go and look up Dr Arpad Pusztai and his experiment in Scotland in 1998 with rats and the GM potato.

So is GM food safe or is it not? We don’t know, but if you had baked beans for breakfast this morning, chances are it was GM product down your tummy-tee-tee. That GM food inside you now is sweeping the world, stealing the livelihood of our farmers, depleting our heritage and may even be the death of our bio-diversity.

Farmer Prabeer Kumar may not exist, but the real Shri Prabeer Kumer Basu is India’s agricultural minister. Email him now at to say how much you appreciate his call.

Wan A. Hulaimi also wrote A Map of Terengganu, under the pen name Awang Goneng. He may be reached at

What does a Food Monopoly Look Like?

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
July 20, 2011

This is something that is always in my head, especially when I read Monsanto’s ideas to enhance and perpetuate their control of the food supply. Those ideas include the monopoly of every single form of food that exists; vegetable, animal, artificial and so on. Monsanto also wants to control the production of seed, as they already do with the Bt cotton and other genetically modified organisms.

The evil genius in this idea is clear. If you control food, you control people. The same happens with banking; if you control the money supply, you can control the economy. “We now believe that Monsanto has control over as much as 90 percent of (seed genetics). This level of control is almost unbelievable,” said Neil Harl, agricultural economist at Iowa State University.

Although some lawsuits have tried to curb Monsanto’s and other biotech companies’ thirst for food and seed monopolies, none of those lawsuits have been strong enough to effectively stop corporations from seeking their dreamed control of everything we grow and eat. But Monsanto is not alone, and neither is it all about controlling seed and food. The issue of control spreads to manipulating prices, markets, buying off politicians and braking previously signed agreements with farmers when things don’t go as planned.

So what would a food monopoly look like?

Recently, countries in Africa and even Australian farmers have gotten a taste of what a monopoly feels, sounds and looks like. In Australia, the government has officially allowed CISRO to begin GMO trials on people. This fact propelled re-known chefs to protest and call for a ban on food experiments with genetically modified organisms.

Meanwhile, in Africa things are even worse. It is widely known how debt drove farmers to suicide because their costs increased exponentially, their yields decreased enormously and their soils became so depleted that not even weeds would grow on them. Who hasn’t seen the film “The World According to Monsanto“?

A food monopoly means that not even during a time of bonanza do farmers get real benefits for adopting genetically modified seeds and planting their land with one single crop. In Burkina-Faso, a short boom in cotton prices ended abruptly after the government and regional cotton monopolies, decided to not only to increase the prices of fertilizers by 38 percent, but also to pay farmers as little as 39 percent of the world’s price for their ‘white gold”. That is what a monopoly look like, feels like and sounds like. Government and corporations in bed fighting against the farmers.

Companies such as Paris-based Geocoton and Paul Reinhart AG of Winterthur, Switzerland control the cotton markets in Burkina-Faso as the government allowed the creation of monopolies that mandate farmers to sell their cotton to them. A finger pointed committee is in charge of setting the rules that in turn determine cotton prices there. Now, those rules were changed, for the benefit of the corporations. The committee decided to alter the formula used to set prices. That cut payments for last season’s crop by 39 percent and reduced the base price announced in April.

Thomas J. Bassett, Illinois University

This should have been a year “when people can finally get a few dollars and put metal roof on their house,” said Thomas J. Bassett, a geography professor at the University of Illinois. Basset has written about west africa’s cotton farmers for many years and he believes these ways of doing business are the ones that spur poverty and misery, especially when they are adopted in places like Africa.  “… they result in poverty for producers and wealth for companies and traders. It’s subtle and it’s dastardly.”

So what might be the origin of the changes in the rules? According to Yannick Morillon, chief executive officer of Paris-based Geocoton, it is a math issue. His company, along with others that operate in Burkina-Faso had set up sale prices before the great boom in cotton prices occurred, therefore by following those contracts, they wouldn’t have ripped the results of an ever more valuable crop. The monopoly controllers decided to simply decrease payments and increase the price of fertilizers to make up for the “loss”. “The economic equation wasn’t possible any longer,” he said in an interview at Geocoton’s headquarters off the Champs Elysees. “And if the entire industry collapses, it’s the farmers that are affected.”

Although government complicity is one of the corporations’ closest allies, there is another component in this fraudulent formula. The companies that control the monopoly of cotton and other crops take advantage of the fact that most farmers are illiterate. Amado Kafando is one of those farmers. He says he doesn’t understand the formula used to pay him, and consequently, neither does he get the changes that affected the changes in prices. Although Kafando will get more money for his cotton than what he got last year, the total amount will be substantially less that he was supposed to obtain as profit from his cotton sale.

“The price has multiplied by three or four times, so at our level it should be multiplied three or four times as well,” Kafando said. “The monopolies are getting fat, and we are the ones who are feeding them.” One direct  result of the corporations’ fraudulent practices was the anger expressed by the farmers. The government’s response to that anger was a public relations campaign to pacify the farmers given their intentions to boycott the production of cotton. As it happens in many parts of the world, money spoke louder and farmers’ representatives were invited to meetings to talk about their anger and find a solution to the problem.

During one of those meetings, the agriculture minister, served as the corporations’ salesperson to calm everyone down and to offer them another deal. He said farmers should enter into a “new and dynamic contract” to allow the plantation and production of cotton to continue uninterrupted. With the government and the corporations playing in the same team, farmers really did not have any options to choose from. They had to hear the sales pitch, say yes, and hope for the best, or say no and go back home with their hands empty. Is that a real choice?

This is an example of what monopolies look like. It is simply another form of colonialism; legalized colonialism. Farmers must choose between not planting cotton, or growing it and selling it to the regional or national monopoly at whatever prices they want to pay.

Egg Contamination: Pretext to Pass “Food Safety” Bill

Senate Bill S.510 is called ‘The Food Safety Bill’. It should be called ‘The Food Monopoly Bill’. You see it will require all farms to purchase and use high-tech equipment that family farms and organic farms cannot afford and do not need. It will put these farms out of business. This is shameful because the bad food occasionally produced in this country does not come from these little farms- it comes from Big Agribiz and they already HAVE the hi-tech equipment required by this law. It seems the equipment hasn’t improved the food they produce, and they don’t like competition from responsible farmers – they prefer a Bill that hands them a monopoly over food production by destroying that competition. Further, this Bill is written in such an open-ended way, that if the Feds choose to, they can use it to stop you from having a home garden.

Also– the Feds are handing food distribution in this country over to Homeland Security. That means that food may be scarce in one part of the country, and plentiful in another, according to “politics”. Of course, if family and organic farms are wiped out, the food they move around will be largely processed and not very good, anyway. But it will be all that is available.

How to stop this travesty? Click below to send a message to your Senators that you are aware of the Food Safety Scam and you don’t want the Feds in your kitchen. Further – consider taking off the white gloves and calling both of your Senators’ offices and insist on knowing their positions on this Bill and let them know that you are against it — and furious that it is even being considered! Make sure your friends and family are aware of this Bill – the media will be touting it as a wonderful advancement- but they work for the same masters who own Congress. So spread the word and click below to make sure a letter from you gets to Washington. Your family’s health depends on it!

Bad eggs AND a Fake “Food Safety” Bill a coincidence? We don’t think so!

Take Action Here NOW!

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