More on the Enslavement of Nature
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
The Privatization of Natural Processes
More on Seed Slavery
If you missed our earlier notice about this new attempt by a few large companies to collect rent by destroying nature’s fertility, click here first. Below is a further description of the situation, excerpted from the Progressive Populist.
by A.V. Krebs
In its pursuit of seeking to dominate the biotech marketplace Monsanto has received sharp criticism for the variety of the means it has pursued in seeking market dominance.
“We call it terminator technology,” said Shand, RAFI’s research director. “It will force farmers to return to the same company year after year for their seeds.” Shand was singling out a new technique, developed by USDA researchers and the Delta and Pine Land Co., that makes seeds sterile. The technique has been sowing controversy among critics who say it will protect big-business profits while unfairly ending the age-old farm practice of saving a crop’s seeds for next year.
Monopolies Have No Need for Quality
Monsanto Co. recently offered a settlement of several million dollars to some Mississippi Delta farmers who said the company’s Roundup Ready cotton seed delivered inferior yields. The offer, first reported by the New York Times, was to settle complaints, filed last summer by about 60 to 70 Delta farmers, that the genetically engineered seed produced yields that were lower than expected. The cotton seed was created to resist harm from crop spraying with Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Monsanto spokesperson Scarlett Foster said the situation was “extremely unusual.” It was, she said, “an isolated incident,” of the under performing cotton seed. “Our studies indicate it wasn’t technology but rather extreme and unusual weather patterns.”
A Glimpse of the Near Future
Last April the Omaha World-Herald reported that Monsanto was sending “seed cops,” into Nebraska’s farming communities bent on building cases of seed piracy against local dealers, in a bizarre twist in a new era for farming, when the corporation’s seed patents conflict with the tradition of saving seed from a harvest to plant in another year. The incident, the paper noted, testified to the hardball that a company was willing to play to nab violators, going so far as to send undercover “seed cops” to follow up on tips and rumors. Monsanto Co. admitted it had hired Pinkerton detectives to investigate hundreds of tips in 20 states about illegal sales of Roundup Ready soybean seed.
If farmers are forced to buy seeds every year, what might the effects be for them, for food prices, for their ability to choose crops, for biodiversity, and for you personally? Let us know!