Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.
Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts - and no income.
So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.
For official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month.
Simple, rural people, they are dying slow, agonising deaths. Most swallow insecticide - a pricey substance they were promised they would not need when they were coerced into growing expensive GM crops.
Excerpt from Macleans Magazine May 17, 1999. Article by Mark Nichols
"For 40 years, Percy Schmeiser has grown canola on his farm near Bruno, Sask., about 80 km east of Saskatoon, usually sowing each crop of the oil-rich plants with seeds saved from the previous harvest. And he has never, says Schmeiser, purchased seed from the St. Louis, Mo.-based agricultural and biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. Even so, he says that more than 320 hectares of his land is now "contaminated" by Monsanto's herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready canola, a man made variety produced by a controversial process known as genetic engineering. And, like hundreds of other North American farmer, Schmeiser has felt the sting of Monsanto's long legal arm: last August the company took the 68-year-old farmer to court, claiming he illegally planted the firm's canola without paying a $37-per-hectare fee for the privilege. Unlike scores of similarly accused North American farmers who have reached out-of-court settlements with Monsanto, Schmeiser fought back. He claims Monsanto investigators trespassed on his land -- and that company seed could easily have blown on to his soil from passing canola-laden trucks. "I never put those plants on my land," says Schmeiser. "The question is, where do Monsanto's rights end and mine begin?"
"The Indian Ministry of Agriculture [Sharad Pawar] admits to the following figures: there were 100,000 suicides by farmers between 1993 and 2003. And between 2003 and October 2006, there have been some 16,000 suicides by farmers each year. In total, between 1993 and 2006, there were around 150,000 suicide by farmers, 30 a day for 13 years" (based on statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau)
With Monsanto's terminator technology, they will sell seeds to farmers to plant crops. But these seeds have been genetically-engineered so that when the crops are harvested, all new seeds from these crops are sterile (e.g., dead, unusable). This forces farmers to pay Monsanto every year for new seeds if they want to grow their crops.
Pork is the world’s most widely consumed meat protein and demand continues to grow as consumer incomes rise in countries such as China. So it is understandable that a company like Monsanto is looking for ways to capture a piece of that action.
The same fears arise when considering a patent on the method by which a pig was bred or specific traits that pig exhibits. “Any pigs that would be produced using this reproductive technique would be covered by these patents,” said Monsanto spokesman Chris Horner in a report.
But these protests have come at significant costs. In Bolivia, the government responded to protests against an agreement which went so far as to privatize rainwater in the province of Cochabamba with brute force and a martial lockdown. In the ensuing bedlam, a 17-year-old boy was killed when police catapulted a tear gas canister into his head. Bechtel, the company which had secured the contract for the privatization, finally chose to withdraw in the face of such strong opposition.
Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
reply to post by eventHorizon
Historically, this bodes poorly for those who push their greed too far. And, if we are so passive as to starve to death rather than revolt, I have to say that as a species, we really wouldnt be a very viable one any way. We would almost deserve extinction in that case.
According to the World Health Organization, hunger is the gravest single threat to the world's public health.According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more than 25,000 people died of starvation every day in 2003, and as of 2001 to 2003, about 800 million people were chronically undernourished. The WHO also states that malnutrition is by far the biggest contributor to child mortality, present in half of all cases. Scientists say millions of people face starvation following an outbreak of a deadly new strain of blight, known as Ug99, which is spreading across the wheat fields of Africa and Asia.
Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
Even Josef Stalin said; ""One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic."
POOR Indian farmers are not driven to suicide by the pressures of growing genetically modified cotton, concludes a comprehensive review published last month - if anything, suicides among farmers have fallen since Bt cotton was introduced by Monsanto in 2002, quite steeply in some states.
"It is not only inaccurate, but simply wrong to blame the use of Bt cotton as the primary cause of farmer suicides in India," says the report by independent think tank, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The report says that a key driver of suicide in Indian farmers is local and federal governments' failure to provide practical and financial support to poor farmers. This has forced them to rely on loan sharks and moneylenders who charge exorbitant rates of interest of up to 36 per cent.
The Real Victor in Iraq: Monsanto
Written by Jeanne Roberts
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Five years of occupation, more than $558 billion spent, 4,182 U.S. soldiers and 655,000 Iraqi civilians dead, and it now looks like Monsanto (NYSE.MON - $71.95) is going to be the real victor in Iraq thanks to a postwar document known as Order 81.
Part of the infamous 100 Orders, Order 81 mandates that Iraq’s commercial-scale farmers must now purchase "registered” seeds. These are available through agribusiness giants like Monsanto, Cargill Corporation (a private company) and the World Wide Wheat Company (also private), but Monsanto is far and away the most significant player in the registered seed market.
Monsanto’s seeds are “terminator” seeds. This means they are inherently sterile, and any seed they produce does not give birth to more plants.
What makes this Order 81 even more outrageous is that Iraqi farmers have been saving wheat and barley seeds since at least 4000 BC, when irrigated agriculture first emerged, and probably even to about 8000 BC, when wheat was first domesticated. Mesopotamia's farmers have now been trumped by white-smocked, corporate bio-engineers from Florida who strive to replace hundreds of natural varieties with a handful of genetically scrambled hybrids