Gates Foundation Invests in Monsanto

By Travis English
AGRA Watch

Farmers and civil society organizations around the world are outraged by the recent discovery of further connections between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and agrichemical titan Monsanto. Last week, a financial website published the Gates Foundation’s investment portfolio, including 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock with an estimated worth of $23.1 million purchased in the second quarter of 2010 (see the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission). This marks a substantial increase from its previous holdings, valued at just over $360,000 (see the Foundation’s 2008 990 Form).

“The Foundation’s direct investment in Monsanto is problematic on two primary levels,” said Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering. “First, Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling environmental track record. The strong connections to Monsanto cast serious doubt on the Foundation’s heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among small-scale farmers. Second, this investment represents an enormous conflict of interests.”

Monsanto has already negatively impacted agriculture in African countries. For example, in South Africa in 2009, Monsanto’s genetically modified maize failed to produce kernels and hundreds of farmers were devastated. According to Mariam Mayet, environmental attorney and director of the Africa Centre for Biosafety in Johannesburg, some farmers suffered up to an 80% crop failure. While Monsanto compensated the large-scale farmers to whom it directly sold the faulty product, it gave nothing to the small-scale farmers to whom it had handed out free sachets of seeds. “When the economic power of Gates is coupled with the irresponsibility of Monsanto, the outlook for African smallholders is not very promising,” said Mayet. Monsanto’s aggressive patenting practices have also monopolized control over seed in ways that deny farmers control over their own harvest, going so far as to sue—and bankrupt—farmers for “patent infringement.”

News of the Foundation’s recent Monsanto investment has confirmed the misgivings of many farmers and sustainable agriculture advocates in Africa, among them the Kenya Biodiversity Coalition, who commented, “We have long suspected that the founders of AGRA—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—had a long and more intimate affair with Monsanto.” Indeed, according to Travis English, researcher with AGRA Watch, “The Foundation’s ownership of Monsanto stock is emblematic of a deeper, more long-standing involvement with the corporation, particularly in Africa.”

Read full post at AGRA Watch

4 responses to “Gates Foundation Invests in Monsanto

  1. It figures. Gates has left humanity and he’s now part of the new world Odour.

  2. a new level of LOW for the gatesgoon,
    the man and his wife are a menace to the safety of the food and environment and health of us all!
    the fake AGW and the huge upsurge in claims of GM will beat the warming food problems started to ring bells for me,
    now we hear this, added to his massive investment in UNapproved geo engineering idiocy, his Vaccines and pop control.
    anyone else think its suss, that the USA always BANNED ANY birth control, or even advice for 3rd world charity recipients…now a sudden reversal of that.
    I just got a press release on Monsanto and the WEST Aus Govt and some agritech co all being sooo matey and wanting to push GM WHEAT!!! to aussies.
    over my dead body.
    con job, public private and govt. collusion and lies abound.

  3. Pingback: Gates Foundation Invests in Monsanto (via Food Freedom) « OntheWilderSide

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