Great Seed Robbery

By Vandana Shiva
Deccan Chronicle

Seed sovereignty is the foundation of food sovereignty. Seed freedom is the foundation of food freedom.

The seed, the source of life, the embodiment of our biological and cultural diversity, the link between the past and the future of evolution, the common property of past, present and future generations of farming communities who have been seed breeders, is today being stolen from the farmers and being sold back to us as “propriety seed” owned by corporations like the US-headquartered Monsanto.

Under pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, various state governments are signing MoUs (memorandums of understanding) with seed corporations to privatise our rich and diverse genetic heritage. For example, the government of Rajasthan has signed seven MoUs with Monsanto, Advanta, DCM-Shriram, Kanchan Jyoti Agro Industries, PHI Seeds Pvt. Ltd, Krishidhan Seeds and J.K. Agri Genetics.

The Rajasthan government’s MoU with Monsanto, for example, focuses on maize, cotton, and vegetables (hot pepper, tomato, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower and water melon). Monsanto controls the cottonseed market in India and globally. Monsanto also controls 97 per cent of the worldwide maize market and 63.5 per cent of the genetically-modified (GM) cotton market. DuPont, in fact, had to initiate anti-trust investigations in the US because of Monsanto’s growing seed monopoly. Sixty Indian seed companies have licensing arrangements with Monsanto, which has the intellectual property on Bt. cotton.

In addition, Monsanto has cross-licensing arrangements with BASF, Bayer, DuPont, Sygenta and Dow to share patented, genetically-engineered seed traits with each other. The giant seed corporations are not competing with each other. They are competing with peasants and farmers over the control of the seed supply. And, in effect, monopolies over seed are being established through mergers and cross-licensing arrangements.

Monsanto, which controls 95 per cent of the cottonseed market, has pushed the price of seed from `7 per kg to `3,600 per kg, with nearly half being royalty payments. It was extracting `1,000 crores per annum as royalty from Indian farmers before Andhra Pradesh sued it in the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission.

The commodified seed is ecologically incomplete and ruptured at two levels: First, it does not reproduce itself, while, by definition, seed is a regenerative resource. Genetic resources are thus, through technology, transformed from a renewable into a non-renewable resource. Second, it does not produce by itself; it needs the help of purchased inputs. And, as the seed and chemical companies merge, the dependence on inputs will increase.

Read more at Deccan Chronicle

7 responses to “Great Seed Robbery

  1. Vandana , Even if we have good seed how do we grow food in irradiated soil? How do we remove plutonium and other horrendous particles from the soil and our plants? Thanks, Martin.

  2. Martin, invest in a greenhouse and look into square foot gardening. I’m going to try it this year. It uses 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost. The bagged stuff should be pre-fukishima….good luck!

  3. Recall the history of Ireland in the 1840’s when her monocloned harvest was blighted. The ‘potato famine’ instigated a massive emigration from the Emerald Isle to the USA. These egregious companies are tinkering with God’s gifts to us.
    These entities are hand-in-glove with UN’s A21. The ‘peasants’ will gravitate to urban areas in which they will be forced to consume vacuous CODEX alimentarius. The goal, of course, is to decimate world population by 80 to 90% attrition.
    The chameleon and thief in the blight house is the third horseman, and the fourth rider is the UN.

  4. True that Albert… but no one will listen until they are ready to hear it, and that will be the time when it affects them personally, sadly.

  5. Pandora’s box has been opened. Who has the power to close it and is this evil already past the point of no return? I hate to be negative; but I don’t see much hope, as long as the masses refuse to wake up and denounce this evil!

  6. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Great Seed Robbery | Food Freedom

  7. Pingback: El robo de las semillas por parte de las Corporaciones « noticias de abajo

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