Last week, while the country was besieged with crippling food and energy shortages, the government authorised the Ministry of Agriculture to finalize a deal with Monsanto for the introduction of BT cotton. BT cotton’s global record, failures and dangers were not adequately publicised in the media. There has been no public debate to discuss its viability nor was it raised in parliament, but instead a deliberate attempt is being made to squeeze this final agreement into the agricultural crops of Pakistan, under the table very quickly
Monsanto is a chemical company posing as an agricultural company specializes in toxic, dependency-creating, genetically-engineered crops and pharmaceuticals. Monsanto is one of the world’s most notorious multinationals that has been caught red-handed for bribery, false studies and evaluations, and paying off scientists for favourable reports. It has been responsible for over 10,000 farmer suicides and thousands of poisoned sheep in India alone. Its GE products are banned in countries including in Europe after painful experiences.
“Terminator” seed controversy
In June 2007, Monsanto acquired Delta & Pine Land Company, a company that had been involved with a seed technology nicknamed “Terminator”, which produces plants that produce sterile seed to prevent farmers from replanting their crop’s seed, and are instead forced to continue purchasing seeds from Monsanto for every planting. In recent years, widespread opposition from environmental organizations and farmer associations has grown, mainly out of the concerns that these seeds increase farmers’ dependency on seed suppliers (having to buy these each year for seeding new crops).
Ed Note: Mind you, im not against using GM seeds for high yield, but it seems Monsanto’s variety off GM Terminator seeds have been proven to have far more disastrous consequences proven repeatedly world from India, Brazil, Argentina and Europe
India & Brazil Reject Monsanto
Over the past month there have been countless protests all over India and Brazil demanding Monsanto be thrown out of their countries. In their other products that have turned sour for Monsanto is their Soya Bean product it increased their Soya Bean yield from 75% to 175% almost equal to a £3bn profits for farmers but the genetically modified soya bean seed has contaminated the soil in other neighboring lands making cultivation of other agricultural products nearly impossible while also doubling the need for herbicidal in those areas,as the soya bean exhibits itself as a very damaging weed
Bovine Growth Hormone in Milk
Monsanto sparked controversy with the introduction of Bovine somatotropin, it is a hormone that is injected into cows to increase milk production, causing a number of problems with the milk, among them, raising levels of pus, antibiotic residues, and a cancer accelerating hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 is a natural hormone found in the milk of both humans and cows causing the quick growth of infants. Though this hormone is naturally found in mothers to be fed to their infants it has an adverse affect on non-infants.
In 1997, Fox News reportedly bowed to pressure from Monsanto to suppress an investigative report on the health risks associated with Monsanto’s bovine growth hormone product, Posilac, a synthetic drug used to increase milk production in cows, is banned in most first-world countries, with the exception of the United States, where it can be found in much of the milk supply. Fox pressured its reporters, Steve Wilson and Jane Akre, to alter their report, despite evidence that Monsanto had lied about the risks of contaminated milk and infected cattle. The reporters refused to comply, and were eventually fired. Wilson and Akre then sued Fox News in Florida state court, claiming they could not be fired for refusing to do something that they believed to be illegal.
Monsanto in Pakistan
In Pakistan the deal is intriguingly being made under cover of expressing concern for the food shortage in the country. Reports from top circles have indicated that their is a great deal of urgency within the Ministry of Agriculture to finalize Monsanto understanding to an extent that the Min of Agriculture approved the contract within a day of it having been floated and it is now in the planning stages of implementation and disbursement.
Genetically Engineered crops have been frequently used in agriculture, for example Pakistan Tobacco uses a special seed which it provides to its growers here in Pakistan in exchange for a high quality yield that caters to its signature blend of tobacco being used in their cigarettes. GM products if manufactured and distributed responsibly can help increase the yield and quality but it is quite apparent that the Monsanto’s version of Terminator seed is fundamentally flawed to cause our country more harm then good.
Monsanto has been known to bribe its way into contracts and I suspect some serious finger pointing might be undertaken to question the usage of this product in Pakistan specially when it has been proven to have extensively failed worldwide, why should we permit its usage in our country?
Monsanto is literally being handed the opportunity on a silver platter to take over our agriculture wholesale. Our biodiversity stands to be wiped out. Far from extending long-denied land rights and food security to peasant masses and women, it will mean handing overriding rights and control of our food supply to Monsanto — the fox guarding the hen-house.
It would appear that vested interests in Pakistan are pushing the Monsanto deal while people were diverted and overwhelmed by the judges’ issue, food shortage, and high food and petrol prices. Lets ensure that we are not at the receiving end of such failing technologies which may threaten the agricultural industry simple so that a few people can rep the befits while the rest of the country goes to the dogs