The Western media is steeped in denial about the true damage being caused by genetically modified (GM) crops, especially in the developing Third World. But despite the lies you may have heard from mainstream news sources, nearly 300,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995 as a direct result of mounting debt and crop failures associated with GMO crops, and mainly cotton crops that were forcibly converted to patented, transgenic varieties owned by Big Biotech.
A report by India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) revealed that between 1995 and 2011, 290,740 farmer suicides had taken place due to economic failure, poverty and bankruptcy caused by GMO adoption. And in the years since that time, for which there is no official data, there have more than likely been thousands of additional suicides, bringing this number to at least 300,000 and possibly higher.
As explained in a thorough report by philosopher, physicist and environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva, GMO crop technologies are a Trojan Horse that multinational corporations are using to seize control of the global food supply. With false promises of increased yields and lower costs, corporations like Monsanto have swooped in and locked Indian farmers into contractual agreements that make them dependent on a centralised agricultural system that, in many cases, ends up bankrupting them.
Before Monsanto came along and changed everything( thanks to the 1988 Seed Policy imposed by the World Bank), Indian farmers grew heritage cotton amidst a variety of other crops, which effectively guarded them against invasive species and insect pests. Since the seeds of these crops were natural, farmers could save them year after year and replant them without having to pay royalties for new seeds.
The system wasn’t perfect, of course. But it did allow Indian farmers the freedom to control their own agricultural destinies and didn’t plunge them into excessive debt, which is what many of them now face as a result of Monsanto’s GMOs. According to Dr. Shiva’s extensive research, the new system has essentially created slaves out of India’s farmers, who are now locked into contractual agreements with Big Biotech, with no way of escape.
“Through patents on seed, Monsanto has become the ‘Life Lord’ of our planet, collecting rents for life’s renewal from farmers, the original breeders,” wrote Dr. Shiva for Global Research.
“These are seeds of deception — the deception that Monsanto is the creator of seeds and life; the deception that while Monsanto sues farmers and traps them in debt, it pretends to be working for farmers’ welfare, and the deception that GMOs feed the world. GMOs are failing to control pests and weeds, and have instead led to the emergence of superpests and superweeds.”
Monsanto illegally seized control of 95 percent of India’s cotton seeds, with no consequences
Dr. Shiva documents the entry of Monsanto into India beginning in the late 1980s, citing its incremental takeover of the nation’s agricultural system. It all began when India deregulated its seed sector, which led to the gradual concentration of the seed sector. Monsanto proceeded to buy up all the seed companies it could get its hands on, creating joint ventures and licensing agreements with those that remained.
In time, the common pool of seeds available to Indian farmers came to be comprised almost solely of patented Monsanto seeds, which were branded and marketed as miracle seeds that would make farmers rich and supply food for everyone. Once adopted, however, these “terminator” seeds turned out to have the opposite effect — hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers ended up losing their crops, their bank accounts, their livelihoods and in many cases their lives, as a result of taking the GMO bait.
“[S]eed which had been the farmers’ common resource became the ‘intellectual property’ of Monsanto, for which it started collecting royalties, thus raising the costs of seed,” explained Dr. Shiva. “[O]pen pollinated cotton seeds were displaced by hybrids, including GMO hybrids. … [C]otton which had earlier been grown as a mixture with food crops now had to be grown as a monoculture, with higher vulnerability to pests, disease, drought and crop failure.”
Now, Monsanto owns a whopping 95 percent of India’s cotton seeds, which by any accepted definitions of the word is a near-total monopoly. It was only able to achieve this, of course, through deception and illegal activity, including open-air field trials that it conducted back in the late 1990s and which had never been approved by India’s government. Monsanto continued these trials anyway, despite their illegality, and eventually took control of the entire industry.
“Monsanto’s seed monopolies, the destruction of alternatives, the collection of superprofits in the form of royalties, and the increasing vulnerability of monocultures has created a context for debt, suicides and agrarian distress which is driving the farmers’ suicide epidemic in India,” Dr. Shiva conclusively stated.