Wednesday, 18 January 2012
CASE 381 - Monsanto
The Monsanto Company is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world's leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed in the Roundup brand of herbicides, and in other brands. Monsanto is also the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed; it provides the technology in 90% of the genetically engineered seeds used in the US market. It is headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri. Agracetus, owned by Monsanto, exclusively produces Roundup Ready soybean seed for the commercial market. In 2005, it finalized the purchase of Seminis Inc, making it the world's largest conventional seed company.
Monsanto has recently begun to unleash the most dangerous threat to the health of world population -- genetically-engineered foods (also known as "frankenfoods"). Aspartame destroys the health only in those who use it. Because Monsanto's frankenfoods are unlabeled, they have the potential to cause health damage to nearly everyone. They are in the process of acquiring and patenting their newest technology, known as "Terminator Technology." This technology is currently the greatest threat to humanity. If it is used by Monsanto on a large-scale basis, it will inevitably lead to famine and starvation on a worldwide basis. Billions of people on the planet are supported by farmers who save seeds from the crops and replant these seeds the following year. Seeds are planted. The crop is harvested. And the seeds from the harvest are replanted the following year. Most farmers cannot afford to buy new seeds every year, so collecting and replanting seeds is a crucial part of the agricultural cycle. This is the way food has been grown successfully for thousands of years.
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.
In less rich countries, hundreds of millions of people rely heavily on small farms which produce foods for the region. If these farms begin to use Monsanto's terminator technology, and cannot afford to buy new genetically engineered seeds from Monsanto the following year, many of the people in the region may starve. Under normal circumstances, food could be brought in from other regions. However, many of those other regions will likely have the same problems with famine due to Monsanto's terminator technology.