by: Tony Isaacs
(SilverBulletin) In what many believe to be an attempt to backdoor its products into a new market, Monsanto has donated hundreds of tons of patented hybrid seeds, fertilizers and pesticides to earthquake stricken Haiti. Initially, Monsanto planned to donate GMO "Roundup ready" seeds, but that offer was rejected by Haiti's Ministry of Agriculture. Though Monsanto termed their donation an effort to help provide earthquake relief, Monsanto's "generosity" is being met with skepticism and outright rejection.
Peasant leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste told IPS News: Farmers want to preserve their traditional "organic agriculture that respects the environment and fights against its degradation. We defend native seeds and the rights of peasants on their land." Jean-Batiste also said "Fighting hybrid and GMO seeds is critical to save our diversity and our agriculture" and maintained that a "county has a right to define it own agricultural policies, to grow first for the family and then for local market, to grow healthy food in a way which respects the environment and Mother Earth."
Another peasant farmer stated, "Seeds and water are the common patrimony of humanity."
Global Research called Monsanto's initial donation of 475 tons of hybrid seeds and chemicals a "new earthquake" and "deadly gift".
The corn seeds Monsanto donated to Haiti have been treated with the fungicide Maxim XO, while the calypso tomato seeds were treated with Thiram. Thiram is a highly toxic chemical which the EPA examined and deemed to be so dangerous that agricultural workers are now mandated to wear protective clothing when handling them.
Multinational seed giant Monsanto is known around the world for its aggressive GMO and hybrid policies. It is also known for intimidating and suing farmers and small agricultural companies it claims have violated its contracts and patents, including farmers whose fields have been contaminated by pollen from adjacent genetically engineered crops or who have had voluntary seed sprout from a previous year's crop. By 2007 Monsanto had already collected over $21.5 million in judgments in the U.S. alone.
Monsanto is also infamously known for the deaths and health problems resulting from its highly toxic herbicide product Agent Orange, which caused cancer in large numbers of U.S. Veterans. The Vietnamese government claims that 400,000 of their citizens died or were disabled and 500,000 children were born with birth defects as a result of Agent Orange.
While Monsanto is calling the seeds a donation, it isn't hard to see how the company will benefit by getting farmers hooked on a need that only it can supply, as it has done elsewhere around the world – most notably in the U.S. and Canada. Once Monsantos seeds are introduced, they often also profit from sales of their fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides, whose demand usually increases in proportion to the use of its seeds.
Seed company giants Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont and Bayer control more than half of the world's seed patents. Monsanto has almost 650 seed patents, most of which are for cotton, corn, and soy. The company also owns almost 30 percent of the share of all the world's biotechnology research and development.
The world's largest confederation of farmers, Via Campesina, has called Monsanto one of the "principal enemies of peasant sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty for all peoples."