Skip to main content

Vandana Shiva accuses MNC Monsanto of "genocide" of Indian farmers, says Bt cotton led to death of 3 lakh farmers

By Our Representative
Close on the heels of a top Netherlands report giving a clean chit to the controversial American multinational corporation (MNC) Monsanto, saying the Bt cotton farms using its genetically modified (GM) seeds have negligible child labour compared to those using seeds from Indian companies, one of India's topmost environmentalists Vandana Shiva has sung a totally different tone.
Calling Monsanto a “corrupting, corporate giant”, Shiva says, the MNC has “no respect for the laws of the land” India, blaming it for being responsible for “a genocide” of Indian farmers, resulting in the “death of at least 300,000 of their brothers and sisters between 1995 and 2013, averaging 14,462 per year (1995-2000) and 16,743 per year (2001-2011).”
Shiva, in a well-researched article "We Must End Monsanto's Colonization", says, “This epidemic began in the cotton belt, in Maharashtra, where 53,818 farmers have taken their lives.” Referring to Monsanto’s website, Shiva says, even it admits “that pink bollworm ‘resistance [to Bt] is natural and expected’ and that the resistance to Bt ‘posed a significant threat to the nearly 5 million farmers who were planting the product in India’.”
“Eighty four percent of the farmer suicides have been attributed to Monsanto’s Bt cotton, placing the corporation’s greed and lawlessness at the heart of India’s agrarian crisis”, Shiva says, adding, Monsanto is “undemocratically imposed the false idea of ‘manufacturing’ and ‘inventing’ a seed, undermining robust Indian laws — that do not allow patents on life — and by taking patents on life through international trade law.”
In fact, Shiva claims, Monsanto does not have “a patent for Bt cotton”. Besides, the MNC’s collection of royalties as “trait value” or as a “fee for technology traits” – an intellectual property rights category "concocted by Monsanto lawyers – is illegal”, and the “illegal royalty collections have been collected from the most marginal farmers, pushing them to take their own lives.”
Shiva further says, “The smuggling of a controlled substance without approvals (and thus Monsanto’s very entry into India) is a violation and subversion of India’s Biosafety Regulations. This includes the illegal introduction of GMOs into the food system in India, which poses grave risks to the health of ordinary Indian citizens.”
More recently, Shiva says, Monsanto’s Bt cotton has "found its way into edible vegetable oils in India.” In fact, it notes, “Monsanto’s Bt cotton, without the support of necessary precautions and scientific studies, has illegally found its way into the Indian food chain, endangering the health of 1.26 billion Indians. The health effects of Bt Cotton seed oil in ‘premium vegetable oil’ must be investigated and the damage to people’s health must be compensated by Monsanto.”
Shiva points out, “India’s laws do not permit patents on seeds and in agriculture. But that hasn’t stopped Monsanto from collecting close to USD 900 million from small farmers in India, pushing them into crushing debt. This is roughly the same amount of money Monsanto spent buying The Climate Corporation — a weather big data company — in a bid to control climate data access in the future."
According to Shiva, “Monsanto-Mahyco Biotech Ltd collected royalties for Bt Cotton by going outside the law. "These are just clever names for royalty collection. In 2006, out of the INR 1600 (per 450 grams) price tag, INR 1250 — almost 80 percent—was charged by MMB as the trait value. Compared to Bt cotton, local seeds used to cost INR 5-9 per kg before Monsanto destroyed alternatives, including local hybrid seed supply, through licensing arrangements and acquisitions.”

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.

ISKCON UK clarifies after devotees contract virus 'due to' big temple congregation

Counterview Desk
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees became infectious because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community because of March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president Srutidharma Das, in which about 1,000 people participated.