Created in 1901, they once made synthetic products. Soon, they pioneered in producing toxic substances. They made Agent Orange – a defoliant used during the Vietnam war. They (along with Dow chemical – remember? Bhopal) were the biggest supplier to the US army. They made Aspartame – an artificial sweetener which was proved dangerous for health. They made RBST, an artificial growth hormone given to cows to make them produce more milk. The cows however, became infertile and often, died.
All this was not enough, until in 1982, when they decided to control the world wide food supply. Ever since Monsanto has never looked back. They have been selling seeds which are genetically modified and rarely tested. The test reports are often distorted, and governments are lobbied to promote them. They bundle these seeds with their pesticides and sell to farmers globally. This in-turn, prevents the poor farmers from saving and replanting harvested seeds, and has over the years, destroyed the seeds which were freely traded and exchanged for thousands of years. Yes, it was Monsanto, who, with their BT cotton seeds, devised the suicides of more than 1.2 lakh indebted farmers in India following crop failures.
Traditionally, many crops of developing countries had global value because of their localized cultivation. With genetically engineered crops which can grow in altogether different conditions, there is a tactical shift in trading patterns. Such is the force when technology, politics, greed and law work together. With Patent laws in place, Monsanto is on a roll. They price their seeds insanely, and distort farming practices. They violate the ethical intent of patent law, which is to balance private gain with public good, while leaving the way open for further innovation. These changes are made possible by massive agricultural subsidies in the developed world for corporate farming. So when an Indian farmer, with no choice in hand, pays in thousands for these hazardous seeds, he still does not pay for the seed per say. He pays for the ‘intellectual property’ to the government of the USA. How convenient.
Note- please find here a very interesting cartoon on Monsanto, giving further info on the same.