Those who control the world’s distribution of seeds, control the world’s food supply and Monsanto is dominating the global seed market. It is currently the world’s largest seed company, after only a decade of entering the industry.
Although boasting to be “a relatively new company,” Monsanto isn’t a new company per se. In the late 1990’s the company split off from their chemical manufacturing division. It created a new company called Solutia to handle the chemicals and any lawsuits that the old Monsanto had acquired over the past century.
Back in 1901, the original Monsanto created its first product Saccharin, an artificial sweetener that The Coca-Cola Company used in its soft-drinks. Since its seemly harmless beginnings, Monsanto has produced plastics, fertilizers, pesticides and hazardous chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s). This was followed by the development of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and recombinant bovine growth hormones (rBGH’s). Monsanto created the herbicide known as Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam War to destroy the dense foliage of the jungle. But that was the old Monsanto.
The company today has ambitious goals to increase the world’s food production through genetically modified crops. By the year 2050 the global population is predicted to reach more than 9 million. Monsanto believes that it is addressing this issue by creating seeds that produce higher yields with the same amount of land and resources.
The hybrid seeds, that Monsanto is currently marketing in India, have the potential for higher yields and pest resistance. However, the YouTube clip that we watched mentioned that the lower-income Indian cotton farmer couldn’t afford the genetically modified seeds, not to mention the pesticide, fertilizer and improved irrigation needed for a successful crop.
The Indian farmers have little say in what seeds they purchase because Monsanto has bought-out many of the local seed companies. Retaining the local company’s name, Monsanto is using these well known labels to sell its seeds.
The future is uncertain about the effects of the genetically modified organisms that companies like Monsanto create. With pesticides and herbicides, comes insects that develop a resistance to these chemicals. Are we breeding chemical-resistant super bugs in the process? What health concerns may arise because of these modified foods? In the near future will we have fewer options when it comes to buying purely organic foods?
– Matt Bristow
I recommend watching this clip on YouTube about Monsanto and rBGH’s.
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