You can’t turn the on the news without hearing a headline concerning Monsanto, it seems.
From studies indicating their glyphosate-containing herbicide to be linked with a list of degenerative health concerns, to Dr. Oz being smear-campaigned by the big agriculture company, it’s very clear that there is a food feud going on in the world.
But if one delves deeper into the claims of activists and compares research being presented by Big-Ag companies and opposing campaigns, they, too, may come to the same conclusion countries like El Salvador have: that they – and the world – would be better off without biotech companies’ influence.
In fact, having come to this conclusion, the country of El Salvador is booting companies like Monsanto from meddling in its growing methods. Growers in this country know the importance of producing their own seeds, as well as the necessity to avoid those produced by bioengineering giants. In effect, they’ve successfully defied Monsanto by preventing it from supplying El Salvador with it seeds.
Said Juan Luna Vides, the director of diversified production for the Mangrove Association, a nongovernmental organization that was created to support a grassroots social movement for environmental conservation in El Salvador:
“Remember that Monsanto is together with DuPont, Pioneer, all the large businesses that control the world’s seed market. Unfortunately, many of the governments in Latin America, or perhaps the world, have beneficiary relationships with these companies.”
The Ministry of Agriculture recently released a new round of contracts to provide seed to subsistence farmers across the country.
As shared by Truth-Out, many farmers see the importance of keeping their seed supply local. Small-scale seed producer, Santos Cayetan, even commented that “We are losing the traditions of local seed, so we are trying to maintain it here. Native seeds don’t have what these other seeds have that come with the chemicals, based in chemicals.”
Cayetan, who is a recipient of corn seed from the government program that uses local, GMO-free seeds and also works to grow native corn, said that the difference between using local seed versus Monsanto’s is quite amazing.
“[Native seeds are] always the same, they always produce, and they’re always there,” he said. “[Native seeds] are drought resistant.”
Other farmers have also commented on the fact that local seed has been adapted to the conditions specific to the region, and Monsanto’s seed has not. The local seed grows well even in dry soil. Farmers can also save and re-use seed without having to worry about patent infringement, as well as having to repurchase seed every season since much of the GM seed Monsanto, Pioneer, and others sell is meant to self-destruct after just one season, otherwise known as suicide seed.
And don’t forget, like in India, the main agenda of biotech companies is to force farmers to purchase the company’s seeds year after year at highly inflated prices. Of course, the seeds also rely on toxic industrial fertilizers which many countries have now also banned due to carcinogenic risk).
“[Using only local seed] would be much better [for Salvadoran farmers]; they wouldn’t have to buy seeds every year,” Vides added. “It has to do with generating the conditions to promote food security … you can produce what you consume … produce and consume the same product.”
Clearly, there’s intelligent intention behind El Salvador’s motive to restrict biotech companies from meddling in their growing methods.
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