by ecohookups.com contributor: Marie Watkiss
Monsanto gifted the Haitian people an Easter gift of over 60,000 seed sacks of their hybrid corn seeds and other vegetable seeds, making a grand total of over 400 tons of seeds. Monsanto gifted these seeds to the people of Haiti as a direct response to the dwindling supply of maize after the Haitian farmers and their families used the maize seed to help feed refugees. Monsanto saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on a high demand seed market. This gift was not just a gift of ordinary seed but Monsanto sought to bequeath the Haitians seed mixed with the fungicide Maxim XO - the Environmental Protection Agency deems it too toxic to sell for home or garden use stipulating that any agricultural worker planting the seeds should wear special protective apparel. Maxim XO or Thiram (aka Thiuram in Japan) can, in cases of extended exposure, affect the central nervous system and additionally the thyroid gland, kidneys and liver. In email exchanges to the Ministry of Agriculture, Monsanto had not intimated any explanation of the dangers, or sought to make any provision (including special clothing or training) for the farmers who would plant the seeds.
This cocktail of sickness would have also achieved a sinister return investment of ensuring the Haitian farmers would have to purchase from Monsanto for future crops as the seed was unable to be saved due to the ‘terminator seeds’ special DNA altered seeds manufactured by Monsanto. Any rogue seeds that do occasionally birth fertile seed may not be replanted under Monsanto contract. Because of the changes in DNA the crop would no longer as viable as native crops. What would have been a renewable crop becomes a drain on farmers. Indian author of ‘The Suicide Economy Of Corporate Globalisation,’ Vandana Shiva says that what was ‘a free resource available on farms became a commodity which farmers were forced to buy every year. This increases poverty and leads to indebtedness. As debts increase and become unpayable, farmers are compelled to sell kidneys or even commit suicide’
Together with Syngenta, Dupont and Bayer, Monsanto controls more than half of the world’s seeds. [La Vía Campesina] The company holds almost 650 seed patents, most of them for cotton, corn and soy, and almost 30% of the share of all biotech research and development. Monsanto came to own such a vast supply by buying major seed companies to stifle competition, patenting genetic modifications to plant varieties, and suing small farmers.’
The Caribbean Takes A Stand Against Monsanto
Baskets At Dawn
The stand was in Hinche the battle was over the loss of their livelihoods and the impoverished future of Haitian farming. Their reply was an emphatic chanting of ‘long live the native maize seed’ as they burnt the toxic Monsanto seeds.
Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, executive director of the Peasant Movement of Papay calls Monsanto’s ploy ‘a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds ... and on what is left of our environment in Haiti’ and that ‘The Haitian government is using the earthquake to sell the country to the multinationals!.’