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Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

Posted by dicot (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 29, 12 at 18:37

Not my claim, this is the assertion made in the new film Bitter Seeds, that Indian farmers who slipping into debt because of the false claims and terminator policies of Monsanto kills themselves every 30 seconds out of sheer hopelessness. Can this possibly be true? If it's even 1/100th that amount, isn't it a monstrous crime?
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'Bitter Seeds’ leads a call to action against GMOs

By Blair Madole
Thursday, February 16,2012

In the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack sells everything he owns for a handful of magic beans. It works out for Jack. He takes on the Giant, wins, and returns home to a happy mother (though she may not send him to market again responsible for the sale of their only livestock).

The story that unfolds in the documentary Bitter Seeds, featured at the Boulder International Film Festival, is about farmers who wager it all on what are promised to be miracle seeds, but land dust and failed crops rather than a magic bean pole. Their ending is far more grim.

A quarter of a million farmers in India have committed suicide in the last 16 years, according to Bitter Seeds. This equates to one farmer killing himself every 30 minutes, all because the miracle cotton seeds they were sold with the promise they would increase yield drove them into debt and failed to produce an ample return. In this tale, the giant they faced is GMO seed producer Monsanto, and they lost.

Historically, Indian farmers have cultivated their own seeds each year. However, when genetically modified seeds were introduced into the market after the World Trade Organization forced India to open its doors to foreign seed companies, things changed. According to Bitter Seeds, directed by Micha X. Peled, Indian farmers were told that, although the seeds are exorbitantly priced, they would produce double the farmers’ normal yield and resist pests. The farmers were not told that the seeds required large amounts of water rarely found in India.

Farmers sought loans from the bank or, when that option failed, signed over their land for a loan from illegal moneylenders who charge extremely high interest rates. They were left relying heavily on a high yield of crops in order to keep their land, and when the crop failed, as it so often did because of lack of water, the farmers had nothing to keep them going.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bitter Seeds trailer


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 29, 12 at 21:06

Big Ag marches on.


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

farmers have been killing themselves in India do to bad choices or crop failure long before gmo cotton was invented and will do so. even if India banned it. the farm loan system in India has always been bad. US farmer might get a loan with interest rate of 3-5% loans India start at 8% if you are lucky higher for not so lucky. Do to lack of modern storage methods of food in India over 40% the harvests goes bad before it reaches the table of that who will consume it.
that does not even count cotton which is cash crop for textiles.

the corruption in India also part of it's agricultural problems.


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

Thats after the Farmer pays all the petty graft along the way & graft in India is monumental!


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

We've discussed this before, too... Big Ag like Monsanto will have a lot to answer for due to their insatiable greed... just like everyone else following that road to unethically gained riches...


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

The volume of debt generated by adopting gm cotton is way out of proportion to returns. Yes, the gmo is mostly resistant to boll weavils and other larvae of the moth family but not to a host of other pests and maladies that were held in check from the use of broad-spectrum pesticides. The problems are worse when destitute farmers are told not to grow food but to grow industrial crops for which there is credit available and not for foodstuffs.

Our planleaf3 is accepting as gospel the spin put out by Monsanto and its Indian partners.


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

marshallz10 "Our planleaf3 is accepting as gospel the spin put out by Monsanto and its Indian partners."

I am not accepting Monsanto's spin at all.
I am just point out that if you took monsanto out of the picture in India the agriculture sector would still be a mess there.


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

Really? A heavily rural population of 1.2 or more billion people is comprised of a vast majority of subsistence farmers and a few agricultural enterprises that practice modern agriculture. For India to modernize its agricultural sector to world standards, half a billion people would have to find other employment.

It is not agriculture that is a mess in India. Get a grip or better study up on the subject.


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

marshallz10 true a large percentage of the subsistence farmers would have to find other employment. but given loss of so much food though lack modern storage for the food. if even 20% of India harvest was to not go to waste do to the storage issue India would be better off and so would farmers.
India need to work out it problems. No matter how it choose to try to fix it's agriculture issue the change will hurt some and benefit others. some farmers make good decision and still fail do to the market. how many farmers kill them selves from bad harvest that did not buy seed from Monsanto.
surly if the growing condition where that bad none gmo crops failed to. given the loan system in India
this has happen to. so it might be disingenuous to blame Monsanto for the deaths.


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

Dicot, yes it is true, farmer suicide is epidemic in India. I've been reading about this for years. A good source, if you and others are interested in learning more, is Vandana Shiva. Here's a link to her Znet page with lots of good articles about the problems.

The film looks good.

Here is a link that might be useful: Z


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

Vandana Shiva has done amazing work in the face of both corporate and governmental opposition.

Planleaf3, again you are a bit misinformed. The early generations of gm cotton widely failed because they were not engineered for Indian conditions, just geographic transference from US to India. The big growers in India sued for damages but the poor farmers just killed themselves. Another point: tenant farming (even serfdom) is common in India. Rents are due even with crop failures. Final point: the US throws away more food than the poor Indian farmers lose to spoilage and predation by critters. Throughout much of the developing world, losses of food and other perishables in storage and transport is as high or higher than in India. Industrial ag systems will compound the problems by dumping grains and other commodities in these societies, thus undermining the local farmers by crashing the price of their products.

Blaming the poor or blaming the government rarely addresses the real problems in developing nations. There are hundreds of millions of people being displaced from traditional ag lands to make way for industrial agriculture. These become the internal migrants that have been flocking to megacities in search of work and living. Closer to home, we in the US have been innundated with waves of Hispanic illegal immigrants driven from their mostly rural communities by conditions I described above.

Please accept my apologies if I seem condescending. These subjects hit close to home; years ago I was involved in the Green Revolution and ag development and still try to keep up on such developments and their socio-economic impacts.


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

dicot, It appears that the UK is the next to part company with Monsanto...

Here is a link that might be useful: natural Society


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RE: Monsanto has caused 250,000 to die in India

It's this exact type of action, the type Monsanto involves itself in, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth where large corporations and big industry come into play. Greed is a horrible thing... and it runs roughshod over the globe raping and pillaging and plundering and polluting without a care, except that the shareholders and upper management get their monetary due.

When human beings consider and actually carry out suicide as a result of that greed, it speaks volumes... what have we become as a species?


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