Agricultural monopolization brings harm to farmers, consumers alike

This handout photo released by Greenpeace shows an aerial view of a crop circle made by local farmers and Greenpeace volunteers in Isabela province, 300 km northeast of Manila, on Saturday Sept. 30, 2006. The crop circle, with a slash over the letter "M" symbolizes farmer rejection of alleged genetically modified Bt corn crops from Monsanto corporation. (AP Photo/Greenpeace,Melvyn Calderon,HO)

Austen Klein
Staff Writer

Demand for food could double during the next 40 years, leaving farmers and consumers alike in an uncertain future administered by the largest agribusinesses of the world.

Although enough food is produced globally to feed twice the world’s population, one in every six people is seriously undernourished, and the number of hungry people in the world has increased every year since 1996, according to the blog site vidaverdesma.

The largest U.S. agribusinesses have pledged to increase productivity in a way that maximizes the well-being of humanity — in particular, the agricultural, biotech and chemical giant, Monsanto.

Most of Monsanto’s revenue comes from selling genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Monsanto monopolizes the seed market, owning roughly 95 percent of all soybeans and 80 percent of corn from seeds that are genetically altered, according to the company’s site.

Corn alone contributes to a large portion of the American diet, from being used to feed cattle, oil and dozens of other uses.

Monsanto also invests in other varieties of seeds.

GMOs have been depicted by the U.S. and Monsanto as the only effective way for treating world-hunger. In return, an astounding number of famers around the world have decided to harvest GMOs or are impelled to do so through U.S. agribusiness practices.

Over the past 15 years, a staggering 200,000 farmers from India have committed suicide after consistent crop failure and sheer economic humiliation after being promised prosperous harvests from genetically modified seeds by GM salesmen and government officials. The issue has been covered by media sources, like blogger Andrew Malone, the BBC and various online articles.

A undergoing a four day journey through the epicenter of the disaster, Malone claimed relevance to GMOs and the suicides, despite what GMO experts stated.

In an effort to encourage the use of genetically modified seeds, traditional varieties were banned from many government seed banks, according to the

Up to date, Monsanto has currently filed over 140 lawsuits on farmers who’ve “saved patented seeds.”

Although, that is not always the case considering seeds and the GM seeds produced by Monsanto are highly invasive to non-GM seeds.

The migrant work-force who has sold its own seeds for countless years, whose fields become contaminated with GM seeds from Monsanto, has become the victim of shameless lawsuits, which was exposed by activist documentaries like Food Inc.

Stories like this beset an uneasy fear in the farming community which cannot economically compete with the agricultural giant nor defend itself alone in court.

Food donations may sound indulgent and usually, that would be the case, except the U.S. Government is more interested in spreading biotechnology, rather than feeding the starving.

“In 2004, the government of Sudan requested that U.S. food aid be certified and labeled as ‘GM free’ because of concerns about the potential negative effects of GM grain on local agriculture and human health. In response, the United States immediately cut off all food aid to Sudan,” stated vidaverdesma.

While the U.S. donates more food than any other country, the way in which it is provided is substantially inefficient and has coerced the starved to consume food it may be reluctant to eat, given U.S. agribusiness controversy.

Because the U.S. donates food instead of in-cash contributions or cash grants, most of the money donated to aid is spent on the logistics rather than the food itself. The transporting of food easily take months to get to the donor recipient after a disaster initially strikes, leaving the donated food even useless at times.

Cash grants on the other hand allow quick humanitarian aid to recipient donors who can then use that money to purchase and support local farmers contrasting to having local farmers in the vicinity of the disaster to compete with a delayed shipping of donated food .

Agricultural giants prefer this way since roughly 40 percent of total food aid costs were paid to the shippers, and a few companies are even allowed to bid for food aid contracts, “and as a result the U.S. government pays an average of 11 percent above market price for food aid commodities,” according to virdaverdesma. Local farmers

There is also controversy over Monsanto’s GMOs.

(GMOs or GEs) are the results of adding DNA from one organism to the DNA of another organism, creating a life form that has never existed on this planet.

When one consumes a GMO, that new DNA structure is embedded into the consumers DNA structure, as in the phrase “you are what you eat.” Furthermore, the results of this kind of blending are unknown to humanity. When contemplating the DNA structure that makes up our body that has taken billions of years to form, it’s disconcerting to think that one corporation is being allowed to change billions of years of evolution so that it –Monsanto– can patent the GEs and monopolize the food supply for the entire planet for monetary gain.

According to an article in “Popular Science” magazine, “Western corn rootworms in at least four northeast Iowa corn fields have developed a resistance to the natural pesticide in corn seed produced by Monsanto, marking the first time a major Midwest pest has developed a resistance to GM crops.”

Because Monsanto’s seeds were so successful, roughly one third of all corn is now susceptible to rootworms.

In 1962, the herbicide and defoliant, Agent Orange, was first used in Vietnam by the U.S. Military to ravage the country’s agricultural land and famish the population while also used to deforest and remove hiding places for the Viet Cong.

This act allowed the U.S. to offer food — as form of manipulation — to a country it was very well depriving the necessities from.

Today, the company justifies these actions by claiming it was used to save lives, when in fact it was destroying them and was is responsible for hundreds of thousands of birth defects,  which is covered by activist organization, Agent Orange & Birth Defects.

“Two new studies indicate that Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, is a hormone-disruptor and is associated with birth defects in humans,” accordingly from

Not only is Roundup an indigestible and lethal chemical, it also degrades croplands of its nutrients, while expediting the process of degradation, thus polluting the environment and preventing future farming which was explained by the Aljazeera article, “The world can’t afford to keep wasting soil”.

There are already more effective and green ways to feed the world, e.g. organic farming.

Despite claims of it being inefficient compared to conventional methods, “If farming were to switch to organic agriculture on the current amount of land that is being used for farming and livestock production, then that system could produce enough calories to feed the world without requiring people to change their dietary habits,” said study team member Catherine Badgley, a research scientist at the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan.

Already, dozens of countries have taken the liberty to ban or restrict the import, distribution, sale, utilization, field trials and commercial planting of GMOs.

The controversy of Monsanto’s past has incited protests around the world, and has resulted in a current lawsuit filed against Monsanto by nearly 300,000 organic farmers who want to keep a portion of the world food supply organic.

Still, in the United States, Monsanto and other biotech companies are not required to label its food as a GMO, regardless of whether the company has the consent of its consumers or not.

To diminish the malpractice and iniquity of corporate greed and it’s affect to the world, buy local foods that are organic and in season, purchase from farmer markets when available and read the food labels.

Every item of food purchased is a vote.

In retrospect, it serves obvious that to feed the starving, the very least humanity can do is not give that responsibility to those who run a business motivated by profit.

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