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Organic Consumers Association

The Ploy to Promote Genetically Engineered Seeds and Pesticides to Poor Mexican Farmers Is Impoverishing Their Communities

The Obama administration's Feed the Future initiative promises a second Green Revolution that will feed a planet of nine billion people by doubling crop yields by 2050. But considering that we produce enough food to feed the planet today and a billion people still go hungry, are yields really the problem? And if they are, are providing Green Revolution technologies like hybrid and genetically engineered seeds, chemical fertilizer and pesticides to subsistence farmers the best way to achieve them? I visited subsistence farmers in Mexico to find out.

The homes of campesinos, peasant farmers, in the rural areas surrounding Cuquio, Mexico (about an hour from Guadalajara) no longer have dirt floors. The Mexican government initiated a program to replace them with cement floors in 2008 and now most homes sport a plaque celebrating their new piso firmes. Electricity came about 20 years ago. For many, running water and bathroom facilities are modern conveniences they do not yet have. The government has recently distributed composting toilets to many, but not all, families.

One of the tiny adobe homes is decorated by flowers growing in upside-down Coca-Cola bottles turned into flower pots. Another is located next to a fencepost sporting an empty bag of Monsanto corn seeds -- seeds presumably planted in the adjoining cornfield, or milpa. This little corner of the world and the people who live here seem to be forgotten by everyone except for Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and multinational agribusiness corporations like Monsanto and DuPont. 

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