Organic Consumers Association

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Why Gaza Doesn't Need Monsanto's Wonder Seeds

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

Climatewire recently ran a rather tedious article rehashing Monsanto's familiar talking points, on the occasion of a media conference put on by the GMO seed/agrichemical giant. Here's a sample:

 The company's pipeline is teeming with seeds aimed to protect farmers from losses due to pests, heat, drought and nutrient deficiencies. Nitrogen-efficient corn is expected in the next three to 10 years, as are high-yielding soybeans.

These Wonder Seeds of the Future are vital, the company insists, because (as the Climatewire reporter puts it) "The world will need to double its crop output to satisfy 9 billion people on just a sliver more of available land." According to its marketing pitch, Monsanto will solve that problem by conjuring up seeds that allow farmers to "produce more, conserve more, [and] improve lives."

While contemplating the Cilmatewire piece-which was, to be fair, balanced by withering analysis from Union of Concerned of Scientists' Doug Gurian-Sherman-I got to to thinking about a Guardian article I read a while back on how people are scraping by in the Gaza Strip under the twin hardships of occupation and blockade. 

Under siege from Israel, Palestinian farmers in Gaza have limited land, little access to water, and face ruinously high fertilizer costs (when they can get fertilizer at all): In other words, the very conditions Monsanto claims its seeds will save the world from. But these farmers don't have access to the wonder seeds, partly because they don't exist yet (Gurian-Sherman is skeptical that they ever will); and partly because Palestinian farmers don't have the resources to buy pricey patented seeds anyway. (How farmers resource-strapped farmers are ever supposed to afford Monsanto's premium-priced super-seeds-if and when they do come into existence-has never really been explained.)

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