Monday, February 22, 2010

Monsanto? Improving Farmers' Lives? Gimme a break

It's about four months too old, but I happened to find this Monsanto ad in the October 12, 2009, issue of New Yorker magazine (which I borrowed from the American Corner resource centre in Yerevan; what can I say, I get my English-language news however I can :)
I was about to turn the page after simply rolling my eyes at the layout (and of course, the overall message) when I saw the words "Improving Farmers' Lives" (shown at the bottom of the photo below) which caused me to nearly choke on my sunflower seed.

Whatever Monsanto might say about Food Inc. (the film on the U.S. food industry which heavily criticized the multinational agricultural corporation), the truth is the company did sue small-time Canadian farmers whose crop happened to be contaminated by Monsanto seeds. How can you control where your seeds pollinate? How can you call this "improving farmers' lives"? Oh and did I mention that farmers have to pay to plant Monsanto's genetically engineered products which can only be planted for one year? Farmers who wish to plant Monsanto seeds have to purchase them every year (unlike other seeds that can be re-sown) and this becomes a high cost for farmers. Not to mention that they're genetically modified. Tell me again: how does Monsanto improve farmers' lives? 

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