Bayer and Monsanto - two of the world’s largest agrochemical companies are merging.
Monsanto is famous for among other things, Agent Orange (used by the U.S. military in Vietnam), the herbicide Roundup (declared as "probably carcinogenic") and Genetically Modified Crops (caused tumours in lab rats). Bayer has a very intensive and large agrochemical division. The tie up would mean the newly merged company would control 25% of the world’s agrochemical and seed supply.
If you take two giant corporate companies producing crop seeds, genetically modified seeds and the chemicals used to treat these seeds and you bring them together, then the power they have over our food supply is astonishing.
The fact that these companies see the future in patenting rights to crops, in genetically engineering new crops that have increased resistance to pesticides (see Monsanto’s latest offering “xtend” crops, which are resistant to another herbicide Dicamba) will tell you that the good of you, me and planet is not at the heart of their mission.
At the same time there are fewer and fewer independent seed companies left, and fewer still producing certified organic seeds. Did you know that an organic crop starts off with an organic seed? And organic seeds have to be produced from organic crops that are let go to seed. On our recent trip to Holland we saw first-hand an excellent example of a family owned company that is producing excellent organic seeds (Bejo).
GMO will not solve world hunger (View the UN report which details which farming method will solve the problem of world hunger)
GMO may give the impression that it works in the short-term but after a while the GMO seeds cross breed with natural plants and produce “super weeds” (which are resistant to the "normal" amount of spraying and require even MORE herbicides and chemicals to kill them)
But the one that is the most striking is that the company which produces the genetically modified seed owns the right to that seed and to the crop. The more powerful these companies become the more say they have in how our food is produced. They have fierce and well-funded lobbying groups that get governments to listen. These powerful companies sue small farmers whose crops become inadvertently contaminated by their seeds.
The people who hold the keys to the world’s food supply hold a great deal of power indeed, and the question becomes where do you want that power to rest?
I think it is very unwise to hand these keys to one or two powerful multibillion dollar corporations who are driven by an agenda of profit and generating wealth for shareholders from the sale of patented seeds.
It seems a long way to the west of Ireland and I feel the reach of these global corporations may not extend that far. But I fear I am fooling myself, GM crops may not be grown commercially in Ireland yet, but if these guys have their way it may only be a matter of time.
We all have choices to make, everyday. When it comes to our food the choices we make send messages, far ranging messages, supermarkets take note, then farmers, and then the companies that supply them. But it all starts with what we yes to and what we say no to.
P.S. We know how much you LOVE our delicious organic blueberries so we are extending our special offer and you order just €45 online and apply the coupon code “Blueberry” – we’ll include a free punnet of fresh organic blueberries in your order with our compliments – enjoy!!! (Expiry 22nd of September 2016)