Monsanto in Haiti: About mixing aid, politics, and commerce

patented food

Last week, Newsweek announced Monsanto is moving into Haiti, in a big way. This is a typical example of using aid as a cover for unethical commerce brought in an All-American-Way: using politics, aid and foreign policy as a carrier.

U.S. agriculture giant Monsanto Co. is donating $4 million worth of seeds to Haiti, the biotechnology manufacturer's first major foray into the chronically hungry nation.
The corporation, based in Creve Coeur, Missouri, announced a pledge this week of 475 tons (431 metric tons) of corn and vegetable seeds. Some 130 tons (118 metric tons) have been delivered and are on their way to farmers as of Friday.
"We looked at what would be well-suited to Haitian growing conditions," said Elizabeth Vancil, the company's development partnership director.
Nothing wrong, you might say... Nice gesture... However:
Farmers will have to buy the seeds at markets to avoid flooding the local economy with free goods, but Monsanto will not receive any revenue from the sales, Vancil said. A spokesman for the U.S. Agency for International Development program distributing the seeds could not immediately provide more details.
"USAID could not provide details"...:
The announcement raised concerns in Haiti that the donation would include genetically modified seeds, for which the country does not have a regulatory system. Monsanto representatives said no such seeds will be included.
Monsanto on the road to sainthood? Hardly:
Instead they are sending hybrid seeds, which are produced by manually cross-pollinating plants. The company said the seeds produce larger yields than non-hybrid seeds, but that with such a variety new seeds have to be purchased and planted every year.
Aha.. So, the seeds come for free. This year. Even though the farmers will have to buy the seeds, but hey, good for the local economy. The seeds produce a plant, which generates seeds, but not as good as the hybrid.
On their blog, Monsanto confirms they have not figured out yet how this will work out... Shall I make a wild guess? The price for Monsanto seeds will go up? Meanwhile, the traditional seed market will be destroyed (a la India), and Monsanto will grow for its all-famous monopoly? I mean just a wild guess, of course.
One more country on the Monsanto map, a few more poor countries to go.

Global Research published this article clarifying the matter a tat further:
The Monsanto representative in Haiti is Jean- Robert Estimé, who served as foreign minister under the Duvalier family's 29-year dictatorship."
... Ah, the Haitian connection, hey?

Monsanto said on their blog:
Monsanto had already donated money, but it was clear that a donation of our products -corn and vegetable seeds- could really make a difference in the lives of Haitians.
Well, the link on their blog covering the "donation" showed $50,000 to the American Red Cross The Disaster Relief Fund, to prepare for future disasters. So not tied to Haiti.


Articles discovered via Humanitarian News
Picture courtesy Pie in the Sky


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