OCOC ORIGINAL

Globalization of Seeds; Food for Thought.

Our Country, Our Choice Article of the Week

by Greg Taylor

Have you noticed how fruits and vegetables don’t have the flavor that they used to have?

Tomatoes used to have a full flavor, yet now the ones you buy are often flavorless. There may be a reason for this, and it starts with the seed.

The chances are that the fruit and vegetables that you buy have come from seeds sold to the farmer by one of four global companies: Bayer Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Du Pont, and Limagrain. These 4 companies provide two thirds of the seeds used by farmers Worldwide. 

These global companies control the supply chain that puts food on your table. What food we buy is designed to make these companies a great deal of money and give them an ever-increasing stranglehold on food markets. The flavor of produce is just one of several concerning consequences to their dominance.

In the past 60 years, coinciding with the growth of these seed companies, the nutrient values of fruits and vegetables have reduced. As yield and shelf life has become a greater requirement by farmers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers alike, the seed companies have looked to develop new varieties that produce more product, are less prone to bruising during transportation and less likely to go off quickly. The compromise has often been a loss of nutrients linked to flavor.

To develop the new varieties, different hybrids have been developed. Genes from one plant with one positive feature have been crossed with another that has another feature that is desired. The plant that has had its genes modified now has positive two features and so on.

There is just one problem with the seeds of these genetically modified varieties; they are usually only suitable for one season meaning that for the next growing season the farmer will need to buy more from the seed company.

The seed companies also tend to have contractual restrictions that mean the farmer cannot save seeds from one year to the next. The convenience of having a better yield and longer shelf life for produce is that the multinational seed companies have an annuity.

You may think that seeds are not big business, but you would be wrong. A standard tomato has a value of about $67,000 per kilo of seeds. Some varieties can cost over $400,000 per kilo. They are more expensive than gold. Where there is a great deal of money to be made there can also be exploitation of people and the environment.

Seeds are grown in countries with prime climates such as Israel, Thailand, Chile, Spain and India. Local seed producers, who subcontract to the multinationals, can have questionable employment practices that ensure that they turn a profit as the larger companies squeeze them. For example, in the Indian state of Karnataka that produces 160,000 of tomato seeds a year, child exploitation if rife. Women are paid half of what men earn and 50% of the minimum wage. As one producer explained, the cost to pay the women the minimum wage would mean an extra $30 per kilo of seeds and the multinationals will not pay that. This $30 per kilo is in contrast to the $67,000 a kilo for regular tomato seeds.

It is perhaps more concerning that these global companies extol their virtue of being on board with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, yet their business practices fall short. Their impact on biodiversity is so profound as to potentially be an existential threat food sustainability throughout the World.

The rise of global seed companies has come at the cost of biodiversity. 75% of plants have been lost. For a future that is uncertain, especially with the emergence of new pests, diseases as well as the impact of climate change, a wider range of plants is needed to face these developing threats. With four companies in control of two thirds of all seeds biodiversity is constricted.  We should not reduce the number of varieties just so that monopolistic globalists can drive their profits.   

You may wonder where the UN sits on this issue. According to Mr. Olivier De Schutter former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, concerns about the impact of the global seed firms and their impact on biodiversity have fallen on deaf ears.

The stranglehold the global seed companies have over farming should not be minimized. With contractual restrictions on saving seeds farmers will always need to go back to the global producers year after year. As prices increase because of the almost monopolistic hold of the seed companies, farmers will continue to be pressured to pay more.

With the advent of the UN dictated sustainability as a guiding principle of life, and developing farming laws in much of the World, those pressures are even greater.  Farmers will be forced to consider selling. If this continues, we will see the worldwide destruction of small farms. This will provide an opportunity for globalist owned farms to control all of the World’s food production.

The next time you take a bite from a tomato and think that the flavor is not what it used to be, remember that that is the least of your future food worries unless we fight back.

 

For more information on how to take action today to defend our food and water supplies please click here.

Sources:

https://youtu.be/ngjAqzam0fU?si=82v1A3a8t0ZMttQM

Bayer’s Position towards the UN Sustainable Develop­ment Goals (SDGs) | Bayer Global

Our Goals | DuPont

Sustainable Development Goals | Syngenta

Groupe Limagrain – Rapport RSE Limagrain 2016-2017 | UN Global Compact


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