Demolishing the myth that Monsanto’s engineered crops drove 270,000 Indian farmers to suicide

Vandana Shiva claimed: “Two hundred and seventy thousand Indian farmers have committed suicide since Monsanto entered the Indian seed market. That’s more than a quarter-million. It’s a genocide.”

Read more at the Knight Center for Journalism.

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4 responses to “Demolishing the myth that Monsanto’s engineered crops drove 270,000 Indian farmers to suicide

  1. This sounds like another person who believes profit is evil, even when it comes from providing a valuable product, and that corporations evil, even when providing a valuable product. Are her books “printed” by copying them with a pen onto organic paper?

  2. There may be a grain of truth in the myth. In late 1990s, when I was in the business — long before “genetically modified” became an acronym and before anybody in Europe or in the US thought much of it — I heard from Monsanto folks about the massive torching of crop fields in India. The story was that Indian farmers were afraid of Monsanto’s terminator gene that was introduced in the US to enforce seed contracts, and rumours went around that the gene could spread across all crops.

    You know how these friendly chaps down south can organise themselves to kill their neighbours by the million simply because neighbours are differently brainwashed. So with just a little bit of initial agitation, lots of fields across of India that were suspected to have anything to do with Monsanto were set ablaze, and so were adjacent fields, and that continued for a number of years. I suspect, if you are a poor Indian farmer, and everything you borrow to sow your fields gets burnt year after year, starvation or suicide is not an unlikely outcome.

    That was before any seeds bearing the terminator gene had reached India. The rumours about the impending end of the world caused by single-use seeds were enough to precipitate widespread violence.

  3. You know, this rises to the point of libel. Calling someone responsible for genocide is as bad as you can get, and it’s maliciously false. Given how vindictive Monsanto is at patent protection, I’m surprised that they don’t try and stop this rumor by force.

  4. True enough Ben, but find a jury that will actually buy it enough to act on it. Monsanto would fear the trial being turned into a propaganda blitz against it.

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