Brazil: 5 Million Farmers file lawsuit, ask courts for justice against Monsanto

Five million Brazilian farmers take on biotech giant Monsanto

, TNN | Jun 12, 2012

NEW DELHI: Five million Brazilian farmers have taken on US based biotech company Monsantothrough a lawsuit demanding return of about 6.2 billion euros taken as royalties from them. The farmers are claiming that the powerful company has unfairly extracted these royalties from poor farmers because they were using seeds produced from crops grown from Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds, reports Merco Press.In April this year, a judge in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, ruled in favor of the farmers and ordered Monsanto to return royalties paid since 2004 or a minimum of $2 billion. The ruling said that the business practices of seed multinational Monsanto violate the rules of the Brazilian Cultivars Act (No. 9.456/97). Monsanto has appealed against the order and a federal court ruling on the case is now expected by 2014. Continue reading

“Take the Seed Back” – International support for Take The Flour Back

2012-05-10, Issue 584, Pambazuka News

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/advocacy/82021

‘Beneath the rhetoric that GM is the key to feeding a hungry world, there is a very different story – a story of control and profit.’

The African Biodiversity Network and The Gaia Foundation support the call from Take the Flour Back for Rothamsted Research Institute to remove their GM wheat crop to prevent contamination. Gathuru Mburu, Coordinator of the African Biodiversity Network (ABN) will be speaking at the “Take the Flour Back” rally at Rothamsted on 27th May.

by The ABN and The Gaia Foundation … Global agriculture has changed more in the past 50 years than in the previous 10,000. Nowhere is this conflict more poignant than in the story of seed….This is the trailer for the film Seeds of Freedom. The film explores the history of the corporate takeover of seed, and the impact that this is having on communities across the world. The loss of indigenous seed goes hand in hand with the loss of biodiversity, the loss of cultural traditions and practices, the loss of livelihoods and the loss of independence in agriculture.

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Gathuru Mburu, who will be in the UK at the end of May for the launch of a new film about the corporate takeover of seed through GMOs, has made the following statement:

“It gives us strength to see the British people standing up to the irresponsible release of genetically modified foods into the ecosystem. We have seen the negative effects that crops like this have had in India, where GM cotton crops failed in their claims of pest resistance, and sent farmers into spiraling debt. Experimenting with staple crops is a serious threat to food security. Our resilience comes from diversity not from monocultures of GM. Seed saving is the basis of African farmers’ security and livelihood, but patented GM crops forbid farmers from saving their own seed. This is a violation of Farmers’ Rights. Furthermore, there is always a strong likelihood that GM will cross-pollinate with our crops, and that we will lose our indigenous diversity forever. Indigenous seed is traditionally celebrated in African rites of passage, so GM will further erode Africa’s Rights to indigenous, cultural foods and the knowledge systems which surround these.” Continue reading

Monsanto’s Poison Pills for Haiti

Monsanto, Haiti’s “New Earthquake”

by Ronnie Cummins,Founder and Director, Organic Consumers Association

“A new earthquake” is what Haitian peasant farmer leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) called the news that Monsanto will be dumping 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds on Haiti, seeds doused with highly toxic fungicides such as thiram, known to be extremely dangerous to farm workers. Hybrid seeds, like GMO seeds (in contrast to Creole heirloom or organic seeds) require lots of water, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. In addition, if a small farmer tries to save hybrid seeds after harvest, hybrid seeds usually do not “breed true” or grow very well in the second season, forcing the now-indentured peasant to buy seeds from Monsanto or one of the other hybrid/GMO seed monopolies in perpetuity. Monsanto wanted initially to dump GMO seeds on Haiti, but even the corrupt Haitian government knew that this would spark a rebellion, so Monsanto cleverly decided to dump hybrid seeds instead. The Haitian small farmers organization has committed to burning Monsanto’s seeds, and has called for a march to protest the corporation’s presence in Haiti on June 4, for World Environment Day. Continue reading