Friday, May 20, 2016

Seeds of Concern

At 6:30 this morning I was reading an article about a possible merger between an industrial giant and a mega-giant. Monsanto is a global company which has often been criticized for its bullying monopolistic tactics in agri-business. Bayer is a multi-national colossus which produces some products which are similar, and sees a takeover of Monsanto as good business. The deal would be worth more than $30 billion. Why am I reading about this at dawn? I'm a sick man.

In North America farmers have been sued by Monsanto for choosing to use Genetically Modified Seed from their own yield, violating seed patents owned by the company. There have been others issues about allowing seed which has accidentally taken root on their land through wind and bird distribution to grow. Monsanto has massive resources and has never lost a case.

In India Monsanto has changed the nature of agriculture, pushing small farmers off their land. Activists claim that this had led to a rash of suicides by those who can no longer provide for their families.

I attended a conference of Presbyterians for Earth Care in Colorado a number of years ago where I heard about some of these issues for the first time.  I suspect few of us are aware of the global reach of these companies which portray themselves as agricultural when they are primarily technological and industrial. I am not against GMO foods in principle -- honestly, what food products haven't been modified in some way as part of agricultural development through the millennia. I am deeply concerned about the injustices where corporations can overpower individuals and even governments for their purposes.

I came to work and found an email reminding me that tomorrow there will be Marches Against Monsanto, including a number across Canada and a dozen throughout Ontario. I can't claim to know much about them, but it was an interesting coincidence -- providence?

Have you heard the influence of these global agri-business companies. Does it concern you, or just make your eyes glaze over. Should faith groups bother with getting involved?

May 21, 2016

1 comment:

Frank said...

This issue seems to be part of overall social justice concerns and something to which churches can respond with legitimacy. That said, individual churches can only keep a limited number of concerns on the front burner at one time, while still maintaining focus on their overall missions. We can run the risk of getting involved with too many things that stretch us too thin and reduce our overall effectiveness as a result.