Originally Posted by MrFalafel "Today in India, Monsanto controls nearly all of the cotton seed market, forcing the locals to buy its seeds at prices four times higher than conventional varieties. Small farmers must turn to money lenders, who charge high interest rates. If the harvest is poor, it means bankruptcy."
Yawn. When people can be truthful in their criticisms of biotechnology then they might be worth listening to. The farmers in India can no longer find non-Bt cotton is highly not believable at a time when almost 2/3rds of the cotton was non-Bt. Monsanto controls nearly all of the cotton seed market in India um....no. When it comes to Bt cotton in India Monsanto has a partnership with Mahyco. Several other companies use the Bt trait from Monsanto and pay a royalty. These companies include Ankur Seeds, Ajeet Seeds, Emergent Genetics, Ganga Kaveri, JK Agri Genetics, Krishidhan Seeds, Metahelix, Nandhi Seeds, Nath Seeds, Nuziveedu Seeds, Namdari Seeds, Pravardhan Seeds, Prabhat Agri Biotech Ltd, Rasi Seeds, Safai Seeds, Sygnenta India, Tulsi Seeds, Univ. Agri Sciences, Vibha Seeds, Vikkis Agrotech, Vikram Seeds, Zuari Agrotech. Monsanto no more controls those companies than Toyota controls Ford as they licensed their hybrid technology to ford instead of ford developing their own. Monsanto has far from the monopoly that opponents claim they have. When garbage films like The World According to Monsanto make ridiculous claims like Monsanto having more than 90% of the market share of GMOs I am beyond shocked that anyone watching can be stupid enough to believe it. And then it finishes up with the usual Vandana Shiva lie that spreads round the world: patented seeds sent farmer suicide numbers way up. Statistics to verify such a claim? Nope. A study that it is based on? Nope. Why not? Because it is surprise, surprise - not true. Thankfully, some newspapers like The Guardian
printed the truth, but no one paid attention. The International Food Policy Research Istitute found that suicides among farmers had been decreasing since the introduction of GM cotton in 2002, along with finding a massive increase in yield, decrease in pesticides, increase in net income and so on.
Why doesn't Gates have conversations with Monsanto and other biotech firms to create 'open source' GM combinations that allow anyone to produce fertilizers and pesticides for their seeds?
Why should he? Golden rice has been developed so that the seeds would be distributed for free to small farmers. All the patents have been waved and it has a free licence (Humanitarian Use Licence) and environmental organizations are still as opposed to it as they are to any other GMO. Maybe Gates believes that if a bizarre situation had of occurred say a dozen years ago where before any field trials had started the evil company Monsanto had offered the Bt technology to the Indian government for a one time fee that was a pittance (say less than 1% of what Monsanto receives in yearly royalties from India). It would have been theirs to do what they want with, develop it in whatever way they desire, give to their seed companies for whatever price they want, or free. If such a bizarre world was to exist maybe Gates suspects that environmental groups and Vandana Shiva would have gone hysterical and claim the end of the world and been 100% opposed, and the government would have given in to them despite the position of the scientific community. Gates would be right to believe in such a possibility because that was the reality and it was the worst decision the government could have made and the best decision that could have been made for Monsanto. The people who should be blamed for that? Better look in the mirror.
Africa has learned the hard way that foriegn powers aren't always acting in their bests interests.
It is Europe that is dictating the African position on GMOs for their own interests. Even still Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe have been developing GM apples, cassava, cotton, cowpea, cucumber, grapes, lupin, maize, melons, pearl millet, potatoes, sorghum, soybeans, squash, strawberries, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelons and wheat. As much as environmental groups try to keep Africa in desperate poverty, some of the nations are trying to enrich themselves by science and technology. There have and will be some failures, but there are always some failures when it comes to agriculture. But they see the successes in India for the small farmers. The increased net income, being able to afford basic health care and education for their children.
Originally Posted by das_nut
I would like to see domestic breeding programs of the golden rice crossed with local strains once the patents run out. The goal would be to produce a rice that is better adapted to the local climes while preserving the high vitamin A content.
I dont think that this is a patent issue. I think it is a government regulations issue. I am sure they talk about it in this document
, but as it is 116 pages, I dont want to read through it again.
Originally Posted by soilman
The same people whose culture makes them go "yech" at the idea of eating corn, are go to go "blech" at the idea of eating yellow rice.
When Marie Antoinette was informed that the peasants had no bread she responded let them eat cake. Are you seriously making the claim that the million people (mostly children) who die each year from vitamin A deficiency and half million more who go blind are just from an extremely picky eater culture?
Originally Posted by das_nut
What law does Monsanto use in India to discourage competition?
I guess the law of providing something that farmers want to buy. Monsanto became the biggest player in the world ahead of others like Syngentia because it developed traits that others wanted and most importantly made them available to other companies for low royalty fees (the others priced their royalty demands higher). This is exactly what Monsanto did in India. They could have kept their Bt trait for their partner Mahyco and they could have had the whole market to themself for a decade or more while other companies tried to develop their own GM cotton. Instead they made their patent available to every company who wanted it and now a couple dozen companies produce about 140 different strains of Bt cotton. Some say that the GMO seeds are too expensive, but the reality is that more and more
small farmers are using them, and achieving significantly higher profits among other benefits as a result.