The Battle for Biodiversity: Monsanto and Farmers Clash
By ANNA LAPPÉ
MAR 28 2011, 12:48 PM ET
Does genetic modification lead to more and better crops? Or will it
destroy the foundations of our food systems?
Two weeks ago, Monsanto announced the latest genetically engineered crop
it hopes to bring to market: a soybean rejiggered to resist the
herbicide dicamba. The new product, says Monsanto, will aid in weed
control and "deliver peace of mind for growers."
Meanwhile, half a world away, La Via Campesina, a farmers' movement of
150 organizations from 70 countries, had a slightly different idea about
what would bring peace of mind to its millions of members: protecting
biodiversity. In its statement to those gathered in Bali for the United
Nations treaty on plant genetics, the organization urged treaty drafters
to reevaluate the legal framework that allows seed patenting and the
spread of genetically engineered crops, like those Monsanto soybeans.
These genetically modified crops and the international patent regime, La
Via Campesina said, block farmers' ability to save and share seeds,
threatening biodiversity and food security.
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