While Monsanto is becoming more and more well known (and infamously known, for that matter) in U.S. circles for its genetically engineered crops and the movement against them, the Bayer corporation’s “Cropscience” division is far less known.
Bayer is familiar to just about everyone for its drugs, but few realize the company also creates pesticides and genetically engineered seeds.
As the two companies are set to merge, the movement for organic and non-GMO food continues to grow. But now, the company is preparing to launch a preemptive strike by “educating” farmers to change their perspective on GMOs.
Propaganda from Bayer and Others
As explained in a recent article from the website Natural Blaze, farmers are being “educated” with a brand of what many are calling propaganda from Bayer: a four-hour “re-education” or “training” program as the article calls it, designed to teach farmers the Bayer perspective on “modern” agriculture and GMOs.
Over 10,000 growers have already pledged to become “agvocates” in Bayer’s new “advocacy” program, the website reported, and over one thousand have gone through their 4-hour agvocacy program.
According to the company, the “science” of GMOs is not being properly explained. Growers in Europe are especially abandoning GMO crops or governments are banning them outright (nearly 20 countries recently enacted some sort of ban), however, based on the science they have on file.
“To be honest,” he said. “I think that battle is probably lost,” said Bayer’s Adrian Percy about Europe. Bayer serves as the head of global and strategic communications.
The goal of the company in these countries is to create more “educated” “scientists,” “farmers,” and “consumers” in order to combat the ban, the article said.
Gene editing, a new controversial form of genetic engineering, is part of the company’s renewed push to genetically modify the food supply. They hope to make inroads in the hearts and minds of each of these communities in order to influence public policy, and to find a backdoor into Europe.
The aforementioned program was designed to equip the thousands of farmers with “with facts about biotechnology and chemicals and how to engage with consumers through social media,” which is part of a major push to “re-brand” GMOs as being attractive to growers.
The push comes as Monsanto and Bayer’s merger is being closely examined, and protested, in various cities including Brussels, Belgium recently. At the protest, Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth had the following to say.
“We think these cooperations have already a toxic grip on our food supply and if these mergers are allowed to happen then we think it will be a marriage made in hell,” she said.
“It’s going to be bad for farmers, it is going to be bad for the consumers and it is going to be bad for nature. We think the European Commission should stop these mergers from happening.”
Despite the shrinking or non-existent markets for GMOs and synthetic pesticide based agriculture in Europe, Monsanto and Bayer believe they can bring billions of dollars in investments along with several thousand new jobs.
But their projects might not be able to get off the ground if activists and conusmers continue to beat them at every turn, as they have in Europe and are beginning to in the United States.
For more on Bayer’s PR push for GMOs, check out the full Natural Blaze article by clicking here.