Which area of the globe has Monsanto and its chemical concoctions taken the greatest toll upon?
That depends on who you ask, of course, but there are countless different countries, states and territories up for this mythical award.
In Vietnam for example, the effects of Agent Orange, the deadly chemical defoliant, are still being felt in the form of birth defects decades later. Argentina too has seen similar birth defects from the over-spraying of toxic chemicals, while health problems are on the rise here in the U.S. due to massive poisoning of the environment, food and water, critics say.
And in India, the Monsanto saga has continued to leave a trail of questions and shattered lives in its wake, as tens of thousands of farmer suicides have been linked to the company’s failed agricultural systems built around restrictive contracts, GMOs and pesticides.
But now, the country’s relationship with Monsanto seems to be taking a different turn, as the company has taken a huge blow that may severely impact its business model.
Monsanto Bt Cotton Patent Stripped by Indian Court
Accorrding to this report from the website Bloomberg, Monsanto will no longer be able to own a patent over its GMO cotton seeds in the country.
Nuziveedu, a former licensee of the seeds, was the target of a Monsanto plea to stop sales of the Bt cotton seeds, which produce an insecticide within the plant and have been genetically engineered in a lab prior to their sowing in the field.
But the Delhi High Court rejected it while stating that items such as seeds, plants and animals can’t be patented under Indian laws.
Monsanto may now challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court, the article said. The company may also apply to India’s Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority in order to register its Bt cotton seeds and to charge a fee, decided by the government body, a two-judge bench of he Delhi High Court.
It’s yet another setback for Monsanto at a time where the company is set to be bought out by Bayer.
Already, as many as 50 million packs of GMO cotton seeds are being produced in the country each year, but many farmers have been giving up on the GMO technology due to whitefly infestations and other problems that have wrecked havoc on the crops in popular GM cotton growing areas.
For more information, check out the article ‘The Fall of GMO Cotton in India’ here.
The Truth About Monsanto and India Farmer Suicides
At the center of the Bt cotton controversy is of course the epidemic of farmer suicides that have occurred in the country.
Monsanto says on its website that there is “no link between Indian farmer suicides and the planting of GMO cotton,” linking to studies that suggest farmer suicides were the result of other factors.
But a study published in the journal Life Sciences, Society and Policy found that there is a “definite association between economic factors associated with Bt cotton farming and farmer-suicide,” suggesting that the countless thousands of protesters who have taken on this issue may be on to something after all.
At the end of the day the market will decide the winner in this high stakes agricultural showdown, and it’s clear that Monsanto has its work cut out for it as more and more farmers learn the truth of how the company really operates.