Prior to its economic collapse, Argentina was seen as an example of how a country can develop using a free trade model. Now it is an example of the dangers. As the people of Argentina are driven by economic collapse to the point of starvation, they are being force-fed genetically engineered soya - designed not for people, but for cattle.

A group sponsored by biotech companies, multinationals and the richest landlords is pushing hard for this soya, using public relations, subsidies and a media blitz to try and alter the Argentinean diet away from traditional foods to soya products[ ]. Argentina now plants 21% of the global coverage of GE plants - second only to the U.S. in terms of acreage.

According to Jorge Rulli, a member of Rural Reflexion a group dedicated to sustainable agriculture, 'We are addicted to soya. We have been assigned a role in the world as a producer of soya and in many ways we are now a laboratory. We are seeing all kinds of things due to toxicity: precocious sexual development, early pregnancies, and at the same time, stunted growth.'[ ]

The move toward a complete reliance on GE soya is the latest development in Argentinaís transformation from being a food producing nation to a supplier of feed for the livestock of wealthy nations. Argentinaís agriculture is becoming one huge monocrop that is destroying livelihoods and making them vulnerable to famine. While many Argentineans now go hungry, the majority of the soya produced is exported to Europe to feed cattle. The mechanized agriculture has also displaced many rural agricultural workers sending further waves of displaced people into the slums of Argentina's big cities.

Environmental consequences of the soya production have been appalling. The use of Roundup ready soya has also led to a major increase in the use of pesticides effecting health of farmers and the environments. Soya production has also led to deforestation. The Argentinean forest of Yunga is disappearing at a rate of 1000 ha per year to be replaced by a monoculture of soya[ ].

The industrialization of agriculture has increased Argentinean dependence on foreign imports and on transnational corporations. The removal of tariffs on imports has led many domestic farm machinery manufacturers going bankrupt. The soya production has also led to a concentration in holdings with the number of farmers in the soybean growing region of Argentina dropping from 170,000 to 116,000 - a 32% decrease. 

The market for Argentinean soya is also under threat because of its use of GE crops. As the soya is not going directly for human consumption in Europe it has not yet been banned but moves toward an ìidentity tracking systemî which tracks produce from field to plate to eliminate all contamination could change this.

Even without an all out ban, the market for GE soya is collapsing. Prices for soybean declined 28% between 1993 and 1999 while prices for gasoline have risen 26%. Farmers profit margins fell by half from 1992 to 1999 making it very difficult for the farmers to pay off loans as well as afford the chemical inputs, machinery and seeds they need for industrial farming. The profit loses, bankruptcies and increased landlessness comes despite the fact that Argentinean farmers are allowed by law to save the seed. Even this law, which is not found in most other countries of the world, is not enough.

There are indications that Argentina is wanting to decrease its dependency on Monsantoís soya but it is in a very difficult position being already so reliant on Monsanto. Argentinaís new policy of authorizing new GE seed only after it has been approved in the European Union has annoyed Monsanto representatives who stated, that the policy will endanger Monsanto's other projects in the country including an $8 million cotton seed joint venture[ ]. Both the environment Minister and the Director General for Cultural Affairs have expressed doubts about the technology due to Argentinaís farming crisis[ ]. After an initial high rate of approvals for the use of GMOs between 1996 and 1998, government authorizations for new products have fallen to virtually zero.[ ]

Terminator seeds
Monsanto is one of the corporations that holds a patent for the notorious terminator technology (U.S. patent number 5,723,765). Terminator seeds are seeds that are designed to work only once - that is, their offspring will be sterile. If terminator seeds were sold, it would be impossible for farmers to save and replant seeds from their harvest.  They would be absolutely dependent on the commercial seed market every year[ ].

Terminator technology is a threat to food security, food sovereignty and Farmers' Rights and has caused an uproar throughout the world. Hundreds of civil society, farmers' and indigenous peoples' organizations worldwide have campaigned for a global ban on suicide seeds.

As a result of the massive campaigns, Monsanto publicly stated that it would not develop Terminator seeds for commercial sale. But they refused to give up the patent and are holding on to it in case public opinion changes. They also tried to acquire a company, Delta & Pine Land, which has publicly announced that it actively seeks to commercialize Terminator technology. Terminator technology is an outrageous threat to food security worldwide and Monsanto, along with all other companies involved, need to relinquish their patent to prove they will not try to sneak terminator technology through[ ].

Monsanto on the move in the Philippines
Monsanto has been aggressively pushing ahead with plans to commercialize genetically modified crops in the Philippines. Already they are a major player in Philippine agribusiness, selling chemicals such as Roundup and Machete (banned in the U.S.A.) and seeds. In the Philippines they distribute seeds under the name Cargill, Monsanto and Dekalb.

Monsanto has worked with the Department of Agrarian Reform and of Agriculture in relation with the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), to supply chemicals and training to relocated Filipino peasants. Monsanto's involvement with the new land reform beneficiaries not only ensures that they will be led into chemical input-intensive agriculture but also that they will begin farming already indebted to this major chemical corporation. Between 1995 and 1997, Monsanto's sales in the region increased six-fold[ ].

Trials and tribulations
Monsanto gained approval last year for its Bt-corn (see above for problems associated with Bt crops) in the Philippines which it will be marketing under the name Yieldgard. The approval was highly contentious and came despite the   efforts of farmers groups, scientists, church groups, non-government organizations and peoples' organizations.  
M o n s a n t o   s   B t - c o r n   w a s   a p p r o v e d   f o r   c o m m e r c i a l i z a t i o n   w i t h o u t   a n y   s a f e t y   t e s t s .   There were no feeding studies, no tests to check for environmental risks such as genetic contamination and effects on non-target organisms, and no socio-economic risk analyses undertaken. One Monsanto representative in Mindanao untruthfully claimed in front of a gathering of farmers and policy makers that feeding studies had been done. Monsanto later retracted this claim saying the Monsanto representative was mistaken.

Monsanto managed to attain approval for Bt-corn citing corporate studies without providing data or information on study processes, and by pointing to the USDAís acceptance of bt products. In justifying its approval, the DA refers to a 'balikbayan box' of documents sent from the U.S. by Monsanto to show the safety of the product. However, corporate science is not the same as independent science. As the rest of this report indicates, not only has Monsantoís ìscienceî been proved dubious time and time again, but many countries have in fact rejected GMOs on health and environmental grounds. The U.S. is one of the few countries that have accepted the technology.

The only testing that was done in the Philippines was to test for efficacy (that is, whether the Bt-Corn could be shown to be resistant to corn borer in the test plots). Even these studies did not release the data to the public. The tests were conducted in open areas, directly adjacent to conventional corn crops and without recommended precautions such as greenhouses. The test sites were heavily guarded. In Isabela, Monsanto employed 50 people to protect a small experimental test plot. This included 10 agents from a security agency and 40 farmers, some of whom worked with the managing of the test plot as well as security duty.

In Mindanao, on a field test site of Bt-corn in Kibawe, Bukidnon, security was provided by former military man infamous for human rights abuses during the dictatorship of Marcos. More than 50 security guards, some wearing ski masks and balaclavas, defended the site armed with shotguns. In one incident, they fired several times into the air towards onlookers during a protest. Despite this security, in Mindanao, 800 farmers, scientists, indigenous people and local groups uprooted Monsantoís test site (see below). Monsanto and its genetically engineered seeds are not welcome.
In both of the field site areas, Isabela and General Santos, Monsanto pursued the field test despite the existence of a council resolution banning field tests on genetically modified organisms.

In Isabela, although the plots were supposed to test for dry season yields, the plots were irrigated during testing. Given that most farmers in the Philippines do not have access to irrigation this gives a misleading idea of yields which could lead farmers into mistakenly buying seeds, experiencing failure and getting further into debt.

Monsanto has also publicized high yields for Bt-Corn. The company claims that field tests have shown Bt-Corn will increase yields of white corn from a national average of 1.82 metric tons to five metric tons per hectare[ ].  Again, this claim is misleading as it is based upon ideal conditions not available to most Filipino farmers. Many corn farmers in the Philippines live in marginal, unirrigated areas with poor soil fertility. The major problem for many corn farmers is access to market and low corn prices. In fact, just a few years ago, stock piles of corn rotted in warehouses in Mindanao as farmers were unable to receive enough financial compensation for their product to justify its transportation.

Claims of yield increases of 30% are based upon the idea that BT-corn will avoid yield losses that may occur to due to corn borer infestation. Corn borer, however, is not a major problem in many areas in the Philippines including in the areas that Monsanto is most avidly promoting the corn. When doing trials for example, the lack of corn borer in the region meant that Monsanto had to actually import corn borer for its field trials. This means farmers are unlikely to attain yield gains at all with Bt-corn although they are paying nearly twice as much per bag for the seeds. Most farmers do not understand the rationale behind Monsanto's claim of a 30% increase and are basing the high cash outlay, and borrowing additional money for capital, on the basis that their yields will increase. The end of the season may well find them deeper in debt and with no increase in harvest to show for it.

By contrast, the recent farm economics report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture states that GM crops do not increase yield potential and may reduce yields and that Bt corn has had a negative economic impact on many farms [pages 21 and 30 of USDA report][ ]. 

Brave new world
After achieving approval for Bt-corn, the next step for Monsanto is to propagate the seeds. At the present time Monsanto does not have the volume of seeds they need to commercialize Bt-corn. Many of Monsantoís seeds are usually produced in other Asian countries and imported but, because the Philippines is the first country in Asia to allow Bt-corn, the seeds have to be produced in the Philippines. At present, seeds are being planted in the provinces of Isabela and Pangasinan to produce seeds to go to market in May/June.

The Bt traits are being genetically inserted into existing hybrid corn. This means that farmers will not be able to collect the seeds from the corn as the offspring of hybrids do not grow true to type. Monsanto doesn't have to worry about policing their patents to get the farmers to buy seed every harvest because farmers will already have the prospect of a loss in hybrid vigor as an   incentive. Also with Yield gard, a portion of the seeds will lose the trait as   part of a natural segregation process. It is expected that only 75% will of the   next generation of seeds will carry the trait of Bt. In this way, Monsanto is already drawing farmers into an industrialized agriculture where they are reliant upon corporations to buy seeds year after year. This adds to their all ready high production costs and will tend to lead farmers even deeper into debt.

Monsanto is also campaigning hard to achieve a 50% subsidy from the Philippine government[ ]. This multinational corporation with sales of $4.5 billion U.S. per year, is aiming to take money directly from the Philippine government and the Filipino people to prop up its genetic engineering business. The unsubsidized price is reported to be 4,200 to 4,600 pesos per sack. This is many times the price of even the most expensive hybrid seeds. In a country of mostly subsistence farmers, luring them to buying seeds at nearly $100 U.S. per bag is ridiculous.  These seeds are so unprofitable that Monsanto needs direct contributions from the Filipino people to line its greedy pockets.

In Southern Mindanao, Monsanto is hiding behind NGOs, the Department of Agriculture and government financing institutions such as the Quedan Corporation, to spread its genetically engineered seeds and branded hybrids. It is giving incentives to cooperatives who sell Monsantoís corn. One cooperative was promised a computer if they could see 100 bags of Monsanto's corn. This is deceiving in that farmers are led to believe that the outreach is done for social reasons rather than for the for-profit motives of Monsanto. 

In the province of Isabela, Monsanto has employed 30-50 ìtechniciansî that go out and sell the variety. In calling themselves ìtechniciansî rather than salespeople, Monsanto is again trying to hide behind the credibility of science to sell its dubious products.

Monsanto is currently working on introducing Roundup ready corn to the Philippines and also a variety that has both herbicide tolerance and the Bt trait. This will lead to all the problems of increasing chemical use and environmental damages outlined in the rest of this report. It makes a mockery of claims that Bt-corn will reduce pesticide use.

When introducing the Roundup Ready corn, Monsanto has plans to focus on upland areas which are traditionally subsistence based areas with higher numbers of indigenous people and poorer farmers like the Ifugao.  Monsanto's claim is that to focus on the upland areas because of the varieties can be used for so-called 'conservation tillage'. This means that rather than plowing the field to get rid of weeds and/or crop residue, they can spray with herbicide and so will prevent erosion. Throughout the Third World, Monsanto regularly offers financial start-up packages and incentives in order to promote its chemical and agricultural products[ ]. Not only will this heavily increase chemical use in these high conservation areas but will also draw in many subsistence farmers into the cycle of debt and poverty, exchanging the rich cultural heritage and abundant traditional varieties with industrial, genetically engineered monocultures.

 Dirty Politics
Many people point to the acceptance of GE in the U.S.A. as a justification that GE is really safe and should be accepted everywhere. But protests and resistance to GE has been on the rise in the U.S. as consumers and farmers learn more about the dangers of the products. The fact is, early GE products were rushed through in the U.S. helped by a system that put high level Monsanto executives in decision-making positions with the U.S. government and U.S. government officials put in Monsanto. All this was backed up by large ëdonationsí by Monsanto to U.S. senators who could then by relied upon to promote Monsantoís needs in government.

Biotechnology companies in total gave $633,850 to U.S. politicians at the federal level during the current and previous election cycles. Monsanto itself gave $74,900 to politicians, political action committees (PAC), and political parties in the 2000 election cycle[ ].  In this election cycle so far, Monsanto has given a total of $119, 104 to U.S. politicians (as of 31 December 2002) through the Monsanto Company Citizenship fund[ ].

One of Monsanto's major 'contributions' went to John Ashcroft who is now the U.S. Attorney General. He holds immense power in the U.S and led calls to promote GM crops in developing countries and Europe.  Monsanto gave him $18,000 towards getting reelected. He is now one of the most powerful people in the world and Monsanto has his thanks[ ]. 

The ties between Monsanto executives and the U.S.'s Bush administration are extremely strong. The secretaries of defense, health and agriculture, the attorney general and the chairman of the House agriculture committee all have links with Monsanto or the biotech industry.

The secretary of health and human services which has overall responsibility for food safety, pharmaceuticals and the Food and Drug Administration, and licenses biotechnology in the U.S. is Tommy Thompson, a major GM supporter who accepted campaign contributions from Monsanto.  He used state funds to set up a 3200m biotech zone and was one of 13 state governors to launch a campaign, partly funded by Monsanto, to persuade Americans of the benefits of GM crops. The agriculture secretary Ann Veneman was a director of the biotech company Calgene, now owned by Monsanto and Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary, was president of Searle Pharmaceuticals when it was bought by Monsanto. The Chair of the powerful House of Representatives agriculture committee, Larry Combest, also received $2,000 from Monsanto in the most recent elections[ ].

Monsanto has a similarly cozy relationship with the regulators in the U.S.A. This means that the very people deciding on food safety and regulations for genetically engineered products are ex-Monsanto people.  William D. Ruckelshaus, for example, who was the former chief administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.EPA) was a member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation for over a decade[ ].

The current Deputy Administrator of the EPA Linda Fisher also used to be a Monsanto executive. From 1995-2000, she was Vice-President and Corporate Officer at Monsanto where she had responsibility for government & public affairs. She served as Monsanto's representative on the US DA's Biotech Advisory Committee. She has now gone to work for government to supposedly regulate this very same company[ ].

From Monsanto to the government and from the government to Monsanto, there is a ìrevolving doorî that allows executives, politicians and regulators to pass round and round. Michael (Mickey) Kantor, for example, a former Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce and former Trade Representative of the United States, is now a member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation.  Josh King is a former director of production for White House events who became the director of global communication in the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation[ ]. 

This technique is employed wherever Monsanto goes. In the Philippines, the Deputy Director of IPB, the Institute of Plant Breeding, Manny Logrono, is now working with Monsanto, and Mr Aristottle Burgonio also previously of the IPB has also moved to Monsanto. Others including the ex-Director Dr Violeta Villegas have also been part of this 'revolving door' with multinationals transferring to Syngenta, Dole, or EastWest.  IPB is the country's premier breeding center for crops other than rice. It cooperated with Pioneer and Cargill in field tests for efficacy of Bt-corn, triggering controversy within the University of the Philippines - Los Banos and the Filipino scientific community. The project leader for the controversial Bt-corn trials in the Philippines, Mr Ed Fernandez, has also reportedly recently transferred to Monsanto.

Monsanto also gives 'incentive tours' to the U.S. to Filipino wholesalers who successfully press Monsanto products on farmers. Such tours have been conducted for Filipino journalists, scientists, religious leaders and others who are trusted by the public to provide neutral information. In an impoverished country and one that is culturally inclined toward politics of patronage, an overseas trip is 'incentive' indeed. Monsanto has wined and dined municipal and provincial officials to ensure support of their products and is currently campaigning to receive a 50% subsidy for their seeds. Such a subsidy would lure farmers into using GE seeds to enrich Monsantoís huge coffers literally at the expense of the Philippine government and the people of the Philippines.

Suspect Science
Time and time again court cases against Monsanto have showed a history of cover-up, manipulated data and misleading experimental design.

In a trial in West Virginia regarding the exposure of railroad workers to Dioxin, an official of the U.S. EPA concluded that Monsantoís data was manipulated. During the trial testimony showed that Monsanto misclassified exposed and non-exposed workers, arbitrarily deleted several key cancer cases, failed to properly classify subjects, was unable to provide assurance of untampered records and made false statements about dioxin contamination in Monsanto products. By omitting five deaths in the exposed group and putting four exposed workers in the control group, Monsanto was able to hide a 65% higher death rate in the workers exposed at the Nitro plant.[ ]

The trial lasted three years and eight months and was full of testimony regarding Monsanto's suspect science. In the end, the jury decided against Monsanto in a very unusual way. Although they did not see that the railway workers themselves had suffered harm to date and gave awards as low as one dollar for the plaintiffs, they were so outraged at the behavior of the Monsanto Company that they demanded more than sixteen million dollars punitive damages. The plaintiffs eventually lost on appeal on the technical legal ground that a punitive award could not be made in the absence of actual damages regardless of the facts in the case[ ].

Some of the allegations made by plaintiffs attorneys include that: Monsanto failed to notify and lied to its workers about the presence and danger of dioxin in its chlorophenol plant, so that it would not have to bear the expense of changing its manufacturing process or lose customers; Monsanto lied to EPA that it had no knowledge that its plant effluent contained dioxin; Monsanto secretly tested the corpses of people killed by accident in St. Louis for the presence of dioxin and found it in every case; Monsanto sold consumer products, including those recommended for cleaning babies' toys, knowingly contaminated with dioxin without warning the public for over thirty years; and, even though the Toxic Substances Control Act requires chemical companies to report the presence of hazardous substances in their products to EPA, Monsanto never gave notice and lied to EPA in reports[ ].

A Canadian paper, the Toronto Globe and Mail said, ìThe evidence of Monsanto executives at the trial portrayed a corporate culture share sales and profits were given a higher priority than the safety of products and its workers. They just didn't care about the health and safety of their workers. Instead of trying to make things safer, they relied on intimidation and threatened layoff to keep their employees working.î[ ]

This misleading an fraudulent science has been seen in many incidences. A review by Dr. Jenkins of the EPAís regulatory branch showed that Monsanto had systematically and over several years submitted false information. Monsanto failed to report contamination, submitted false information or specially submitted ìdoctoredî samples that had been specially prepared to be uncontaminated[ ].

A criminal investigation against Monsanto was initiated and went on for almost two years. However, despite the government's assurances that it would "investigate any allegations of fraud and, if appropriate, evaluate the full range of enforcement options" it did not rigorously pursue the case. In August of 1992, EPA quietly closed the criminal investigation without ever determining or even attempting to determine if the Monsanto studies were valid or invalid, let alone fraudulent. Recent EPA reports say that there is now convincing human evidence of the carcinogenicity of dioxin, in contradiction to the Monsanto studies[ ].

Of course, these are just some of the times that Monsanto has been caught. Who knows how many other examples there are where Monsanto has managed to continue to deceive the public. This is the company whose data on ‘safety tests’ for genetically engineered products we are asked to trust. It seems more like suicide.

Monsanto, the bully
Monsanto has tried to bully farmers, small companies, states and even countries into adopting its products and into keeping silent about its problems. Thankfully there are many who are not afraid to stand up against this giant even at the risk of major personal loss. In addition to threatening to sue hundreds of farmers in North America, Monsanto has threatened to sue publishers and television companies if they allow critical stories to go ahead. It has also threatened small companies and even a U.S. state, saying that labeling products as GMO free is defamatory. Countries like Argentina have been bullied in other ways with Monsanto saying they will withdraw processing facilities and other projects if the countries do not accept GE seed.

Monsanto threatened to sue a major television network, Fox, if it ran a documentary revealing some of the dangers of GMOs. Monsanto claimed the documentary would cause them ‘enormous damage.’ The TV network responded by pulling the show and firing the two journalists who insisted their documentary be shown without distortions. The two journalists, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson have since kept fighting Monsanto and were awarded a Goldman environmental prize for their efforts.[ ]

Monsanto also tried to stop the book, ìAgainst the Grainî from being published. This book again tries to show some of the negative consequences of GMOs in agriculture and exposes some of the dangers of Monsantoís herbicide, Roundup. The original publisher Vital Health caved in to Monsantoís demands and refused to publish the book written by Mark Lappe and Britt Bailey of the Center for Ethics and Toxics (CETOS). Luckily a courageous publisher Common Courage Press has agreed to go ahead with the book to help us get the information we need about genetic engineering[ ].
Monsanto has also attacked scientists who publish research that questions genetically engineered crops. For example, Monsanto and its aggressive PR company ran a smear campaign against two scientists from the University of California at Berkeley after they published research in the journal Science showing GM contamination of maize in Mexico. The campaign led to the article being withdrawn even though the majority of the journals reviewers did not agree with such a step. It also led to threats against the tenure of one of the academics at the University of California[ ].

Bullying authors and scientists is nothing new for Monsanto. When Rachel Carson first wrote Silent Spring, a vitally important book in the history of the worldwide environmental movement that exposed the dangers of pesticides, Monsanto tried to destroy her. They mounted a tremendous advertising campaign to discredit her and invalidate her work[ ].

Monsanto has also used the perversion in the U.S. legal system that allows corporations to act like ordinary citizens under the law and so claim the same constitutional rights to free speech and nondiscrimination. This has allowed a massive, profit-driven fiction such as Monsanto make legal claims about ‘defamation’ of its products. This is a legal protection intended for individuals. In 1998, for example, Monsanto threatened the State of Vermont in the U.S., for trying to pass a weak law aiming to verify claims that milk products were free from Bovine Growth Hormone. Although Vermont did eventually pass a law, it was watered down as a result of consultation with Monsanto[ ].

What we can do/ACTION!
The people against Monsanto
Throughout the world, people from all walks of life are standing up to Monsanto. They are demanding that life is not for profit, that farmers have the right to save their seed and care for the earth, and that we all have the right to live in a world free of GMOs.

In every continent, groups of people have got together and uprooted fields of genetically engineered crops. In Mindanao in the Philippines 800 farmers, church people, students and other members of civil society groups bravely stormed Monsanto's experimental field in Mindanao in the southern Philippines uprooting all Bt-corn plants. Around 100 indigenous Lumads also took part in the protest action. In India, thousands of farmers occupied and burned down the three fields of genetically modified cotton in front of TV cameras in Karntaka in an open act of civil disobedience[ ]. Such actions have also taken place in Brazil, New Zealand, the U.S. and throughout Europe.

Peoples' movements have taken other actions against Monsanto. Protests have been made at the company's annual general meetings, lawsuits have been filed, conferences held to share information, scientific experiments conducted to disprove their suspect science,  protests and marches held by millions all over the world.  Local governments have passed resolutions against Monsanto and GMOs. In Bay, Laguna in the Philippines a field trial was successfully stopped by an anti-GMO council ordinance. For 29 days in April and May of 2003, environmental activists held a hunger strike in front of the gates of the Department of Agriculture to demand for a moratorium on the commercialization of Bt-corn.

And campaigns have been successful. In Europe, public opinion against GMOs are so strong that a moratorium was put in place. Australia and New Zealand, Europe, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Sri Lanka are among those countries that have severely restricted GMOs through bans, partial bans or labeling restrictions.

Algeria has banned the import, distribution, commercialization and utilization of genetically engineered plant material, except in the cases of research. Egypt has declared that it will not import genetically engineered wheat. Greece has banned AgrEvo herbicide-resistant rapeseed, and has imposed a moratorium on biotech crop trials. Four Italian regions have banned biotech crops and Japan has banned the import of genetically engineered wheat, and adopted recent legislation which has set zero tolerance for imports that contain unapproved genetically engineered foods. 

Supermarkets and major food producers are bowing to demands from the public for GM free food. Food giants Nestle and Unilever in Europe have stated they are GM free. Major supermarket chains in Europe and the U.S. have pledged to avoid it and even the company responsible for providing catering services to Monsanto decided in 1999 to remove, as far as possible GM soya and maize from their food.

And the flow of new products on the market has been severely restricted. Even in the U.S., bastion of the GE giants, Monsanto is forced to wait to see if Japan and Europe will accept GE wheat before it is approved. A decade ago, Monsanto would have thought their products would be everywhere and they would be swimming in profits, instead they are drowning in trouble and controversy.  Economically, the public outcry against GMOs, patents on life and the corporatization of our food chain have hurt Monsanto where it hurts - in its profits. They made a loss last year and share prices have plummeted. After another shock resignation of their CEO in December, they are still to find a replacement. This is a company in trouble.

Supporting small farmers
The alternatives to Monsantoís style of corporate, industrialized agriculture already exist and have existed for millennia. Throughout the world, farming communities have initiated projects to bring biodiversity back into the fields and to reclaim their independence from the corporate system. In doing so they regain the self respect and control denied by Monsanto and industrial agriculture. The farmers reclaim their place as breeders, managers and stewards, promoting an agriculture that is organic and based upon community values.

The MASIPAG program of the Philippines is one such example. With over 30,000 farmer members, MASIPAG is a non-government organization that aims to contribute to farmers empowerment, soil regeneration and rehabilitation of biodiversity among marginalized farming communities. This is done through the use of locally adapted sustainable farming systems using farmer-bred and farmer-selected seeds. MASIPAG farmers are encouraged to use farmer-bred seeds and to recover traditional seed varieties within their own locality. Trial farms are set up in rural communities and managed by local farmers who thereby become the real leaders of the recovery and conservation program. As their knowledge improves, farmers are more able to choose the best locally adapted parent materials which will perform successfully in their fields.

There are many other examples in communities throughout the world where rural families have decided to take control back from corporations and develop an agriculture that can sustain the people and the environment. Farmer-centered research approaches are being pursued on every inhabited continent. It is these approaches that feed the world, rather than the pockets of companies like Monsanto and their shareholders.

It is time that agriculture was rooted in Farmersí Rights and farmer empowerment. Rather than working for the needs of mega-corporations, agriculture should be farmer-led, environmentally and socially sustainable, and focused on the needs of the poor. For genuine development and empowerment, solutions must be found that are based on the needs of the farmers and farming communities using the science of farmers not of elites and corporations. 

By using farmer-bred seeds and community ownership, as well as organic farming, small farmers can bypass the problems of Monsanto and continue independently of corporations. Their lives, the lives of their communities and the lives of all of us on this planet do not need to be held hostage to profit.
MASIPAG Statement on Farmers Rights

Adopted at the Workshop, Defend Farmersí Rights From Threats of the Philippine Plant Variety Protection Act 2002, Dona Jovita Resort, Laguna, Philippines, 2-4th August 2002.

Collectively, farmers share the social responsibility to feed society. For generations, they have nurtured and bred our food crops, and have conserved and improved the genetic resources that form the basis of food and agriculture. With farmersí responsibility to feed society, and stemming from their enormous contribution, comes farmersí rights.  Farmers have rights over their innovations, practices, knowledge, technologies and biological resources evolved through generations, over the factors and processes of production (land, capital, technology, inputs), and over legal and political decisions that undermine their ability to produce food and conserve genetic resources.

The seeds, food, animals and associated knowledge that farmers have conserved and developed are not the product of any single farmer but are the collective products of many farming communities through many generations. Farmers rights are thus collective rights and farmers are not owners, but stewards, of our biodiversity and genetic resources.

Farmers must be free to produce food, and must be appreciated, recognized, protected and strengthened in their work by their inalienable and inviolable rights relating to seeds, production, biodiversity and genetic resources, politics and decision-making, culture and knowledge, land, information and research, and sociopolitical factors as follows:

With respect to LAND farmers have the right to:
Own land;
Swift and just land redistribution programs;
To use abandoned and unproductive lands (both public and private) for the purposes of food production.

With respect to SEEDS AND GENETIC RESOURCES, recognizing that seeds are the life of the farmer, farmers have the right to:

 Use, save, exchange, multiply, sell and improve their genetic resources;

 Control seeds and planting materials including the right to refuse access to the seeds and knowledge where such access will be detrimental to farmers rights (such as to transnational corporations and international research institutions as appropriate);

 Access seeds and genetic resources appropriate to their local environment and to the capacity and needs of farmers in their communities;

 Freely choose what seeds, plants and animals to use on his/her farm.

In PRODUCTION farmers have the right to:
Appropriate technologies which are simple, practical and inexpensive and
do not harm the environment or human health;
Abundant and safe water systems;
Prevent technologies, policies, programs and institutions that have the potential to destroy the resource base of farming, including the land, the water, the air, and seeds;
Control the products of the harvest and the benefits of production including marketing and distribution;
A fair price for their products.

On BIODIVERSITY farmers have the right to:
Conserve and protect biodiversity and genetic resources including on and off-farm biodiversity and watersheds which are an integral part of farming systems;
Prevent technologies, policies and institutions that destroy the watershed and otherwise negatively impact on the ability of farmers to produce food and conserve biodiversity (e.g. logging, mining, and chemical based farming).

In POLITICS AND DECISION-MAKING farmers have the right to:
Join, support and form institutions that protect the rights of farmers;
Meaningful participation in formulating policies, laws and programs that affect farmersí lives on local, national and international levels;
Block laws, policies, programs and institutions that are contradictory to sustainable agriculture or farmers’ rights;
Government subsidies and support in agriculture including improved traditional varieties and indigenous resources.

On CULTURE AND KNOWLEDGE farmers have the right to:
Control and use their own traditional knowledge free from the threat of biopiracy;
Freely express their local culture and knowledge, and to pass it on to future generations;
Respect for their way of life, their farming practices and their knowledge;
Live in a world free of privatized intellectual property rights.

In INFORMATION AND RESEARCH farmers have the right to:
Independent and balanced information about seeds and agriculture in order to make informed choices;
Truth in advertising including the right not to be bombarded with misleading or exaggerated statements designed to promote certain varieties of seeds for profit;
Updated, independent and balanced information on issues that affect farmersí rights;
Undertake their own research and develop innovation;
Provide direction for agricultural research.

In the SOCIOPOLITICAL area farmers have the right to:
Organize and join organizations to protect and promote their rights;
Promote sustainable agriculture and ecologically abundant agriculture;
Live in a community that is peaceful and decent;
Access safe and healthy food;
A dignified and meaningful life;
A viable and sustainable livelihood.

These rights aim to safeguard farmers against the negative effects of globalization including the excessive power and influence of transnational corporations. Farmers rights implicitly reject intellectual property rights and genetic engineering which compromise farmersí ability to produce food and to fulfill their obligations as stewards of genetic resources. Privatization of genetic resources clashes with the very essence of farmers rights which implies collective rights and responsibilities. We call on governments and institutions to recognize and implement these rights at local, regional, national and international levels.  Farmers have the right and duty to defend themselves, their knowledge, the land and genetic resources against any threat in whatever form it may take. Food security is only possible if we allow farmers to freely grow food and protect agrobiodiversity as has been their right and responsibility for generations. Recognition and implementation of farmers rights is essential not only to protect farmers in the present but in order to ensure the continuity of activities that are crucial for humanity at large.

[ ]Scott Killman, 2002, "Monsanto Seeks Successor, may face more upheaval", Wall Street Journal, 19 December 2002; A.V. Krebs, 2003, "Monsanto Sales Down, CEO Verfaillie Out and Weed Resistance Up", The Agribusiness Examiner, 8 Jan 2003, Issue #214.
[ ]Jim Suhr, 2003, "Justice Department Opens Monsanto Probe," The
Associated Press; Randy Fabi, 2003, "USDA Mulls strict rules for Monsanto Biotech Wheat," Reuters.
[ ]Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, 2003, Monsanto: heading for disaster?
[ ]Hoovers Online, Monsanto Company Profile [accessed April 2003]
[ ]Vandana Shiva, Monsanto's Expanding Monopolies, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, New Delhi.
[ ]Hoovers Online, Monsanto Company Profile [accessed April 2003]
[ ]Monsanto Corporation, 2003, Spring 2003 Investor Meetings.
[ ]David Brunnstrom, 2002, "Agent Orange no mystery for some Vietnam children." Reuters News Service. <>.
[ ]Meryl Nass, MD, 2002, "Monsanto's Agent Orange: The Persistent Ghost from the Vietnam War," Organic Consumers Association.
[ ]Jeremy Bigwood, 2001-02, "Monsanto and the 'Drug War,'" Earth Island Journal, Winter 2001-2002.
[ ]Greenpeace, 1997, Monsanto - The Chemical Giant Experimenting with our Food.
[ ]Michael Grunwald, 2001, "Monsanto Hid Decades Of Pollution: PCBs Drenched Ala. Town, But No One Was Ever Told", Washington Post. January 1, 2002, Page A01.
[ ]Greenpeace, 1997, Monsantoís Criminal Record For Environmental Contamination.
[ ] Greenpeace, 1997, Monsanto - The Chemical Giant Experimenting with our Food.
[ ]Cate Jenkins, Ph.D., Chemist Regulatory Development Branch (OS 332) Characterization and Assessment Division, "Criminal Investigation of Monsanto Corporation - Cover-up of Dioxin Contamination in Products - Falsification of Dioxin Health Studies," Memorandum to Office of Criminal Investigations Center, EPA.  
[ ]Greenpeace, 1997, Monsanto’s Criminal Record For Environmental Contamination.
[ ]Herbicide Factsheet: Glyphosate (Roundup), Journal of Pesticide Reform, Fall 1998, updated November 1998. (;
CropChoice news, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2002; Rachel's Environment and Health News, issue 751, Sept. 5, 2002; EHP Supplement 3, Vol. 110 (June 2002), pgs. 441-449.
[ ]Lennart Hardell, M.D., PhD. Department of Oncology, Orebro Medical Centre, Orebro, Sweden and Miikael Eriksson, M.D., PhD, Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden, 'A Case-Control Study of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Exposure to Pesticides', Cancer, March 15, 1999/ Volume 85/ Number 6.
[ ] The soil association, 2000, Briefing paper, Pesticides: Glyphosate.
[ ] PANUPS, ìMonsanto Agrees to Change Ads and EPA Fines Northrup King,î January 10, 1997; ìMonsanto Strategies,î  The Guardian (UK), September 17, 1997.
[ ] Greenpeace, 1997, Monsantoís Criminal Record For Environmental Contamination.
[ ] Ibid.
[ ]Greenpeace. 1997. Monsantoís Criminal Record For Environmental Contamination; George George Draffan, Monsanto Corporate Profile, Public Information Network.
[ ]Quoted from Brian Tokar, "Monsanto a chequered history", The Ecologist, Sept/Oct 1998
[ ] "Milk, rBGH, and Cancer", Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly #593 April 9, 1998.
[ ] Shiv Chopra and others, 1998, RBST (NUTRILAC) "Gaps Analysis" Report by RBST Internal Review Team, Health Protection Branch, Health Canada, April 21, 1998. p29.
[ ] "Milk, rBGH, and Cancer", Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly #593 April 9, 1998.
[ ] Greenpeace, 1997, Monsantoís Criminal Record For Environmental Contamination.
[ ] George Monbiot, 1999, Monsanto loses its hormones, 22nd July, 1999.
[ ] African Scientists Condemn Monsanto's Latest Tactics and Call for European Support,  3rd August 1998.  [ ]Robert Vint, 2002, "Force - Feeding The World," Genetic Food Alert.
[ ]Guy Hatchard, 2002, "U.S. farmers reap heavy penalty for sowing GM crops," New Zealand Herald, 28 August 2002.
[ ] Soil Association UK, 2002. Seeds of doubt: experiences of North American farmers of genetically modified crops, September 2002.
[ ] Greenpeace, 2002, Press release, Philippines.
[ ]Third World Network 2002, Open letter to the Government of the U.S.A, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organisation, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, 20 September 2002.
[ ]Technical report on the Food Standards Agency project G010008, 2002, Evaluating the risks associated with using GMOs in human foods, University of Newcastle.
[ ] Lappe & Bailey, l998, Against the grain: biotechnology and the corporate takeover of food, Common Courage Press.
[ ]Sadhbh O' Neill, June 1999, "New Study Links Monsanto's Roundup to Cancer" Genetic Concern;  CropChoice news, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2002 ; Rachel's Environment and Health News, issue 751, Sept. 5, 2002.
[ ]International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds,
<>; Associated Press, December 18, 2002; St. Louis Dispatch, December 19, 2002.
[ ]Food Chemical News, 2002, "Organic Farmers' Class Action Suit Moves Slowly in Canadian Courts", from The Agribusiness Examiner, May 10, 2002 #161.
[ ] Randy Fabi, 2003, "USDA Mulls strict rules for Monsanto Biotech Wheat," Reuters.
[ ] Greenpeace, 1997, Monsanto - The Chemical Giant Experimenting with our Food.
[ ] "Bt cotton failed to give results in Vidarbha," The Hitavada (central India's major newspaper), Sep.4, 2002.
[ ]Ashok Sharma, 2003, "Regulator says no to Bt Cotton Cultivation" Financial Express, April 26, 2003.
[ ]Hilbeck, A., Moar W.J., Pusztai-Carey M., Filippini A. and Bigler F, 1998, "Toxicity of Bacillus thuringiensis CryIAb Toxin to the Predator Chrysoperla carnea (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae)", Environmental Entomology, Vol. 27, no. 4, August; Hilbeck, A., Baumgartner, M., Fried, P.M. & Bigler, F.,1998, "Effects of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis corn-fed prey on mortality and development time of immature Chrysoperla carnea (Neuroptera: Chrysopiae)",  Environmental Entomology, Vol. 27, no. 2, p 480-487.
[ ] Geoffrey Lean, 2003, "Insects thrive on GM Bt pest-killing crops" Independent on Sunday (London), March 30, 2003.
[ ]From Patent application WO 02/28184/5. Quoted in the New Scientist. August 17, 2002. Vol 175, page 22.
[ ]Letter from the President of the American Corn Growers Association to EPA's Christine Todd Whitman regarding negative market impact to farmers from Bt Corn, August 26, 2001. See <>.
[ ]Letter from the President of the American Corn Growers Association to EPA's Christine Todd Whitman regarding negative market impact to farmers from Bt Corn, August 26, 2001.
[ ]Dr. Vandana Shiva, 2003, "The Monsanto Amendment: The Real Reasons for the Second  Amendment of the Indian Patent Act", Synthesis/Regeneration, 30 (Winter 2003).
[ ]ETC Group, 2003, "Europe's (and the world's) big soy berger: Patently Wrong", News Release, May 7, 2003.
[ ]David Mercer, 2003, "Seed Makers suits sow hostility," Arkansas Democrat Gazette, May 18, 2003.
[ ]The Campaign to label genetically modified foods, 2001, Heartbreak in the Heartland: The True Cost of Genetically Engineered Crops,  26 minute video of farmers speaking out about GMOs. Taped October 10, 2001 at the University of Texas, Austin.
[ ] James Parker, 2003, "Patent battle lives on: Schmeiser to take fight against Monsanto to high court," The StarPhoenix, 9 May 2003.
[ ] See Monsanto sues Nelson farm <>)
[ ] Associated Press, 2003, "Farmer sent to prison over cotton seed," The Knox News Sentinel, May 10, 2003.
[ ] Brandon Copple, 2002, "One Cotton-Pickin' Mess", OutFront, 14 October 2002.
[ ] Vandana Shiva, Monsanto's Expanding Monopolies, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, New Delhi.
[ ]Ben Blackwell, 2003, "Soya republic", The Ecologist, 22 January, 2003.
[ ]Ibid.
[ ]Ibid.
[ ] Norfolk Gene Information Network, 2002, Monsanto Wants to "Help" Argentina, 12 December 2002.
[ ]Mae-Wan Ho, 2000, Argentina Cools to GM Crops, 24 September - 1 October 2000.
[ ]Damian Wroclavsky, 2002, "GMOs help Argentina fight subsidies, Monsanto", Reuters, 11 December 2002.
[ ]Matthew Townsend, 1998, "Meet the company that would privatise nature itself " The Age, Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday 15 December 1998.
[ ]John Vidal, 1999, "World Braces for Terminator 2," The Guardian, London, October 6 1999.
[ ]Rod Harbinson, 2003, "Zero Tillage in the South," Biotechnology and Development Monitor, No 46, p13.
[ ] Leilani Gallardo, 2002, "Monsanto to tie up with 3 RP firms for BT Corn sale," Business World (Philippines), December 4, 2002.
[ ] see <>
[ ]Leilani Gallardo, 2003, "Govt may grant subsidy for Bt corn Seed purchases," BusinessWorld (Philippines),  January 6, 2003.
[ ] Rod Harbinson, 2003, "Zero Tillage in the South," Biotechnology and Development Monitor, No 46, p13.
[ ]Michiel Wackers 2002, "A look at how many biotech bucks make it into politics", CropChoice News, 20 February 2002.
[ ] Based on data released by the U.S. FEC on Tuesday, February 25, 2003, Monsanto Co 2002 PAC Summary Data, <>.
[ ]Karen Branch-Brioso, 2002, "Ashcroft and his donors: Did Monsanto buy itself an attorney general?" St. Louis Post-Disptatch, 2 April 2002
[ ]John Vidal, 2002, Biotech firms could have undue influence, say critics, 1 February 2001.
[ ] GreenBloc, 2000, Monsanto Employees and Government Regulatory Agencies Are The Same People! 8 December 2000.
[ ]Washington Post, 7 February 2001.
[ ] GreenBloc, 2000, Monsanto Employees and Government Regulatory Agencies Are The Same People! 8 December 2000.
[ ]Meryl Nass, MD, 2002, "Monsanto's Agent Orange: The Persistent Ghost from the Vietnam War," Organic Consumers Association.
[ ] William Sanjour, 1994, The Monsanto Investigation, Memorandum to David Bussard, Director Characterization and Assessment Division, U.S. EPA.
[ ]Kemner, et al v Monsanto Co., No. 80-L-970, In the Appellate Court of Illinois Fifth District, Plaintiffs-Appellees' Brief, October 3, 1989.
[ ]Peter Sills, 1998, Toronto Globe and Mail. See page 256, The Ecologist. Sept/Oct 1998.
[ ]U.S. EPA Regulatory Branch, 1990.
[ ] William Sanjour, 1994, The Monsanto Investigation, Memorandum to David Bussard, Director Characterization and Assessment Division, U.S. EPA.
[ ]Ronnie Cummins, 2001, "Monsanto and Fox TV unite to Suppress Journalists' Free Speech on Hazards of Genetically Engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH or rBST)" Pure Food Campaign, Minnesota, U.S.A.
[ ]Michael Colby, 1998, Food & Water Journal, Summer 1998.
[ ] "Monsanto Accused of "Dirty Tricks" in Attempting to Discredit GE Corn Critics" The Ecologist, from Agribusiness Examiner, May 7, 2002 #160.
[ ] Virginia Lee, 2002, Common Ground Interview with John Robbins, Common Ground.
[ ]Michael Colby, 1998, Food & Water Journal, Summer 1998.
[ ]Professor Nanjundaswamy, International Call to Action: Monsanto on the Ropes, Karntaka State Farmers Association.

"There are numerous... flaws in the Monsanto health studies. Each of these misrepresentations and falsifications served to negate any conclusions of adverse health effects from dioxins."
"Monsanto has in fact submitted false information to EPA which directly resulted in weakened regulations"
Dr. Cate Jenkins, U.S. EPA Regulatory Development Branch, 1990.
"There is a clear pattern of fraudulent misconduct in the dioxin science performed by the chemical industry and its indentured academics."  Dr. Samuel Epstein, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois, 1990. (Have as box. from  Greenpeace. 1997. Monsanto's Criminal Record For Environmental Contamination.)