Swimming with the Razorfishes

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Rice

Washington Post: U.S. Rice Supply Contaminated with Genetically Altered Variety

This kind of genetic engineering, to introduce resistance to a specific pesticide, is the most insidious, dangerous kind.

Introducing pesticide resistance allows the seed company to patent the seed (an absurd idea on its own), forcing farmers to to sign "license agreements" that prevent them from collecting seed and replanting it, as farmers have done for millennia. The farmers are strong-armed into harmful agreements that limit what they can do with the seed and resulting crops, all for the benefit of resistance to a specific pesticide, which the company conveniently sells.

Strangely, these crops rarely show any increased yield over traditional, non-bioengineerd species; they often produce less than their natural counterparts due to dependence on pesticide, chemical fertilizer, and intensive irrigation. Seed companies encourage farmers to plant rice monocultures where many varieties once grew. And though seed companies claim the genetically-modified products are safe, no one really has any idea what the long-term effects might be for either the land or those who consume GMO crops.

A quick search on Google shows how effective World Bank and Government supported seed monopolies have been at making wealthy corporations richer while deepening existing poverty. Another quick search shows just how few are benefitting from GMO seed.

If you are interested, Stolen Harvest is an enlightening read.

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