For immediate release: May 6, 2003 Contacts: Daniel Romano, 314-771-8576; Michael Allen, 314-353-8176
Monsanto Climbing a Financial Limb?
May 6, 2003. St. Louis, Missouri. Monsanto and other biotechnology giants are using genetic engineering in an attempt to grab control of the world’s food supply, charge critics who will speak at the 7th International Gathering on Biodevastation, in St. Louis May 16 – 18. Biodevastation 7 will begin immediately before the World Agricultural Forum (WAF). According to Biodevastation representative Brian Tokar, “Monsanto has been the most aggressive of the corporations promoting biotech crops and wantonly contaminating food growing regions of the world.”
Other Biodevastation speakers will demonstrate that genetically modified (GM) crops cannot “feed the world” as Monsanto promises because GM crops result in lower agricultural yield. They also believe that GM crops interfere with many traditional farm practices. This could be one reason that the St. Louis based company has fared so poorly financially. At its annual meeting on April 24, Monsanto admitted to stockholders that its sales had fallen 15% from 2001 to 2002.
Many observers see Monsanto facing an uncertain future from having put too many of its financial eggs in the GM basket. The company holds 91% of the world’s market in GM seed at the same time global resistance to the technology is growing.
Though Monsanto seems oblivious to its critics, opposition to GM technology is spreading from Europe to Africa. Despite a drought in southern Africa in summer 2002, many African nations said they would rather have no corn from the US than the GM corn the US offered. They feared it could contaminate their own corn and render their harvest worthless on the European market.
Biodevastation 7 is subtitled “A Forum on Environmental Racism, Biowarfare and Environmental Racism.” It is hosted by the Gateway Green Alliance, which is affiliated with the Green Party USA. Event organizer Daniel Romano charges that “Efforts to force GMOs upon an unwilling world are racist attacks on the culture and economies of Africa, Asia and Latin America.”
A major panel at Biodevastation 7,”Globalization, Food Imperialism & War,” will include:
* Dr. Vandana Shiva, director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in New Delhi, is one of the world’s leading critics of “free trade,” biotechnology, and the ways biotech-based transnationals are threatening the survival of traditional growers of food throughout the world.
* Dr. Mwananyanda Mbikusita Lewanika, of the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research in Zambia, was a key figure in the Zambian government’s effort to investigate the implications of GM food aid. He was part of the Zambian scientific mission that came to the US in summer 2002 and ultimately urged its government to continue refusing genetically engineered corn.
* Brian Tokar, of the Institute for Social Ecology’s Biotechnology Project in Vermont, is a widely published author, grassroots activist, and winner of a 1999 Project Censored Award for his investigative history of Monsanto.
* John Kinsman, a Wisconsin dairy farmer, is president of Family Farm Defenders.
Other Biodevastation panels will cover “Environmental Racism,” “Biowarfare,” “The International Threat to Farms & Farmers” and “Crop Contamination & the Future of Indigenous Agriculture.”
See Zmag.org for other articles by Brian Tokar or Vandana Shiva, or use a search engine.