GMO cotton seeds made by Monsanto collaborator banned in Indian state after crops fail
Genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton produced by Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco), a collaborator with international biotech kingpin Monsanto, has officially been banned from the Indian state of Karnataka, a major cotton-producing region of India, after the heavily hyped transgenic crop failed to deliver on both pest resistance and yields.
Hailed by Mahyco as the answer to higher yields and improved pest resistance, the crop turned out to be a complete dud, leading to about 54,000 hectares’, or around 133,000 acres’, worth of failed cotton crops. For the farmers who planted all this fake cotton, this translates into a financial loss of 230 crore rupees, or the U.S. equivalent of nearly $38.1 million.
According to the Bangalore Mirror, the Karnataka government made a bold move on behalf of the farmers involved by quickly moving to ban and blacklist the company from the region after learning of the crop failures. Rather than slap the company on the wrist with a simple fine, which is what Mahyco requested, authorities decided to defend its farmers.
From this point on, Mahyco is barred “from participating in any form in any agricultural process involving supply of Bt seeds in the state,” reads the ban, noting that crop losses were widespread, stretching across seven state districts.
Karnataka government puts people over corporations
A stark contrast to what very likely would have taken place here in the U.S. under similar circumstances, Karnataka officials rejected an initial plea by Mahyco to simply compensate the injured farmers as well as the government in exchange for continuing to do business as usual. The government of Karnataka decided instead that this would be a major injustice.
“Usually private companies offer compensation and the government lets them off the hook, but the state government has decided to act tough on Mahyco,” stated a source familiar with the situation to the Bangalore Mirror. “Farmers have suffered massive losses as the crops have failed despite the company making tall advertisements about the superiority of its genetically-modified seeds.”
You can be sure that if the same thing happened here in the U.S., the federal government would hardly stand up against Big Biotech. In fact, multinational ag companies now call the shots here in the fascist states of America, where the little guy is just a source of labor for the corporations that control the government for their own interests.
“Accepting their (Mahyco’s) compensation proposal would have tied the state government hands,” added the same unnamed source. “The government has decided to compensate farmers for the loss they have incurred and will pay Rs 6,000 [$100] per hectare. This will mean a burden of Rs 35 crore [$5.8 million].”
India far less corrupt than US when it comes to agriculture
Mind you, the Karnataka government’s decision in this matter came at a loss to itself. Not only did government officials reject what can only be described as a cash bribe from Mahyco to ignore the injustice, but it also voluntarily agreed to compensate farmers throughout the area at a financial loss.
This type of thing would never happen in the U.S., of course, where our own representatives actually fight against us on simple, common-sense measures in the public interest like increasing transparency through GMO labeling. The Indian government, it seems, is actually more people-minded than our own government when it comes to agricultural policies in the public interest.
“Other than health concerns, this incident raises fingers against those groups who have been advocating higher output of GM crops,” wrote one commenter over at Business Standard about the situation. “[It’s] high time to kick-start ongoing discussions taking further in particular economic aspects associated with the GM crops and their use, analyzing the incident meticulously.”