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[cg] Monsanto expanding monopolies from seeds to water


Hello Everyone, 

Here's more on the saga of multinational, bioengineering monster
Monsanto. Read it and weep.

Laura Berman
FoodShare Toronto



http://www.zmag.org/Commentaries/donorform.htm  ZNet Commentary

MONSANTO NOW EXPANDING MONOPOLIES FROM SEED TO WATER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

by Dr. Vandana Shiva

Over the past few years, Monsanto, a chemical company, has positioned
itself as an agricultural company through control over seed the first
link in the food chain.
Monsanto now wants to control water, 
the very basis of life.

In 1996, Monsanto bought the biotechnology assets of Agracetus, a
subsidiary of W.R. GRACE, for $150 million and Calagene, a California
based plant biotechnology company for $340 million. In 1997, Monsanto
acquired Holden seeds, the Brazilian seed company Sementes Agrocerus
and
Asgrow. In 1998, Monsanto purchased Cargill's seed operations for $1.4
billion. It bought Delta and Pine land for $1.82 billion and Dekalb for
$2.3 billion. It bought Unilever's European wheat breeding business for
$525 million. In India Monsanto has bought Mahyco, Maharashtra Hybrid
Company, E.I.D. Parry and Rallis. Mr.Jack Kennedy of Monsanto has
stated
"We propose to penetrate the Indian Agricultural sector in a big way.
MAHYCO is a good vehicle." According to Robert Farley of Monsanto "what
you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it is
really
a consolidation of the entire food chain. Since water is an central to
food production as seed is, and without water life is not possible.
Monsanto is now trying to establish its control over water. During 1999
Monsanto plans to launch a new water business, starting with India and
Mexico since both these countries are facing water shortages.

Monsanto is seeing a new business opportunity in water because of the
emerging water crisis and the funding available to make this vital
resource available to people. As it states in its strategy paper,
"first
we believe that discontinuities (either major policy changes or major
trendline breaks in resource quality or quantity) are likely,
particularly
in the area of water and we will be well positioned via these business
to
profit even more significantly when these discontinuities occur.
Second,
we are exploring the potential of non-conventional financing (NGO's,
World
Bank, USDA etc.) that may lower our investment or provide local country
business building resources." Thus, the crisis of pollution and
depletion
of water resources is viewed by Monsanto as a business opportunity. For
Monsanto "Sustainable Development" means the conversion of an
ecological
crisis into a market of scarce resources. "The business logic of
sustainable development is that population growth and economic
development
will apply increasing pressure on natural resource markets. These
pressures and the world's desire to prevent the consequences of these
pressures if unabated, will create vast economic opportunity when we
look
at the world through the lens of sustainability we are in a position to
see current and foresee impending resource market trends and imbalances
that create market needs. We have further focussed this lens on the
resource market of water and land.

These are the markets that are most relevant to us as a life sciences
company committed to delivering "food, health and hope" to the world,
and
there are markets in which there are predictable sustainability
challenges
and therefore opportunities to create business value." Monsanto plans
to
earn revenues of $420 million and net income of $63 million by 2008
from
its water business in India and Mexico. By the year 2010 about 2.5
billion
people in the world are projected to lack access to safe drinking
water.
At least 30% of the population in China, India, Mexico and US is
expected
to face severe water stress. By the year 2025 the supply of water in
India
will be 700 cubic kilometers per year while the demand is expected to
rise
to 1050 units. Control over this scarce and vital resource will of
course
be a source of guaranteed profits. As John Bastin of the European Bank
of
Reconstruction and Development has stated "Water is the last
infrastructure frontier for Private investors." Monsanto estimates that
providing safe water is a several billion dollar market. It is growing
at
25 - 30% in rural communities and is estimated to be $300 million by
the
year 2000 in India and Mexico. This is the amount currently spent by
NGO's
for water development projects and local government water supply
schemes
and Monsanto hopes to tap these public finances for providing water to
rural communities and convert water supply into market. The Indian
Government spent over $ 1.2 billion between 1992-97 for various water
projects whicle the World Bank spent $900 million. Monsanto would like
to
divert this public money from public supply of water to establishing
Monsanto's water monopoly. Since in rural areas the poor cannot pay, in
Monsanto's view "Capturing a piece of the value created for this
segment
will require the creation of a non-traditional mechanism targeted at
building relationships with local government and NGO's as well as
through
innovative financing mechanisms, such as microcredit. Monsanto also
plans
to penetrate the Indian market for safe water by establishing a joint
venture with Eureka Forbes / TATA, which controls 70% of the UV
Technologies. To enter the water business Monsanto has acquired an
equity
stake in Water Health International (WHI) with an option to buy the
rest
of the business. Monsanto will also buy a Japanese company which has
developed electrolysis technology. The joint venture with TATA / Eureka
Forbes is supposed to provide market access, and fabricate, distribute,
service water systems, Monsanto will leverage their brand equity in the
Indian Market. The joint venture route has been chosen so that
"Monsanto
can achieve management control over local operations but not have legal
consequences due to local issues."

Another new business that Monsanto is starting in 1999 in Asia in
aquaculture. The aquaculture business will build on the foundation of
Monsanto's agricultural biotechnology and capabilities for fish feed
and
fish breeding. By 2008 Monsanto expects to earn revenues of $1.6
billion
and net income of $266 million from its aquaculture business. While
Monsanto's entry into aquaculture is through its Sustainable
Development
activity, industrial aquaculture has been established to be highly non
sustainable. The Supreme Court of India had banned industrial shrimp
farming because of it's catastrophic consequences. However, the
government, under pressure of the aquaculture industry, is attempting
to
change the laws, to undo the Supreme Court order. At the same time,
attempts are being made by the World Bank to privatise water resources
and
establish trade in water rights. These trends will suit Monsanto well
in
establishing its new Water Business and Aquaculture business. The World
Bank has already offered to help. As the Monsanto strategy paper states
"We are particularly enthusiastic about the potential of partnering
with
the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank to joint
venture projects in developing markets. The IFC is eager to work with
Monsanto to commercialise sustainability opportunities and would bring
both investment capital and on the ground capabilities to our efforts."

Monsanto's Water and Aquaculture Business, like it's seed business, is
aimed at controlling vital resources necessary for survival, converting
them into a market and using public finances to underwrite the
investments. A more efficient conversion of public goods into private
profit would be difficult to find. Water is however too basic for life
and
survival. The right to water is the right to life. The privatisation
and
commodification of water is a threat to the right to life. India has
had
major water movements to conserve and share water. The Pani Panchayat
and
the water conservation movement in Maharashtra and Tarun Bharat Sangh
in
Alwar, have regenerated and equitably shared water as a commons. This
is
the only way that everyone will have the right to water and nobody will
have the right to abuse and overuse water. Water is a commons and must
be
managed as a commons. It cannot be controlled and sold by a Life
Sciences
Corporation that peddles in Death.







 
===
Laura Berman
FoodShare Toronto
Toronto Community Garden Network
phone: (416) 392-1668
fax: (416) 392-6650
email: community_gardens@yahoo.com
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