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Re: [cg] Monsanto expanding monopolies from seeds to water

Laura (and all)...

Thanks for the articles and info sent on genetic engineering. I've been 
tracking this issue for quite some time and wondering about how to organize 
effective campaigns to educate folks on the community garden level (and in 
communities generally) about how corporations are not only increasingly 
controlling food and agriculture, but the trend toward "patenting life".

Rather than "read it and weep", what are folks' ideas on strategies to "read 
it and act" by responding thoughtfully and thoroughly from a place that 
honors our communities, farmers and the broader public?


>From: Laura Berman <community_gardens@yahoo.com>
>To: community_garden@mallorn.com
>Subject: [cg] Monsanto expanding monopolies from seeds to water
>Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 19:17:01 -0400 (EDT)
>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
>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
>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
>"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
>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,
>we believe that discontinuities (either major policy changes or major
>trendline breaks in resource quality or quantity) are likely,
>in the area of water and we will be well positioned via these business
>profit even more significantly when these discontinuities occur.
>we are exploring the potential of non-conventional financing (NGO's,
>Bank, USDA etc.) that may lower our investment or provide local country
>business building resources." Thus, the crisis of pollution and
>of water resources is viewed by Monsanto as a business opportunity. For
>Monsanto "Sustainable Development" means the conversion of an
>crisis into a market of scarce resources. "The business logic of
>sustainable development is that population growth and economic
>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
>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,
>there are markets in which there are predictable sustainability
>and therefore opportunities to create business value." Monsanto plans
>earn revenues of $420 million and net income of $63 million by 2008
>its water business in India and Mexico. By the year 2010 about 2.5
>people in the world are projected to lack access to safe drinking
>At least 30% of the population in China, India, Mexico and US is
>to face severe water stress. By the year 2025 the supply of water in
>will be 700 cubic kilometers per year while the demand is expected to
>to 1050 units. Control over this scarce and vital resource will of
>be a source of guaranteed profits. As John Bastin of the European Bank
>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
>25 - 30% in rural communities and is estimated to be $300 million by
>year 2000 in India and Mexico. This is the amount currently spent by
>for water development projects and local government water supply
>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
>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
>will require the creation of a non-traditional mechanism targeted at
>building relationships with local government and NGO's as well as
>innovative financing mechanisms, such as microcredit. Monsanto also
>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
>stake in Water Health International (WHI) with an option to buy the
>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
>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
>fish breeding. By 2008 Monsanto expects to earn revenues of $1.6
>and net income of $266 million from its aquaculture business. While
>Monsanto's entry into aquaculture is through its Sustainable
>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
>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
>establish trade in water rights. These trends will suit Monsanto well
>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
>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
>survival. The right to water is the right to life. The privatisation
>commodification of water is a threat to the right to life. India has
>major water movements to conserve and share water. The Pani Panchayat
>the water conservation movement in Maharashtra and Tarun Bharat Sangh
>Alwar, have regenerated and equitably shared water as a commons. This
>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
>managed as a commons. It cannot be controlled and sold by a Life
>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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>Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com
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