In Chile, activists are saying no to seed patents, joining thousands of protesters in the streets to tell Monsanto that they will fight the new “Monsanto law’ as it has been dubbed, to patent food crops.
Countless Chileans believe that the seed patents proposed by Monsanto will be detrimental to food sovereignty and bio-diversity. Some even dressed in bee costumes to draw attention to the fact that millions of bees have died in colony collapse connected to Monsanto’s poison crops, specifically the transgenic herbicide, glyphosate, the main ingredient in RoundUp Ready chemicals used on numerous crops including soy, sugar beets, and corn.
Millions of bees are also dying from neonicotinoids used heavily on crops and even trees and numerous plants in the landscaping business. Some marchers carried signs that said, “Monsanto will patent your life!”
The new law being protested is currently before the Chilean Senate and has already been approved by the House of Representatives. It was proposed by ex-President Michelle Bachelet. The official name of the proposed law is the Plant Breeders Act, but its being called “Monsanto law” since it protects the interests of the agricultural business and biotech giants instead of the people of Chile. Looks like Chile is joining other nations like France, which recently maintained a ban on Monsanto’s GMO corn, and Italy, a nation moving to ban Monsanto’s GMO corn with 80% public support.
A member of Chile Without GMOs (Chile Sin Transgenicos), Ivan Santandrea said on a recent radio show, “This law puts seeds into the hands of a few transnational companies. This measure does not contribute to the innovation and wellbeing of independent farmers at all. What it does is put food sovereignty at risk by making it dependent on big corporations.”
The fear is that Monsanto will extract a huge price from farmers and create a monopoly over the food system. Even mainstream media outlets like CNBC point to the fact that farmers are likely the next holders of massive debt. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in the US released a report, which warned that if farmers use their accumulated wealth instead of profits to finance their agricultural investments, they could end up in greater debt, risk bankruptcies and suffer the potential loss of their farms.
If you couple this with the massive suicides in India due to farmer indebtedness to Monsanto, there seems to be some serious ground for the protestors in Chile to stake their anti-GMO claims on. Monsanto seeds have been christened the ‘seeds of suicide’ in more than one country, now.
To support Chile in their quest to refuse Monsanto more seed patents, you can contact the South American Regional Office of the United Nations,here, or write the President of the Senate, Camilo Escalona.
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Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.