This one has been bubbling below the surface for a while, and not just in Haiti. The seeds to plant corn, or just about any other crop are big business. For thousands of years, farmers would hold back a portion of the crop to harvest the seeds to plant next years crop. Farmers would practice a basic level of genetic manipulation by selecting seeds from the most successful plants. Today that has evolved into an agribusiness, where crops are genetically tailored – sometimes through manipulating the genetic structure of the plant directly.
One of the manipulations is that the crops derived from these “manipulated plants” cannot produce viable seeds. Ergo, you can’t set aside a portion of the crop and use the seeds to plant next year. Indeed, since the new, genetically modified seeds don’t last very long, you can’t even use last year’s seeds. You have to buy new seeds each and every year.
In large scale commercial agribusiness type farming, there are benefits to this. The benefits aren’t so clear to small scale farms.
Monsanto’s seeming “largesse” in donating seeds to Haiti as such isn’t totally altruistic. If the Haitian Farmers utilize the Monsanto seeds, they are stuck with buying new seeds each and every year…
Monsanto becomes a permanent partner – whether the Haitian people want it or not, and will collect and annual “vig” of tens of millions of revenue each year from the sale of each year’s seeds.
It would also be very interesting to see who owns the brand new Monsanto franchise in Haiti…
The “usual suspects”… Indeed.