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Angry Bangladeshi farmers demand compensation after failure of Monsanto's GM eggplant


GM eggplant

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(NaturalNews) In India, eggplant is known as brinjal. It's the same fruit. Monsanto, through associates and subsidiaries, offered free Bt brinjal saplings to poor farmers as an open experiment to gain more GMO acceptance in South and Southeast Asia. Seems this field test backfired.

Bt genetic technology claims to provides crop plants the ability to produce their own insecticide, purportedly to lessen farmers' need for extensive pesticide spraying.

Independent testing has discovered that Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) proteins adversely affect the soil, friendly insects and pollinators, and endanger animals and humans, because the Bt Cry (crystalline protein bodies) toxins are not denatured in the gut as previously assumed and promoted. [1]

The failed brinjal (eggplant) experiment in Bangledash

Unfortunately, poor farmers in Bangladesh were apparently not aware of the plight of cotton farmers in neighboring India who wound up killing themselves after going into debt with failed Bt cotton crops.

Part of their misery was due to their contracts involving Monsanto Bt cotton seeds that could not be used again after one planting, because they also contained "terminator genes," which make them impossible to use again.

So the cotton farmers were forced into borrowing money again and again after Bt cotton crop failures to buy more Bt terminator cotton seeds and pesticides because the Bt plants were not successful at preventing cotton crop infestations. Apparently, many ingested those pesticides to kill themselves and avoid their crisis of spiraling debt and failing crops.

Monsanto's response to the cotton Bt failure has been to develop and sell newer insecticides, Roundup Ready Flex (RRF) for Bt cotton and Bollgard III, their new GMO named for the boll weevil that feeds on cotton crops. [2]

Instead of the boll weevil, eggplant farmers in Bangladesh had issues with the eggplant fruit and shoot borer. Their larvae lunch on eggplant before it's harvested.

But the results were the same with them as with Bt cotton seeds, mostly crop failures with insects developing resistance or weakening the plants' resistance to other insects. Only one out of 20 farms had any success, while six fields were partially ruined, and 13 were completely ruined. [3]

Why did the eggplant farmers fall for it? They were offered free saplings by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI). BARI was provided the saplings through a USAID project monitored and technically supported by Cornell University's biotech research department. The seeds were from Mahyco, the Indian affiliate of Monsanto.

Free is impressive to anyone who's not well off. That and the promise that there's no need to buy expensive pesticides to handle the dreaded fruit and shoot borers were the clinchers. But fortunately, this was a trial, and none of the farmers were on a contract to buy more of these Bt terminator seeds for eggplant as the cotton growers were.

So now they're demanding compensation for their crop failure, and they are also urging other farmers to avoid Bt crops entirely. Despite efforts by BARI to gag their complaints to the media, a press conference was held to allow those farmers a chance to articulate their grievances.

The press conference was organized by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Unnayan Bikalper Nitinirdharoni Gobeshona (UBINIG), Consumers Association of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Organic Product Manufacturers Association, Bangladesh Fruits, Vegetables and Allied Products Exporters Association and seven other organizations. [4]

Opinion: So why don't anti-GMO activists start organizing American farmers who have suffered from Monsanto's dirty tactics that are legally tolerated? We need to unite with disgruntled commercial farmers and struggling small farm organic producers. They're the ones who plant and harvest our food, not retail outlets.

Petitions to Obama, the USDA and EPA are toilet paper with signatures. Monsanto's lawyers and former executives are ensconced within key regulatory positions in this government.

Biotech industries even sue local and state governments to overturn restrictions on their foul version of "science based" agriculture, which continues to worsen already toxic, nutritionally depleted Big Ag monoculture farming.

Sources for this article include:

[1] http://www.greenpeace.org [PDF]

[2] http://www.newindianexpress.com

[3] http://www.naturalnews.com

[4] http://newagebd.net

http://science.naturalnews.com

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