Its 2050 AD
India refuses to vote in favor of a resolution brought by America in the UN. The resolution is about carrying out a military action on some country X for allegedly proliferating Nuclear technology. India argues that there is not enough evidence to support the American claims.
America gets angry and imposes sanctions on India! The american agricultural biotech companies like Monsanto implement the sanctions and refuse to sell seeds for crop cultivation in India! Indian farmers are left with no seeds! All these years they had been growing crops using GM (genetically modified) seeds patented by these american companies. They need permission from these companies to grow these crops, since these are patented seeds! Since the farmers had been growing GM crops for the past 4-5 decades now they don’t have stock of natural seeds either!!
The government of India is forced to vote in favor of the American resolution in UN in order to avoid a food scarcity in India!
American agricultural biotech companies announce a 20% increase in their annual license fee for GM crop cultivation. The cost of all food items in India increases proportionately !
Reason? Indian farmers have been growing GM crops and they need to pay for the annual license in order to continue to grow these crops!
The Genetic Story
Well, Dont think that the above scenarios are from some science fiction novel. This is a truth which I realised few days back!
There are about 5 major agricultural biotech companies in US that control about 85% of the food, like Monsanto, DOW, Dupont etc ! They grow and sell Genetically Modified crops and related food.
Did I say “Grow”?
Well, yes. These companies modify or insert genetic sections (genes, slices of DNA) from other species into natural crops. Say for instance Firefly genes are introduced into Corn! Now this becomes a genetically modified corn. This is a patented corn by the agro-biotech company which did the modification!
Firstly, farmers need to pay to this company to buy these genetically modified corn seeds to grow it.
Secondly and more importantly, since these are patented seeds, the farmers also need to pay annual license fees to grow this corn! You cannot simply grow this corn this year and then use the seeds that you got from this year’s yield and continue growing the same corn next year! You need to have valid license to grow the corn, without which it is illegal to grow this GM corn!
Farmers go for GM crops for various reasons. Increased yield, resistance to different crop diseases etc. At the same time they fall into the traps of these biotech companies! Slowly every where it will be only these GM crops that will be grown. The natural seeds of that crop are no longer available! Imagine what would happen if every farmer on this planet starts growing a GM tomato!
Or let us assume that for practical purposes, about 70% of farmers are growing GM tomato and 30% (since they have some common sense left and are not greedy) are growing natural tomato. Now the biotech companies increase the rate of GM seeds, or say cancel the licenses for some reason. Now, even if GM farmers want to switch to natural seeds, where is the supply for the 70% farmers? Can 30% of the farmers supply seeds of natural crops to 70% of them?
Well, this is even more dangerous. Agro biotech companies are using gene terminator technology to ensure that the poor farmers cant grow their patented GM crops illegally(?).
The gene terminator technology used in producing GM seeds ensures that the second generation plants of these self destruct! In other words, if you buy a GM seed from these companies and then grow a GM crop and then use the seeds of this crop to generate more second generation crops, then, lo, they commit suicide!
This is a crime against nature and against life on this planet. To quote Mike Adams “To deny farmers the ability to propagate seeds from one generation to the next is to enslave humanity in a system of corporate control that violates the laws of nature and God. Care to take a guess which U.S. corporation is engaged in this activity? If you guessed Monsanto, you’re right.“. Read more here...
Like all other technological advantages, this can also be used as a political tool by American government. Since these are patented by american companies, just imagine what will be the scenario if most of India is growing GM crops! We have to pay whatever license fee these companies demand! We cannot grow these crops if these companies refuse to renew the license!
By further fine tuning the genetic modifications, these companies can even sell comparatively low yield seeds to Indian farmers and sell relatively high yield seeds in US! This will give the US crops a competitive edge over Indian ones!
The agro biotech companies will be controlling the entire food chain from growing of crops, providing seeds to the final end product used by the consumers!
If nature has a specific genetic design for a crop, then there will be some reason to it. Genes are not independent stand alone units where you change one gene or add one and nothing else in that crop will be affected! 97% of human genome was thought to be junk and only recently researchers have realiszd that it is not junk and has its own role in making other 3% work. Changing or inserting a gene might add some new functionality, but at the same time what is the guarantee that it has not screwed up some existing feature of the crop? How can we guarantee that a GM banana has the same benefits of a natural banana?
For those in India relying on the benefits and cure of herbal medicinal systems like Ayurveda, can we consider the GM banana to have the same ayurvedic features of a natural banana? Imagine the implications when we start substituting GM crops for natural ones in Ayurveda! Then if it doesnt work, you will find people saying Ayurveda is wrong! Without even knowing the actual truth.
Seedless grapes! Have you ate it? Well, now they are useless grapes! Seedless grapes are GM grapes, the benefit? well they are seedless. But is that all? Well, as I said, they are useless too. If you have heard that grapes are good for heart and so, are eating grapes, then seedless grapes are useless for you! Because the best natural cardio vascular medicine good for your heart muscles is found in the seeds of grapes! I hope food is not a fancy item, to say you want seedless, skinless, etc
God knows what other food benefits you are missing by consuming GM food with missing parts in it!
Take the example of Mexico. The Mexican farmers are alleging that their natural corn crops have been contaminated by American Genetic corn. Biotech companies might have patented these crops. But how will the pollinating bees know about it. They dont differentiate between natural and GM crops, do they?
Now corn is also being genetically modified to be used as a source of ethanol, to produce alternate fuel for petroleum. But lo, this is not that corn which can be consumed. You cannot eat this corn, because it is NOT meant for that. The mexican farmers allege that their corn might also be contaminated by this non-consumable variety of corn! Imagine eating corn which is actually meant to run your car!
See this news report on washington post and also this letter from the president of the american corn growers association. Finding a difficult time in Europe and to some extent in US too, these companies are pushing their GM crops into a relatively unaware India. Remember the Monsanto – BT cotton row and farmers protest a few years back in India?
The GM products are NOT tested for their long term implications on consumer health. By testing I mean the effects on human health on consuming these products over a period of years!
Some of these GM companies were also sued by vietnam victims for war crime! See this report . The victims alleged that the defoliant chemical used by American army against the vietnam, called the agent Orange was produced by these companies. Agent orange was a herbicide sprayed by the US military planes on Vietnam forests to cause trees to shred off their leaves so that the US forces can see the vietnam soldiers and kill them! Only later it was found that agent Orange was indeed highly carcinogenic – it causes cancer. Poor innocent vietnamese people who are even today paying a price for this blunder.
Let me give you an example. The milk sold in USA is the milk obtained by giving hormonal injections to the cows for higher yield. At the same time as a side effect of this unnatural production, this milk also contains a larger content of growth hormone protein! This is the same growth hormone protein in humans too! This is NOT supposed to be given to the body unnaturally, It has to be produced inside the body naturally. But this is the milk that they drink in America! The result, most girls in American today have puberty even before they reach the natural age for it!
For those in India, the next time you get milk make sure it is from a natural source. Better buy it directly from a milk vendor nearby who owns cows. They don’t give hormonal injections to their cows. The milk you get in Indian villages where the milk vendor milks the cow early morning and supplies the milk at your door step, is the milk in its true natural form. These cows are worshiped and there is no unnatural treatment of any kind given to these cows.
Ever since I came to know about the story of genetically modified products I have even stopped eating American Corn!! Next time you buy a food product, make sure there is no GM content in it.
Else while you think you are eating corn, it might actually have a bit of firefly in it! What you think to be Potato might have a bit of Moth in it! See images below from a video published on youtube at – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGAzKDTxwxI
And who knows! There have been no long term studies of the effects of GM products on humans! What happens if you eat GM food for 5-10 years? Well, nobody has tested that! Probably you might be offering yourself as an experimental sheep for this testing! You eat GM food at your own risk! Beware next time you see very fat and long banana, huge tomatoes etc. In UK GM food is always marked as Genetically Modified. In US as of today, GM food is not separately marked as GM food. I don’t think that in India it is marked as GM food either!
Below are two videos posted on youtube related to the GM controversy. The first one is about Genetically Modified food. The second one is about the effects of consuming milk produced by giving hormonal injections to cows!