01 June, 2014



The World Bank says food prices are rising!

Read the Saturday, May 31, 2014 article “World Bank sounds alarm on rising global food prices” here.

Now Mr. Bill Gates must be happy. Very happy. Because when food prices rise, guess who benefits?

Monsanto, on whom Bill Gates has invested, and whose stock price rises are now $120 per share. Its all uphill from here for the richest man in the world. Never mind of the rest of the world’s starving poor.

Meanwhile in Argentina, where Monsanto has taken over the control of agricultural land in unprecedented ways (with the help of countries like America which have managed to put Argentina in serious 100 billion debt and unable to negotiate much about these issues), the maize is taken in small plastic packs, and flown all the way to… Nepal.

Where I saw the maize at my local store a fortnight ago, sitting pretty and waiting to be turned to popcorn. Of course, I didn’t buy it. First because I like the Argentineans and I don’t want to participate in the decimation of their economy. Second, because buying Argentinean maize in Nepal has destroyed our local maize crops. American government and American diplomats are out en masse, offering free corn seeds and other GM enticements to unsuspecting farmers in Nepal’s hills. A corncob now takes Rs.30 to grow, with all the money people spend on seed, artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Before they used organic cow manure. This poor people’s staple food is now a luxury.   

 And thirdly, I simply don’t like GM corn. Do you?

Argentina is clearly a case study country in what not to do in agriculture. If you allow a tiny minority to seize all control of land, and then this tiny minority then decides to lease out this land to Monsanto , which has great dreams of taking over the world’s food supply and enslaving the world’s 7 billion to its own imperatives, then guess what happens?

Food prices rise, obviously. According to the article above:
Other countries in the grip of political and economic stresses also saw prices shoot higher. In Argentina, for example, wheat prices were up 70 per cent from a year ago.”

Returning to Nepal: poor people who once used to grow their own maize are subtly discouraged from growing their own food, through dirty tactics that include decimating their live seeds by offering them seeds that don’t regrow. Instead, you offer them hybrids and GM seeds that have to be bought, year in and year out, enriching a few companies to the tune of billions of dollars.

In fact, the development industry has long ago been highjacked to the imperatives of big corporations, who dictate the terms in poor countries. With diplomats and the US government at their back, Monsanto doesn’t find this too difficult.   

Food prices have soared in Nepal. I was at a small store in Bhaktapur, where the man told me that he’d never seen food prices rises as he’d seen this year. Nepal produces elaichi, a spice. “It used to cost Rs.150,” he said. “Now it costs Rs.1500. The price soared 10 fold within a year. I’ve seen a lot of food prices rises in the past, but this year has been exceptional.” Most of it is getting sold to India, where people have the purchasing power to buy expensive spices. From India it gets refined and processed and is sent outwards to the markets of Western countries.

 The answer is clear. Stop the monopolies of massive corporations on food. Stop speculating on food prices—make it illegal to bet on food prices on stock exchanges. Allow local, organic and small scale agricultural economies to thrive. Make GM illegal. And then food prices will normalize.

If Monsanto has its way, food will not just become an expensive commodity that only the rich can afford. It will also ensure that all rainforests are gone in its insatiable question to grow more corn, soy and other ingredients that are added to America’s Stale Food Industry. In case you missed it, check out the National Geographic coverage of food in their recent issue. It has a stunning photograph of an entire rainforest decimated as people plant it with these monster corporate crops.

Mr. Bill Gates, master retailer, must be happy. Finally those GM seeds are showing some profits!

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