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Great seed robbery

May 6, 2011

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By Vandana Shiva

The seed, the source of life, the embodiment of our biological and cultural
diversity, the link between the past and the future of evolution, the common
property of past, present and future generations of farming communities who have
been seed breeders, is today being stolen from the farmers and being sold back
to us as “propriety seed” owned by corporations like the US-headquartered

Under pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, various state governments
are signing MoUs (memorandums of understanding) with seed corporations to
privatise our rich and diverse genetic heritage. For example, the government of
Rajasthan has signed seven MoUs with Monsanto, Advanta, DCM-Shriram, Kanchan
Jyoti Agro Industries, PHI Seeds Pvt. Ltd, Krishidhan Seeds and J.K. Agri

The Rajasthan government’s MoU with Monsanto, for example, focuses on maize,
cotton, and vegetables (hot pepper, tomato, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower and
water melon). Monsanto controls the cottonseed market in India and globally.
Monsanto also controls 97 per cent of the worldwide maize market and 63.5 per
cent of the genetically-modified (GM) cotton market. DuPont, in fact, had to
initiate anti-trust investigations in the US because of Monsanto’s growing seed
monopoly. Sixty Indian seed companies have licensing arrangements with Monsanto,
which has the intellectual property on Bt. cotton.

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