Beware Call for a ‘Greener Revolution’ From ‘Purveyor of Poison’

Picture: Liam Condon (C -Bayer AG)

Andrea Germanos writes at Common Dreams:

Environmental groups are slamming a call for a “Greener Revolution” from a corporation they call a “purveyor of poison” as a plan for corporate profits above the needs of farmers and the environment, when the kind of real revolution needed in agriculture lies outside of the very agribusinesses that created the problems we have.

Liam Condon, CEO of Bayer CropScience, issued his call at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin this month, offering a five-pronged approach to this Greener Revolution that includes billions of dollars in investment in “cutting-edge chemistry” and “new areas of innovation.”

“It is crucial that we pursue all available technologies to make a sustainable difference in helping to ensure food security,” Condon stated.

At the AGCO Africa Summit, also in Berlin, held days after the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, Christian Asboth, Senior Vice President for Africa, Middle East and CIS at Bayer CropScience reiterated the company’s technology and stressed it had the know-how Africa needs. “We have excellent seed technology in several crops, such as in vegetables, cotton and hybrid rice,” said Asboth. And in a release from Bayer, the ag giant projects future growth for the company on the continent, stating: “Within the next years, Bayer CropScience plans to establish legal entities in eight additional African countries and to increase its work force.”

This high-tech paradigm of agricultural production gets the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and represents the kind of “partnerships” Bayer says is needed.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the Foundation was investing $108 million as part of a collaboration with the German government and corporations including Bayer CropScience and chemical giant BASF SE under the auspices of fighting hunger.

The Gates Foundation has a history of funding big agricultural corporations that push genetically modified seeds. Following the announcement in July from the Gates foundation for a $10 million grant to develop genetically modified (GM) crops for use in sub-Saharan Africa, Mariam Mayet of the African Centre for Biosafety in South Africa spoke out against the kind of foreign intervention efforts that are technologically dependent and take no account of African farmers’ wishes. “African farmers are the last people to be asked about such projects. This often results in the wrong technologies being developed, which many farmers simply cannot afford. We need methods that we can control aimed at building up resilient soils that are both fertile and able to cope with extreme weather. We also want our knowledge and skills to be respected and not to have inappropriate solutions imposed on us by distant institutions, charitable bodies or governments.”

Beware biotechnology CEOs calling for a “greener revolution,” says Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and author of Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America.

“Their interests lie first and foremost in patenting life for profit,” stated Hauter.

Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association also says Bayer’s motives are clear.  “Looking back at Bayer’s history (including their ignominious role as a strategic player in the IB Farben cartel in Nazi Germany) as a purveyor of toxic chemicals, dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides, and now genetically engineered seeds, the only kind of Green Revolution Bayer really seems to care about is the green revolution of money and inordinate corporate profits.”

Read more here.

12 Comments on "Beware Call for a ‘Greener Revolution’ From ‘Purveyor of Poison’"

  1. Anarchy Pony | Feb 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm |

    “It is crucial that we pursue all available technologies to make a sustainable difference in helping to ensure food securityMake all agriculture dependent on technologies that my company owns the patents for.,” FTFY.

  2. BuzzCoastin | Feb 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm |

    OK, so what’s the alternative?

    Learn about Permaculture growing techniques & grow some of your food.
    Buy what you can from permaculture farms.
    And whenever possible
    withdraw from the System of Doom
    and create an alternative.

  3. ishmael2009 | Feb 4, 2013 at 10:23 pm |

    Well these companies have at least developed crops that allow double the yield of crops to be grown on the same acreage of land as it was years ago. What have any of the environmental groups ever done to end world hunger?


    • It’s all short term gain sacrificing long term sustainability.

      That argument you used will stick around until the real problems start showing up… but at that point it will be too late.

      • ishmael2009 | Feb 5, 2013 at 6:33 pm |

        That’s just about possible, though not probable. But here’s the thing: what’s undeniable is that modified crops have saved billions of lives. Not millions, but billions. There has as yet been zero documented deaths from them. So your scenario is pure conjecture. I’ll take saving real lives in poor countries over protecting wealthy Americans like you from theoretical future risks any day.

        • Funny thing about chronic toxicity, is that death and disease are harder to link to the causes. But i digress, I was not talking about modified crops but the destruction of the lands that those crops are being grown on.

        • There’s no proof GMOs have saved a single life. Hunger is not caused by a lack of food on the planet (there’s always been more than enough), but by economic and political systems that prevent access to that food.

    • Anarchy Pony | Feb 5, 2013 at 11:35 pm |

      Sorry to break it to you captain ignorant, but world hunger has really never been an issue of pure yield, but actual access to food and the dispossession of people globally to the land and resources they need to survive.

    • moremisinformation | Feb 6, 2013 at 2:29 am |

      It all depends on which studies you choose, I suppose. I’d be interested to see the studies showing double yields. How about sharing some? I’m sure by this point in my response, you can imagine all the studies I can show you calling your claims bullshit.

    • Environmental groups have endorsed permaculture, and local and organic agricultures, which are much more sustainable and can often be practiced by the poor and the hungry in their own countries.

  4. "Big" Richard Johnson | Feb 5, 2013 at 1:03 am |

    Proof that if corporations are people, some of them must be stupid.

Comments are closed.