Monsanto Suffers Defeats

SUBHEAD: Monsanto threatens to pull out of India.

By Staff on 6 March 2016 for My Republica -

Image above: Indian man holds sign reading "Genetic Engineering is NOT SCIENCE! It is Unethical Experimentation on LIFE".  From original article.

U.S. seed giant Monsanto has threatened to pull its genetically modified crop technology from India if the government goes ahead with its plan to cut the company's royalty fees.

Monsanto's joint venture firm in India said that it would be difficult to bring new technologies to India because it was becoming difficult for the company to recoup its investments in research and development of genetically modified seeds.

Shilpa Divekar Nirula, chief of Monsanto's India unit, said in a statement seen late Saturday that if the committee recommends imposing a cut in the fees that local seed companies pay to use Monsanto's crop genes then the company would have to reevaluate its position in India.

Nirula said it was difficult for Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Limited, the company's joint venture, "to justify bringing new technologies into India in an environment where such arbitrary and innovation-stifling government interventions make it impossible to recoup research and development investments."

In December, India's government ordered that cotton seed prices, including royalties on seeds, be controlled from the 2016-17 crop year. India's agriculture ministry has set up a committee to determine the price of cotton seeds, including fees the company charges for licensing crop genes.

"If the committee recommends imposing a sharp, mandatory cut in the trait fees paid on Bt-cotton seeds, MMBL will have no choice but to reevaluate every aspect of our position in India," Nirula said.

The company said it was "shocked and disappointed" at the news that the government plans to reduce the "trait fees," or the fees that seed companies pay Mahyco Monsanto to use its crop genes, by around 70 percent.

Monsanto said about 7 million cotton farmers in India use its seeds. Over the last two decades, millions of small farmers have adopted genetically modified cotton seeds, making India one of the world's biggest producers of cotton and a major exporter of raw cotton.

However, farm activists say that the pest-resistance of the seeds has gone down and that farmers have to use more insecticide on their cotton crops.

Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insects and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply. Advocates say these new strains will boost yields and stabilize supply by also improving drought resistance.

India has allowed the use of genetically modified seeds only to grow cotton. It says further study needs to be done to guarantee consumer safety before genetically modified food crops can be cultivated in the country.

Monsanto getting flack

SOURCE: Ray Songtree (
SUBHEAD: Monsanto suffers week of devastating defeats as lawmakers back away from biotech influence and intimidation.

By Julie Wilson on 20 March 2016 for Natural News -

Monsanto may hold a near-monopoly on the world's seed supply, but it cannot control the minds, hearts and voices of those who support and demand clean, healthy and non-toxic food. Advocates have increasingly consolidated to create a powerful health food movement that's gained so much momentum it is now deemed unstoppable.

This doesn't bode well for seed companies dependent on crops laced with foreign DNA and coupled with noxious herbicides. Thanks to the tireless work of food and health activists, bloggers and the indie media, the public is no longer in the dark about the health and environmental dangers of GMOs – and there is no reversing that opinion.

Americans have shown overwhelming support for GMO-labeling, a position reflected in the U.S. Senate yesterday after it blocked a controversial, anti-consumer bill that would have preempted states' rights to pass GMO-labeling laws, as well as reverse existing legislation, such as that in Vermont, which is set to go into effect July 1, 2016.

Senate ignores push to ban GMO-labeling

In order to pass, the DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know) needed 60 votes in the Senate. But it fell3 short, receiving only 49 "yes" votes and 48 "no" votes. Food and Water Watch says that all of the senators they pressured to vote against the DARK Act came through on Wednesday, including the following:

  • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Michael Bennet (D-CO)
  • Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
  • Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA)
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Dick Durbin (D-IL)
  • Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • Tim Kaine (D-VA) T
The legislation was essentially Monsanto's dream bill, as it would have put a permanent end to the expensive battles fought by them and other seed giants, as well as Big Food, in several U.S. states trying to pass labeling laws.

More than 70 GMO-labeling bills have been proposed in 30 states thus far, with three states passing the legislation, including Maine, Connecticut and Vermont. New Hampshire is on the verge of passing similar legislation, and is set to vote on the measure before the month's end.

Trouble in paradiseThe agrichemical industry is facing yet another blow to its empire, with the introduction of a national, uniform GMO-labeling law, that if passed, could lead to the creation of a national symbol that would clearly disclose the presence of genetically modified ingredients.

Proposed by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the bill is called the Biotech Food Labeling Uniformity Act or S. 2621.

"This is what real disclosure looks like. This bill finds a way to set a national standard and avoid a patchwork of state labeling laws while still giving consumers the information they want and deserve about what's in their food," said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union.

Monsanto is also facing trouble abroad. This week, India's prime minister showed Monsanto the door amid complaints over its inflated prices on GM cotton. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monsanto will lose its 90 percent dominance of the Indian market unless it agrees to reduce its seed prices.

"India cut the royalties paid by local firms for Monsanto's seeds by nearly 70 percent, also capping GM cotton seed prices at 800 rupees ($11.9) for a packet of 400 grams, starting in April 2017," according to the Russian Times. "Last year the seeds were sold at prices ranging from 830 rupees ($12.4) to 1,100 rupees ($16.4) in different parts of the country."

"It's now upon Monsanto to decide whether they want to accept this rate or not," said Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, the junior agriculture minister. "If they don't find it feasible, then they are free to take a call. The greed (of charging) a premium has to end. ...

"We're not scared if Monsanto leaves the country, because our team of scientists are working to develop (an) indigenous variety of (GM) seeds," he added.

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