GMO, Profit, Power and Geopolitics

9 mins read

A number of official reports indicates that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are not essential for feeding the world, but if they were to lead to increased productivity, did not harm the environment and did not negatively impact biodiversity and human health. The fact is that GMO technology would still be owned and controlled by certain very powerful interests. Several scholars strongly argued that, in their hands, this technology is first and foremost an instrument of corporate power, a tool to ensure profit.
Professor Michael Hudson, a well known American Professor in International Economic Relations argued that, American foreign policy has almost always been based on agricultural exports, not on industrial exports as people might think. It’s by agriculture and control of the food supply that American diplomacy has been able to control most of the Third World. Professor Michael Hudson further noted that the Project for a New American Century and the Wolfowitz Doctrine show that United States foreign policy is about power, control and ensuring global supremacy at any cost, and part of the plan for attaining world domination rests on the United States controlling agriculture and hijacking food sovereignty and nations’ food security.
In his book ‘Seeds of Destruction’, William Engdahl traces how the oil-rich Rockefeller family translated its massive wealth into political clout and set out to capture agriculture in the United States and then globally via the ‘green revolution’. GMOs represent more of the same due to the patenting and the increasing monopolisation of seeds by a handful of mainly United States companies, such as Monsanto, DuPont and Bayer.
Findings of a report by researchers at Cambridge University in the UK indicated that in India, Monsanto has sucked millions from agriculture in recent years via royalties, and farmers have been compelled to spend beyond their means to purchase seeds and chemical inputs. The report also indicated that a combination of debt, economic liberalization and a shift to GMO cash crops such as cotton, has caused hundreds of thousands of farmers to experience economic distress, while corporations have extracted huge profits. BBC reported by quoting an official figures as of 2017 that over 270,000 farmers in India have committed suicide since the mid to late nineties.
Agriculture is the bedrock of many societies, yet it is being recast for the benefit of rich agritech, retail and food processing concerns. Official report released by GRAIN recently stated that small farms are under immense pressure and food security is being undermined, not least because the small farm produces most of the world’s food. Whether through land grabs and takeovers, the production of non-food cash crops for export, greater chemical inputs or seed patenting and the eradication of seed sharing among farmers, profits are guaranteed for agritech corporations and institutional land investors.
Vandana Shiva, a noted Indian social activist argued that the dominant notions that underpin economic ‘growth’, modern agriculture and ‘development’ are based on a series of assumption that betray a mindset steeped in arrogance and contempt: the planet should be cast in an urban-centic, ethnocentric model whereby the rural is to be looked down on, nature must be dominated, farmers are a problem to be removed from the land and traditional ways are backward and in need of remedy.
She stated that Western corporations are to implement the remedy by determining policies at the World Trade Organization, IMF and World Bank with help from compliant politicians and