Former Boss of Monsanto India claimed that ‘faked’ data was submitted for approval of GM crops. Fr. Seán McDonagh, SSC (February 9. 2010)

Some readers may have been surprised by my claim in my article on Febuary 7, 2010, that Monsanto are everywhere and often for the wrong reasons.  Confirmation  of that claim have comes because of Monsanto’s behavior in recent months in India and Brazil. `

In India, Tiruvadi Jagdisan, the former managing director of Monsano India, claimed   that the company  had “used fake scientific data” in its submission to gain approval for GM brinfal (aubergine) a vegetable which is used in curries by millions of Indians.  Jagadisan disclosed that the government regulatory agencies depended on the data supplied by the corporation. [1]

The Central Insecticide Board of India was supposed to grant approval for specific insecticides, based on the location and crop-data obtained from Indian sites.   In practices, the Insecticide Board accepted foreign data supplied by Monsanto. Jagadisan claimed that the Board  did not even have a test tube to validate the data and, at times, the data itself was faked.  Jagadisan retired from Monsanto because he believed that the management of Monsanto in the US was exploiting poor countries such as India.  When Monsanto entered the seed business, Jagadisan had information that the “terminator” gene would be incorporated into seeds sold to Indian farmers. This would force poor farmers to return to the corporation each year to buy fresh seeds because the  ‘terminator’ genes cause second generation seeds to be sterile. Buying fresh seeds for each planting would benefit Monsanto financially, but it would place enormous burdens on poor farmers.

In response to Jagadisan’s allegations, a Monsanto spokesperson said: “We have full faith in the Indian regulatory system, which has its checks and measures in place to ensure accuracy and authenticity of data furnished to them. On approval of GM crops, the spokesperson said that the regulatory process was stringent and, that no biotech crops are allowed in the market until they undergo extensive and rigid crop safety assessments, following strict scientific protocols.” [2] On February 2nd The Indian Government deferred a decision on GM aubergines, until further scientific tests have been carried out.

Such  decisions have global implications. Within a week the Scottish Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham welcomed the decision and said that it was further evidence of growing concern about the damage GM could inflict on the environment.  Ms Cunningham said, “We know very little, if anything, about the long-term effects of growing GM crops. To take risks with our natural environment is wholly indefensible and irresponsible. We simply cannot afford to take risks with untested technologies. We are ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with other nations who are opposed to GM and fight for what our people want. It is clear that concerns about GM exist in the developing, as well as the developed world, and I am pleased to see that the Indian Government has listened to public opinion.” [3]

Half way around the world, in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso, soya farmers have declared war against Monsanto’s GMO soya technology and their herbicide Roundup Ready.  After exhausting all attempts to engage the company in dialogue about reducing or abolishing patent fees, the growers are now considering legal action.  In Mato Grosso, growers increased the cultivated area of GMOs from 2.6 million hectares (2008/09 crop) to approximately 3 million hectares in this year’s crop. This will enhance Monsanto’s profits considerably at the expense of poor farmers.

In Cuiabá, Aprosoja (the Association of Soya and Corn Producers Association of the State of Mato Grosso) is preparing a lawsuit to demand that Monsanto provide proper justification for the royalties which they are charging €5.80 per hectare.[4] According to Aprosoya  President Mr. Glauber Silveira the  growers wants to determine if the (patent) royalty fee paid by the soya growers is actually due.  Depending of the type of patent or royalty the company might not have the right to charge anything at all.  Growers also want to know the time limit on the particular patent. In the case of Roundup Ready it should have already expired.  [5]

 


[3] News Release The Scottish Government, 9 February 2010: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2010/02/09165625

[4] Marcondes Maciel and Tania Rauber,  “War against Monsanto. In Cuiabá, Aprosoja is preparing a court action against Monsanto, and in Sinop, steps are being taken to follow suit,” Diário de Cuiabá [Brazil], 29 January 2010 :http://www.diariodecuiaba.com.br [English translation courtesy Cert ID Brazil and GM-free Ireland] •

[5] ibid.

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