Added At: 2011-09-14 12:12 AM
HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The USAID today announced that it would launch a programme in partnership with Monsanto, a US-based multinational bio-tech giant, in a bid to enhance maize production in Nepal.
The announcement today comes after about two weeks of WikiLeaks’ revelations how the American government is guided by the interests of giant bio-tech companies like Monsanto.
Interestingly, Monsanto is one of the companies, the product of which when used in the Tarai last year had turned out to be a fiasco with farmers failing to produce corn cobs. Maize planted in thousands of hectares of land had been wasted, and despite protests from the farmers, Monsanto had refused to pay compensation.
Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in the last week of August revealed that the diplomats across the globe had been advocating Monsanto and were guided by the interests of the company. Several cables describe ‘biotechnology outreach programmes’ in countries across the globe, including African, Asian and South American countries where Western bio-tech agriculture had yet to gain a foothold.
However, officials at the US Embassy said it was one of the duties of the US embassies across the globe to promote US companies and help them enhance their business. “US embassy facilitates its companies for fostering the market which is normal and also helps to bring the US investment in different sectors if the companies are interested,” said an official at the US Embassy.
“On one hand there is the need to produce more to fulfil the growing demand of food with the increasing population and on the other, our dependency on multinational companies is increasing alarmingly, which is worrisome,” said Bhola Man Singh Basnet, a senior agro expert.
However, Basnet added that giant bio-tech companies like Monsanto pressuring their government to promote their seeds across the globe is but usual.
The Embassy of the United States in Nepal today said the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Department of Agriculture, USAID and Monsanto have partnered to promote the use of hybrid maize seeds and provide training to farmers in Nepal.
“USAID and Monsanto, in coordination with the government, will implement a pilot maize production project to promote the use of hybrid seeds in the key maize producing districts of Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Kavre,” said the embassy.
HERE ARE THE COMMENTS ON THE ARTICLE SO FAR:
Posted on: 2011-09-18 21:54:57
Nepalis really need to stop this happening. Regardless of politics or money, Nepal shouldn’t let hybrid seeds (or Monsanto) anywhere near their country before the damage is done. You just have to see what’s happened across the boarder in India with farmers (the ones that haven’t committed suicide) trying to sue Monsanto. Sophie Gurung, Glastonbury
Posted on: 2011-09-16 14:50:54
If Monsanto is allowed to coerce Nepali farmers to grow their crops, that will be the end of crop biodiversity in Nepal. Not only will they require annual purchase of seeds, they may need to be fertilised with their chemicals in order for the seeds to germinate. A scary aspect of biotechnology is a terminator gene which makes plants sterile. Imagine if that gene escaped into the local ennironment and made other plants or even animals sterile. And from history, Monsanto have not been fair on farmers who unbeknownst to them, find genetically modified crops from another source on their land. THey say they are in breach of patent. Dr Bhattarai-be careful of keeping Nepal’s patent laws Nepals, and not American. Janelle Prasai, Sydney, Australia
Posted on: 2011-09-14 21:55:39
I fully agree with Rolf. Monsanto is using USAID to make sure that Nepalese farmers are totally dependent on the seed it supplies to them at a monopoly price. Since their strategy failed in India due to resistence from farmer groups, they are trying to make Nepal a guinea pig. Even after massive failure of maize crop last year and robbing farmers of their livelihood last year, Monsanto has the nerve to do it again. What is the clean government of Dr. Bhattarai doing? When the focus of Dr. Bhattari is on driving Mustang car and flying economy class, greedy corporate interest are planning establish monopoly in the seed market right under his nose. Abinash Shrestha, Tangal
Posted on: 2011-09-14 14:37:55
No Nepali farmer should allow Monsanto to spoil their natural way of farming. Hybrid farming is a crime against nature and mankind and it distroys – on purpose – natural biodiversity. It DISABLES a natural SEED to grow – on purpose. Unbelievable! The Nepali government should urgently train the farmers to deeply mistrust Monsanto and the farmers themselves organize mass protest against this poor USAID initiative. It is not AID. Rolf Schmelzer, KathmanduRolf Schmelzer, Kupondole
All red highlights were made by me.