This article is published by Conducive Chronicle/GE Free BC, 6-2-2010

Kenda Swartz Pepper

Get Your Gen Mo Out of My Food Yo:
Part IV – Farmers who save seeds are soon sued

Farmers and Furious Curious Twists of Injustice

Farmers have been front and center pawns in the GM Food chess game. To their credit, farmers historically have a hard working life and little return for their investment of blood, sweat, tears and dollars. They spend their morning, days and evenings working, day in and day out, week after week, year after year, and the prospect of being part of a growing corporation could offer great appeal along with the aspiration of one day retiring. While yes, they are partly responsible for producing GM crops, they are also responding to the consumer’s demand and a corporation’s command.
Sadly, once again, Syndrome’s immoral wanton ways are masked by a facade of hope for the greater good. Global Exchange lists the top 14 ‘Most Wanted’ Human Rights violators for 2007 (I didn’t see a ‘Most Wanted’ list for 2008 or 2009). Monsanto is on that list for abuses of displacement, health violations, and child labor. According to Global Exchange, in India, an estimated 12, 400 children were working for Monsanto in cottonseed production as of 2007. Global Exchange adds how a number of (unspecified) children have died from exposure to pesticides.

The site Indianet shows numerous links if you’d like to read more on the matter of child labor and the cottonseed industry in India. Bayer, Monsanto, Unilever and Syngenta are listed numerous times. In 2003, these companies pledged to end child labor in Indian seed production.

However, in a letter sent February 2006, from Gerard Oonk, the director of the India Committee of the Netherlands, Oonk details how child labor is still an issue and how Monsanto is paying cottonseed farmers too little for these farmers to hire adults. The letter also asked several questions about child labor eradication. Monsanto’s response does not include answers to most of the questions Mr. Oonk asked. It does include two fairly lame efforts the company is making to eliminate child labor.

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back ICN and the media Child Labour HOME India Committee of the Netherlands

Landelijke India Werkgroep - September 8, 2010