Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Jolly gene giant


We were warned but no one (I know of) was at all concerned.
A review of Claire Hope Cummings' Uncertain Peril

In October 1996, a spokesman for Monsanto told Farm Journal why his company was buying up seed companies left and right: "What you're seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it's really a consolidation of the entire food chain."

Today, Monsanto is the world's largest seed company -- and makes more money selling seeds than chemicals. The company's biotech seeds and traits accounted for 88 percent of the worldwide area devoted to genetically modified seeds in 2006 -- and Monsanto earns royalties on every single one. No one needed to tell Monsanto: Whoever controls the first link in the food chain -- the seeds -- controls the food supply.

What better way to understand the perilous state of industrial food and farming than by starting with the seed? Claire Hope Cummings' new book, Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds is a sharp and elegant analysis of the biotech seed debate.

Beginning with the tragic story of how the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq led to the destruction of Iraq's seed bank, and the subsequent dependence of Iraqi farmers on U.S. aid and multinational agribusiness, Cummings explains what's at stake when farming communities lose the crop diversity that they've nurtured and managed for thousands of years.

Note: Headline links to source.

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