Over the 12,000 years that humans have been farming, a rich tradition of seed saving has developed. Men and women choose seeds from the plants that are best adapted to their own locale and trade them within the community, enhancing crop diversity and success rates

All this may change in the next four to five years. Monsanto Corporation has been working to consolidate the world seed market and is now poised to introduce new genetically engineered seeds that will produce only infertile seeds at the end of the farming cycle.

Farmers will no longer be able to save seeds from year to year and will be forced to purchase new seeds from Monsanto each year.

On March 3, 1998, Delta Land and Pine Company, a large American cotton seed company, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced they had been awarded a patent on a technique that genetically disables a seed’s ability to germinate when planted a second season. This patent covers not only the cotton and tobacco varieties, but, potentially, all cultivated crops.

Scarcely two months after the patent was awarded, Monsanto, the world’s third largest seed corporation and second largest agrochemical corporation, began the process of acquiring Delta Land and Pine and with it the rights to this new technology.

Sources for this story, which was named the third best censored story of 1999, included: MOJO WIRE, April 27, 1998; Global Pesticide Campaigner and Earth Island Journal, June 1998, Fall 1998; and The Ecologist, September/October 1998.


HOW FRANKENFOOD PREVAILED. A Hungrier World Validates Monsanto’s Tech-driven Strategy

The June 28, 2010, issue of Time magazine reported how “Few companies spin financial growth out of crop growth better than Monsanto. By making an early, successful R&D heavy bet on biotechnology, Monsanto transformed itself from an agricultural chemical company in an increasingly commoditized sector into a cutting edge seed and biotech firm.

Because its rivals are still catching up to its prowess in creating biotech traits — the software of seeds — Monsanto has become the standard bearer and lightening rod for the controversial advance of genetically modified (GM) crops, sometime derisively described as Frankenstein foods.

Those who cannot remember the past

are condemned to repeat it!

-George Santayana