Monsanto Lambasted in Zimbabwe by Government and Non-governmental Delegates
Monsanto Investing News web page.
At a national conference on agricultural biotechnology held in Harare
September 24th, Monsanto was lambasted by more than 350 government and
nongovernmental delegates, including representatives of the diplomatic
corps. The company came under fire for both its handling of Bt Cotton and
Terminator Technology. Apparently some of Zimbabwe's biggest cotton
farmers slipped Monsanto's Bt cotton varieties into the country last year
for a little unauthorized sneak preview. When officials learned of it, the
plants were uprooted but the company has been held in suspicion ever since.
However, few attending the Conference knew about the Terminator until
RAFI's Pat Mooney spread the word during a keynote address.
Mooney's remarks were obviously not to the liking of the numerous Monsanto/
Cargill/ DeltaPine representatives in the room. Wally Green from
Monsanto's South Africa office demanded podium time to defend what he
termed "Gene Protection". Green concluded by advising his audience that
if farmers didn't want 'Gene Protection' they didn't have to buy it. In
the ensuing uproar, Zimbabwe officials told Mr. Green of instances where
either government rules or commercial credit had forced farmers to grow
certain crop varieties.
Conference organizers then restructured the meeting to allow for a full
debate. Much to the delight of the meeting, the flustered Green
unwittingly fell to calling the technology "Terminator" himself.
(Officially, Monsanto calls the Terminator "TPS - Technology Protection
System".) Then, with national television cameras whirring, Green threw in
the towel, telling the audience that "It must be obvious to everyone here
that Mr. Mooney knows much more about the Terminator that I do. ... All I
can do is take note of what has been said here and report back to my
company." Green also said that he had been sent by Monsanto specifically
to defend the Terminator. He was last seen surrounded by other company
officials being hustled out of the meeting.
More information about Monsanto Terminator Seed Dangers.
[Posted by Chris Wheeler]