In talking about piracy I am not talking about what’s going on around Somalia. I am talking about the bio-piracy of the GMO companies.
In the course of 8,000 years, innovative farmers have bred over 10,000 varieties of rice, each suited to different growing conditions and tastes. Today, centuries old practices of traditional rice cultivation are threatened by corporate financial interests and technologies known as “biopiracy” and “bioengineering”.
Basmati rice, bred into many strains over thousands of years by Indian and Pakastani growers, is prized in the world market for its quality and fragrance.
Approximately 80% of India’s Basmati rice is grown for export, and thousands of farmers depend on it for their lively hoods.
In 1997 the Texas-based corporation RiceTec, Inc., was granted a U.S. patent on the name “Basmati”, giving it commercial ownership of the name for rice seed, rice plants, and rice grain.
This case of “bio-piracy” raised global outrage, as Indian rice growers and exporters would have to pay royalties to RiceTec if they sold their traditional product under the familiar Basmati name.
International organizations lunched a challenge to the patent, and in 2001 their effort was successful. In addition to forcing RiceTec to drop its Basmati venture, the campaign raised awareness and understanding about biopiracy and the issues associated with patenting live organisms.
Although the Basmati patent was struck down, the biotech pimps Monsanto, Syngentra, and others are moving forward with genetic research and are patenting “bioengineered” rice. One controversial example is Golden Rice, a GMO created by adding genetic material from flowers and bacteria to the DNA of rice.
The resulting rice grain contains vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, and is touted as a solution to childhood blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency. But, scientists and activists who are opposed to GMO-related corporate control of agriculture argue that vitamin A deficiency in developing countries is not caused by deficiencies in the crops themselves, but by the loss of diverse sources of food.
Golden Rice provides only a minimum percentage of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, while a varied diet including green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, and fruit, would provide families with plenty of vitamin A.
If the money spent on developing Golden Rice could be spent instead on distributing seed for safe, naturally vitamin A crops, a serious health issue would be addressed, while fostering biodiversity and sustainable traditional agriculture.
Over the past 10 years we sat back and allowed GMOs to contaminate a major part of our food supply with Monsanto wanting to control the world’s food sources. The good news: Because of thousands of lawsuits, Monsanto sold to Bayer and pretty soon it could be “bye bye” Bayer as well. Let’s hope!
We have been blessed with Frankenfish, cloned meat, bovine growth hormone laden dairy products, a government …”of the people” making it so any GMO does not have to labeled, and touted as safe, and our beloved politicians turning a blind eye as long as the campaign contributions keep rolling in.
But, we the people have financial power. If we only purchase GMO-free products we will certainly get the attention of the pimps and hookers. Let’s call it a “trick” rebellion.
For openers, only buy organic soy, corn, cotton and sugar products. And remember, there is no such thing as “organic” or “Expeller Pressed” Canola oil. It is a GMO through and through.