The ruling by the USDA allowing the use of Monsanto’s genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa reminds NBN of breakfast meeting with Thai rice farmers sponsored by the fair trade certified Transfair trade and fair trade food marketer Alter Eco.
Farmers that had been growing rice for many centuries were persuaded by the government to utilize a variety of inputs to increase production. The government was persuaded to ‘help’ these farmers by none other than Monsanto. After a season or two many of these families who had been growing rice for generations could no longer grow rice. Farms were sold. Large agribusiness interests purchased many of them.
A farm culture that harvested an enormous variety of rices was undermined by the interest of the influence of big agricultural interest. While no direct evidence of government corruption or undue corporate interest was presented connecting the dots wasn’t all that unlikely. The same can be said of the USDA. The bureaucratic stranglehold of corporate interest controlling those that regulate them is clear.
While Michele Obama is a self-proclaimed organic mom with an organic garden at the White House the first lady promotes organic and backyard farming They grow an amazing variety of rice. The type of rice grown was dependent on such factors as whether you lived on a hillside or a valley, the availability of water, sunshine or shade and even how one worshiped.