Vandana Shiva, activists confuse prejudices against Big Ag with debate over GMOs

| | August 29, 2014
Washington, DC, 2009
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The New Yorker has a fascinating article on Vandana Shiva, a crusader against GMO crops. I’d never heard of her before, but apparently she has charisma and cult-like followers who hang on her every word, and her word is a rather religious opposition to scientific agriculture. Weirdly, I can agree with some of it.

At each stop, Shiva delivered a message that she has honed for nearly three decades: by engineering, patenting, and transforming seeds into costly packets of intellectual property, multinational corporations such as Monsanto, with considerable assistance from the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the United States government, and even philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are attempting to impose “food totalitarianism” on the world.

But that has nothing to do with GMOs. I agree that a lot of corporate agriculture is bad for us in the long run; I think the purely capitalistic drive of the major agricultural corporations is damaging. I live smack in the middle of Monsanto-land, and I see this all around me.

Related article:  Who is Vandana Shiva and why is she saying such awful things about GMOs?

So I sympathize. But I think there’s a confusion of issues, of the problem with corporate domination of the agricultural sector with the scientific improvement of our crops. The latter isnecessary. This is nonsense:

“We would have no hunger in the world if the seed was in the hands of the farmers and gardeners and the land was in the hands of the farmers,” she said. “They want to take that away.”

Small traditional farms using traditional methods using genetically unmodified seed stock is a formula for starvation.

For her part, Shiva insists that the only acceptable path is to return to the principles and practices of an earlier era. “Fertilizer should never have been allowed in agriculture,” she said in a 2011 speech. “I think it’s time to ban it. It’s a weapon of mass destruction. Its use is like war, because it came from war.”


Read full, original article: Crusaders against GMOs

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