Bayer + Monsanto = A Match Made in Hell (23 min)

Corbettreport – June 23, 2018

TRANSCRIPT AND MP3 AUDIO: https://www.corbettreport.com/bayer/

It is hardly surprising that the first thing Bayer did after completing their takeover of Monsanto earlier this month was to announce that they were dropping the Monsanto name, merging the two companies’ agrichemical divisions under the Bayer Crop Science name. After all, as everyone knows, Monsanto is one of the most hated corporations in the world. But Bayer itself has an equally atrocious history of death and destruction. Together they are a match made in hell.

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We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture

Counter Punch – by Brian Wakamo – June 22, 2018

Summer: the season of barbecues, baseball games, and backyard fun. It’s also the time of year when the American farming industry comes into full swing producing the crops we hold near and dear.

The pastoral ideal of golden fields of corn and wheat is what comes to mind for most people, and they’d be on the right track. Corn, soybeans, and wheat are the three biggest crops grown in this country, and — along with cows, pigs, and chicken — make up the bulk of our farming output.

There’s a reason for this: The federal government heavily subsidizes those products. In fact, the bulk of U.S. farming subsidies go to only 4 percent of farms — overwhelmingly large and corporate operations — that grow these few crops.

For the most part, that corn, soy, and wheat doesn’t even go to feed our populace. More of it goes into the production of ethanol — which is also heavily subsidized — and into the mouths of those cows, pigs, and chickens stuffed into feedlots. Those grains purchased by the feedlots are also federally subsidized, allowing producers to buy grains at below market prices.

When we do eat these foods, they’re sold back to us in unhealthy forms, pumped full of high fructose corn syrup and growth hormones. Large corporate farms and feedlots also poison waterways, drain aquifers, and pollute the air.

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Agroecology and the fight against deadly capitalist agriculture

Climate and Capitalism, June 17, 2018 by Colin Todhunter

Agroecology can free farmers from dependency, manipulated commodity markets, unfair subsidies and food insecurity. It is resisted by giant corporations that profit from the status quo.

Colin Todhunter is an extensively published independent writer and former social policy researcher based in the UK and India. This article was originally published as “Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset,” on his blog, East by Northwest. Colin invites readers to follow him on Twitter.

Food and agriculture across the world is in crisis. Food is becoming denutrified and unhealthy and diets less diverse. There is a loss of biodiversity, which threatens food security, soils are being degraded, water sources polluted and depleted and smallholder farmers, so vital to global food production, are being squeezed off their land and out of farming.

A minority of the global population has access to so much food than it can afford to waste much of it, while food insecurity has become a fact of life for hundreds of millions. This crisis stems from food and agriculture being wedded to power structures that serve the interests of the powerful global agribusiness corporations.

Over the last 60 years, agriculture has become increasingly industrialised, globalised and tied to an international system of trade based on export-oriented mono-cropping, commodity production for the international market, indebtedness to international financial institutions (IMF/World Bank).

This has resulted in food surplus and food deficit areas, of which the latter have become dependent on (US) agricultural imports and strings-attached aid. Food deficits in the Global South mirror food surpluses in the North, based on a ‘stuffed and starved’ strategy.

Whether through IMF-World Bank structural adjustment programmes related to debt repayment as occurred in Africa (as a continent Africa has been transformed from a net exporter to a net importer of food), bilateral trade agreements like NAFTA and its impact on Mexico or, more generally, deregulated global trade rules, the outcome has been similar: the devastation of traditional, indigenous agriculture.

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France Forces Supermarkets to Donate Food Rather than Dump It, So Should U.S.

France recently made it illegal for grocery stores to dump or destroy good food. Instead of letting 1 in 8 Americans go hungry, maybe we should do this too.

An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, around 150,000 tons.

Around 10 percent of that is thrown out by grocery stores just before it reaches its expiration or “best before” date.

Meanwhile, 1 in 8 Americans struggles with hunger.

France has put an end to the waste, by making it illegal for grocery stores to throw out or destroy unsold food, and now the European Union may consider a similar continent-wide law, as the European Parliament just set a goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030.

Charities in France are now able to give out millions more free meals each year to people struggling to afford to eat.

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Background: Genetically Modified Wheat Contamination in Canada and the US

There are no genetically engineered (genetically modified or GM) wheat varieties approved anywhere in the world. None have ever been commercially grown and sold. However, field trials of different GM wheat varieties continue in Canada and the US, at undisclosed locations.

Contamination from Monsanto’s GM herbicide-tolerant wheat

 

Monsanto’s GM trait for glyphosate-tolerance was found in wheat plants growing on a road in southern Alberta in 2017, in a contamination incident reported by Canadian regulators on June 14, 2018.[i]

There have been three GM wheat contamination incidents reported in the US (2013, 2014, 2016), all with Monsanto’s GM herbicide-tolerant (glyphosate-tolerant) “Roundup Ready” wheat.

In 2004, Monsanto withdrew its request for approval of its GM “Roundup Ready” wheat in Canada and the US after protests from farmers and consumers along with resistance in the international market.

The last time Monsanto grew trials of its GM wheat in Canada was in 2004 (2005 in the US).[ii]

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Revealing Food’s Hidden Costs: New Framework for Food and Agriculture

Food Tank – June 4, 2018

“We are trying to pull together the latest scientific results on food systems,” says Müller. “We tried to link together the latest findings of economists, environmentalists, agriculturalists, people looking at labor and trade, and science to fight poverty. If you bring these results together in a new way, you can see that the system is more than all the different parts of the disciplinary sciences working on it.”

To ensure the sustainability of agriculture and food systems, an important step is to account for externalities through market mechanisms. By creating a more comprehensive evaluation framework, decisionmakers can better compare different policies, programs, and strategies, while the market can more accurately value food. TEEBAgriFood hopes their new framework will help achieve their vision of a world where informed decisionmaking upholds public good and ensures nutrition and health for all humans so they can live in harmony with nature.

“Our framework provides a holistic, ethical, wide-angle lens with which to really understand our food systems today,” says Pavan Sukhdev, member of the TEEBAgriFood Steering Committee and Founder-CEO of GIST Advisory. “Because of its holistic approach, this framework is not as easy to apply as a single-lens approach—‘per hectare productivity,’ for example—but it is ethically, socially, economically, and environmentally much more appropriate, and can provide sustainable business models in the context of climate change, changing global demographics, local economies, and health. I want decisionmakers in governments and businesses to realize that they should support the use of this wide-angle lens applied to the full eco-agri-food system instead of the inadequate narrow lens of per-hectare productivity in farms.”

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