Vandana Shiva writes in Huffington Post about India:
200,000 farmers have ended their lives since 1997.
In just one Indian state:
1593 farmers committed suicide in Chattisgarh in 2007. Before 2000 no farmers suicides are reported in the state.
In 1998, the World Bank’s structural adjustment policies forced India to open up its seed sector to global corporations like Cargill, Monsanto and Syngenta. The global corporations changed the input economy overnight. Farm saved seeds were replaced by corporate seeds, which need fertilizers and pesticides and cannot be saved.
Corporations prevent seed savings through patents and by engineering seeds with non-renewable traits. As a result, poor peasants have to buy new seeds for every planting season and what was traditionally a free resource, available by putting aside a small portion of the crop, becomes a commodity. This new expense increases poverty and leads to indebtness.
In addition to the problems produced by the pesticides Monsanto seeds are
developed to be immune to,
Peter Whoriskey writes in the Washington Post
about how 93% of soybeans and 80% of corn grown in the U.S. now
comes from Monsanto-developed seeds.
And during the decade in which that has happened:
…for farmers such as Lowe, prices of the Monsanto-patented seeds have steadily increased, roughly doubling during the past decade, to about $50 for a 50-pound bag of soybean seed, according to seed dealers.
Many farmers are fed up with Monsanto’s ruthless use of litigation. All over the United States, the wind is carrying Monsanto’s genetically altered seeds into neighboring fields. Monsanto regularly sends out investigators to visit farms and to test whether any Monsanto strains have shown up on those farms. If they have, then Monsanto proceeds to sue the living daylights out of those farmers.
A commenter makes the monoculture point:
They don’t have to be more susceptible to crop diseases. They have extremely low genetic diversity, so a disease that strongly affects that strain of plant will be able to spread over millions of acres of nearly identical targets.
This is exactly what happened to the Irish during the potato famine. The Inca, who discovered the potato, had thousands of varieties. Some resisted blight, some resisted insects, others performed better in dry years, etc.