THE GMO SCARPBOOK: INDIA CUTS ROYALTIES, MON(STER)SANTO THREATENS TO ...March 15, 2016
Yesterday I blogged about a report that allegedly was circulating in the Kremlin regarding GMOs, vaccinations, and the general state of the West's "food" sup;ly and "nutrition." In that blog, I raised again an idea that I have been advancing for some years regarding "GMO geopolitics," i.e., the idea that the BRICSA bloc, if it was smart, would seek to transform the GMO debate and issue into a gepolitical issue, ie. an issue of the exercise of soft power. To do this, I've been maintaining that it could carefully position itself on the side of those who are increasingly raising concerns about the safety of such products. Yesterday, it will be recalled, Russia apparently has now expanded this to encompass the link between autism and the slew of vaccinations that big pharma increasingly presses in the West, and in some cases, successfully lobbies for mandatory vaccination rules.
It seems in this respect that things are also heating up on the GMO issue in India, where there has been a rising concern and political opposition to GMOs, according to this article that manyhave shared:
Here's the crux of the matter:
American agrochemical giant Monsanto has threatened to pull out of India and hold back new genetically modified cotton technologies if the government continues its “arbitrary and potentially destructive” interventions that seek to cut the company’s royalty fees.
Last year the Indian government issued an order to control cotton seed prices effective from the 2016-17 crop year. In a ruling, the antitrust regulator, Competition Commission of India, accused the GMO giant of potentially abusing its dominant position on the market. The Agriculture Ministry set up a special committee tasked with implementing brackets for seed price along with royalty fees, after the completion of an investigation into the matter. (Emphasis added)
Noting that GMO cotton account for some 90% of India's cotton argiculture, the article is really pointing out that that the agribuness giant Mon(ster)santo is in potential violation of the government's anti-trust regulations, and the Indian government has decided to cut the firm's royalties, which, of course, affect its bottom line:
However the new government commission is keen to reduce the price of the crop after local seeds companies filed complaints that MMB was charging high fees to sub-license BT cotton seed technology since 2002. The government is reportedly planning to reduce the royalties of its genetically modified cotton seeds by 70 percent.
This has resulted in the predictable threat from I.G. Farbensanto that it will have to "reevaluate its position" in the country, i.e., withdraw from the market.
That, I suspect, is the result that the Indian government's policy is designed to achieve, and it's here that we might indulge in a bit of high octane speculation: this approach - rather than a head-on confrontation over the viability and safety of GMOs - might become the playbook for nations that have seen their family farmers gutted by big American "agribusiness," countries like Brazil and Argentina, for example, and not just India. Take a larger share of royalties for the government. And, if one were really Machiavellian, use those proceeds to promote non-GMO farming, effectively making Mon(ster)santo "pay the opposition", so to speak.
Any way one slices it, the news from India is bad enough for "agribusiness," and it has been a long time in coming. But if this is a manifestation of my "GMO geopolitics" idea, then it is only the first step in what may be a policy that is eventually expanded to other agricultural products in India. India is one to watch, and if this "GMO geopolitics" idea is true, then one should watch South Africa, Brazil, and BRICSA want-to-be, Argentina, closely.
See you on the flip side...