What’s the worse: growing GM crops with little awareness of their potential dangers, or being forced to grow genetically modified crops because your government passed a law banning ancient, sustainable practices in favor of modern, biotech methods?
We ask this because Ghana’s national parliament recently gave support to the Plant Breeders Bill, proposed legislation which contains rules that would restrict farmers from carrying out ancient practices.
If made law, the legislation would keep farmers from freely saving, swapping, and breeding seeds. Sound familiar? That’s because the new law aims to protect the intellectual property rights of biotech. In effect, farmers would be subject to hefty fines for growing anything that has been ‘patented’ – even if their crops were cross-pollinated.
The new laws would “incentivize the development of new seed varieties to ensure the marketability of crops,” but farmers argue it gives rights straight to corporations like Monsanto, and not farmers who have been growing food in Ghana for centuries.
The Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen states:
“This system aims to compel farmers to purchase seeds for every planting season.”
From afar, it seems the new law simply seeks to give Monsanto a way to edge their biotech crops into the Ghanian market. But even up close it’s seen for what it is, and that’s why the Plant Breeders Bill has been dubbed the “Monsanto Law”.
If passed, it would be nothing short of a corporate take-over of the food system. And in Ghana, where 70% of food is currently grown by small farms, it would turn an ancient system of sustainable, bio-dynamic practices into a corrupt and vast economy for biotech.
Many are concerned Monsanto’s influence on India, with a farmer committing suicide every 30 seconds due to failed crops and accumulating debt, would be reproduced in Ghana. And Duke Tagoe of Food Sovereignty Ghana is aware of the substantial debt farmers in other parts of the world have been subjected to via Monsanto’s seed monopolies would:
“The economic impact on the lives of farmers will be disastrous. . .The origin of food is seed. Whoever controls the seed control the entire food chain.”
Are biotech companies intending to take over the world with their GM seeds and toxic herbicides?