Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

AMY GOODMAN: Monday’s top story on the popular financial website Kiplinger.com begins with this advice to potential investors: “Everywhere you look people are grumbling—and in many cases rioting—about the high price of food. Before you buy a 20-pound bag of rice at Costco, consider hording shares of Monsanto.”

It’s true. While the rising cost of food pushes millions around the world into deeper hunger and scarcity, agricultural companies like Monsanto are posting record profits. The top seed maker in the world, Monsanto’s stock has gained 95 percent over the past year and 1,600 percent over the past five years. Monsanto’s profits topped $1.6 billion in the first quarter, up 37 percent from the same quarter last year.

Monsanto rose to prominence as one of the leading chemical giants of the twentieth century, but its focus today is agriculture. A company statement says, “At Monsanto, we apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world be more successful, produce healthier foods, and better animal feeds, and create more fiber, all while reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment.”

But critics have accused Monsanto of undermining local farmers and public health through a wide means of corporate bullying. The latest issue of Vanity Fair has a lengthy article profiling some of Monsanto’s controversial corporate practices, from patenting seeds to fighting warning labels on milk cartons. It’s called “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear.”

If you are interested in reading the rest of this interview, click HERE.

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