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Monsanto Tribunal: review 2017

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Lawyers giving their statement at the Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague

A lawyer is giving his statement at the Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague.  Photo © Karin Heinze

2017 has been the year of a great and ever growing opposition to Monsanto and the poison companies that try to control our food system. The legal opinion of the Monsanto Tribunal was a highlight, says the Tribunal in its review 2017.

For the very first time, Monsanto victims from all over the world came together and convinced a panel of international judges that the company is violating basic human rights. "We did not manage to stop the re-authorization of glyphosate in the EU, but instead of green light for a 15-year period, Monsanto got a 5-year permit. France and Italy are discussing a 3-year phase out of the herbicide. An impressive 1.3 million people signed the citizens' initiative and discussions on the behavior of Monsanto were all over the news in many countries. A court case of glyphosate victims in the US led to the release of the 'Monsanto Papers', that show Monsanto is manipulating science, press and politics. More documents and evidence of Monsanto's misbehavior will follow in spring", recaps the Monsanto Tribunal.

The Monsanto Tribunal with official judges from many countries.

The Monsanto Tribunal with official judges from many countries. Photo © Karin Heinze

Bayer is buying a Trojan horse

Monsanto is trying to hide these failures by stepping into other fields of destruction. They try to tighten their grip on agricultural data, to get even more control on the food system. They will probably merge with Bayer to increase control and try to hide the bad name of the company, but Bayer is buying a Trojan horse. The share value of Monsanto is massively overrated, because both techniques on which the GMO revenue model depends are failing. More and more people, farmers, and consumers see that we have to change the food system to stop the ecocide. A German study shows us that the insect populations in nature reserves have decreased by 75% in the last 27 years. This sent shock waves through the world. Humans cannot survive if we kill all life around us, and we have to work with nature instead of against it. "The era of highly toxic, fossil fuel dependent and soil and resources depleting chemical agriculture must come to an end, and leave space for agroecology to thrive", emphasises the organisation. "The sooner the change of agriculture paradigm, the better: help wherever and whenever you can, for ourselves and especially our children and grandchildren.


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Protesters against glyphosate and Monsanto at the Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague.

Protesters against glyphosate and Monsanto at the Monsanto Tribunal in The Hague. Photo © Karin Heinze

Dicamba Disaster: Monsanto’s stillborn child?

The review explains how Monsanto´s year 2017 worked out: In the meantime, Monsanto’s cash machines are grounding to a halt. The introduction of their new dicamba resistant GMO crops turned into a disaster as over 1000 farmers in the US are suing the company for the damage. The new generation of BT crops is supposed to fight insects has failed in India. Weed and insect resistance are nature's answer to those crops.

Monsanto’s commercial success is based on the combination of seeds and herbicide. Millions of acres in the world are covered with Monsanto Roundup crops: soy, corn, D, canola, cotton, etc. Both seeds and the glyphosate herbicide are sold by Monsanto, bringing huge profits. However, weeds have grown resistance to Roundup and the commercial success is fading. A new generation of herbicides was supposed to counter this problem, but no new herbicide was found and instead they had to go back to an older and possibly even more toxic herbicide: dicamba.

Dicamba was introduced in 1963 and Monsanto signed a deal for the production with BASF. Billions have been invested in testing and marketing the new dicamba resistant crops. Apart from its toxicity to plants, humans and soil, there is another problem: drift. The poison is taken by the wind and brings death or serious damage to trees and other crops that aren’t genetically modified to withstand dicamba. Many farmers have lost part of their crops. As a result, individual lawsuits and class action cases have been filed against BASF and Monsanto in more than two dozen US States. In 2016, dicamba drift damaged over 3,6 million acres (1,5 millions hectares) of crops in 25 states.

This could become a very costly affair for Monsanto. And worse for them, it could be a major setback for the chemical agriculture.


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