Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Monsanto GM-corn harvest fails massively in South Africa

In the article below, Monsanto says that the corn was insufficiently fertilized in the laboratory. That is their explanation as to why the plants didn't produce seeds. In this case, seeds are the yellow kernels on an ear of corn. The plants weren't producing any corn on the cob.

I don't have any idea what they mean by 'insufficiently fertilized'. The fertilization happens in the fields, when pollen blows in the wind to be picked up by the stigma attached to an embryonic corn kernel.

A better explanation may well be that the genetic manipulation by Monsanto, provided a variety that can't produce seeds in the second generation. Monsanto is big on terminator seeds and seedless fruits.

One means of introducing new genes into a plant, involves plasmids carried by plant viruses. One theory might be that Monsanto's corn crops have been inadvertently infected by viruses intended for other crops.

Or could simply be that through genetic manipulation, they've broken the plant's reproductive system.

If Monsanto has produced a virus that carried the terminator gene and it's gotten out into the wild, we could possibly see a dramatic shortage in food supplies worldwide. Wouldn't that be a kicker?

Monsanto GM-corn harvest fails massively in South Africa

South African farmers suffered millions of dollars in lost income when 82,000 hectares of genetically-manipulated corn (maize) failed to produce hardly any seeds.The plants look lush and healthy from the outside. Monsanto has offered compensation.

Monsanto blames the failure of the three varieties of corn planted on these farms, in three South African provinces,on alleged 'underfertilisation processes in the laboratory". Some 280 of the 1,000 farmers who planted the three varieties of Monsanto corn this year, have reported extensive seedless corn problems.
Urgent investigation demanded

However environmental activitist Marian Mayet, director of the Africa-centre for biosecurity in Johannesburg, demands an urgent government investigation and an immediate ban on all GM-foods, blaming the crop failure on Monsanto's genetically-manipulated technology.

Willem Pelser, journalist of the Afrikaans Sunday paper Rapport, writes from Nelspruit that Monsanto has immediately offered the farmers compensation in three provinces - North West, Free State and Mpumalanga. The damage-estimates are being undertaken right now by the local farmers' cooperative, Grain-SA. Monsanto claims that 'less than 25%' of three different corn varieties were 'insufficiently fertilised in the laboratory'.

80% crop failure
However Mayet says Monsanto was grossly understating the problem.According to her own information, some farms have suffered up to 80% crop failures. The centre is strongly opposed to GM-food and biologically-manipulated technology in general.

"Monsanto says they just made a mistake in the laboratory, however we say that biotechnology is a failure.You cannot make a 'mistake' with three different varieties of corn.'

Demands urgent government investigation:
"We have been warning against GM-technology for years, we have been warning Monsanto that there will be problems,' said Mayet. She calls for an urgent government investigation and an immediate ban on all GM-foods in South Africa.
Of the 1,000 South African farmers who planted Monsanto's GM-maize this year, 280 suffered extensive crop failure, writes Rapport.

Monsanto's local spokeswoman Magda du Toit said the 'company is engaged in establishing the exact extent of the damage on the farms'. She did not want to speculate on the extent of the financial losses suffered right now.

Managing director of Monsanto in Africa, Kobus Lindeque, said however that 'less than 25% of the Monsanto-seeded farms are involved in the loss'. He says there will be 'a review of the seed-production methods of the three varieties involved in the failure, and we will made the necessary adjustments.'

He denied that the problem was caused in any way by 'bio-technology'. Instead, there had been 'insufficient fertilisation during the seed-production process'.
And Grain-SA's Nico Hawkins says they 'are still support GM-technology; 'We will support any technology which will improve production.' see

He also they were 'satisfied with Monsanto's handling of the case,' and said Grain-SA was 'closely involved in the claims-adjustment methodology' between the farmers and Monsanto.

Farmers told Rapport that Monsanto was 'bending over backwards to try and accommodate them in solving the problem.

"It's a very good gesture to immediately offer to compensate the farmers for losses they suffered,' said Kobus van Coller, one of the Free State farmers who discovered that his maize cobs were practically seedless this week.

"One can't see from the outside whether a plant is unseeded. One must open up the cob leaves to establish the problem,' he said. The seedless cobs show no sign of disease or any kind of fungus. They just have very few seeds, often none at all.
The South African supermarket-chain Woolworths already banned GM-foods from its shelves in 2000. However South African farmers have been producing GM-corn for years: they were among the first countries other than the United States to start using the Monsanto products.

The South African government does not require any labelling of GM-foods. Corn is the main staple food for South Africa's 48-million people.

The three maize varieties which failed to produce seeds were designed with a built-in resistance to weed-killers, and manipulated to increase yields per hectare, Rapport writes.


At 9:24 AM, Blogger Kitty said...

Hi Weaseldog...

I've been stocking up on dried beans...

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

Good idea Kitty.

This Monsanto corn problem, could be the tip of the iceberg.

Monsanto may have a serious gene contamination problem. Further, now that GM corn in a failed crop has been allowed to spread it's pollen, it may destroy the viability of growing corn, for all of South Africa.

This may become a multi-year disaster.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger edgar said...

Monsanto will eventually cause a famine for the ages.

At 4:56 AM, Blogger Bukko Canukko said...

Easier to compensate 280 far,ers than pay hundreds of thousands of Africans who can't get mealy-meal because there's no corn, or they can't afford enough because a shortage drove up prices.

"Monsanto: we don't just screw the farmers who depend on us, we fcuk over their customers, too!"

At 6:35 AM, Blogger Weaseldog said...

Monsanto, "The solution to over population."

At 10:22 AM, Blogger edgar said...

Mon-Satan is everywhere world-wide. They are busy little bees. Sickening.

At 7:26 AM, Blogger fallout11 said...

Back in the 1990's I worked for the US Dept. of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS). Our division dealt with cotton, and late in the 1990's GM cotton was really taking off and becoming popular. More than 75% of the crop in 1999, for instance, was "transgenic"....mostly Roundup Ready (immune to Roundup herbicide, to make weed spraying easier) and/or Bollguard (resistant to bugs). The 90's were also a period during which many of the small seed producers were either acquired by or driven out of business, resulting in ALL cotton seed being controlled by three major companies (Monsanto being #1 with some 65% of the market share).

My colleagues and I expressed concern over these "frankenstein" products, especially over the encouraged overuse of glyphosate herbicides (like roundup) being encouraged by this shit, and the likely development of weeds that would be immune to roundup and similar herbicides (has already happened), and were largely ignored. We also had a series of very dry, droughty years, and lo and behold the GM cotton failed massively, producing far less cotton per acre than the non-transgenic varieties planted in the same areas. A class action lawsuit resulted. Yet today, almost the entire US cotton crop is transgenic.

We sow what we reap. Frankenstein experiments on the global food production network are a crime against humanity.


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