Call to Action: June 4th, Stand with Haiti’s Farmers!


Join AGRA Watch Friday June 4, 2010, as we march in solidarity with Haitian farmers, who have committed to burning Monsanto’s incoming donation of hybrid maize and vegetable seeds, which have been treated with highly toxic pesticides. The Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) has condemned the shipment, and has insisted that Haiti’s future depends on food sovereignty – join us in saying YES! to food sovereignty, and NO! to Monsanto!

June 4, 2010—Meet at 4:00pm at Grand Central Bakery: 1616 Eastlake Ave. E, Seattle

4:30pm Creative action at Gates Foundation
March at 5:00pm to University Bridge

“A New Earthquake for Haiti”–Chavannes Jean-Baptiste
Monsanto recently announced that it will donate 60,000 sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn and vegetable seeds to Haitian farmers, some of them treated with toxic pesticides.  The shipment is scheduled to arrive this week in Haiti.  However, Haitian farmers are rejecting this “donation,” and rejecting Monsanto’s profit-driven strategy of creating dependency on their products by offering free seeds to poor farmers.  The Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP), a member of the international peasant movement La Via Campesina, called this dumping of seeds “a very strong attack on small agriculture, on farmers, on biodiversity, on Creole seeds … and on what is left of our environment in Haiti.”  The MPP has called upon the farmers of Haiti to march in opposition, and burn the seeds of this foreign transnational.  Haitian social movements have stressed that keeping chemicals and imported GMO seeds out of Haitian fields are not their only concern.  The future of Haiti depends on establishingfood sovereignty: the right of small farmers to make meaningful decisions about their food system and their agricultural practices — decisions that will allow them to produce abundant, healthy food for the local population.

Why AGRA Watch?
AGRA Watch has spent the past two years challenging the Gates Foundation’s plans for imposing an unjust and unsustainable model of agriculture on countries in Africa.   Both in their direct grants to GMO agricultural research, and through their participation in the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) they are paving the way for the widespread use of GMOs in African nations where they are heartily contested. We criticize the Foundation’s strong connections to Monsanto—from their staff and board member choices, the projects they fund in Africa, to the solutions they envision.  The dumping of toxic seeds on Haiti, is only the latest in a long line of acts that Monsanto has done to push unsustainable “solutions” on farmers around the world. If the Gates Foundation wants to support a sustainable agriculture system in Africa or elsewhere, they must divorce themselves from Monsanto.

Learn more:
Beverly Bell: “Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds”

Timi Gerson: “Five Questions Monsanto Needs to Answer about its Seed Donation to Haiti”

Posted in Agra Watch Blog Posts, Events, Food Justice Blog Posts, Trade Justice Blog Posts, Uncategorized.

One Comment

  1. For Immediate Release

    June 3rd, 2010

    Contact: John E. Peck, executive director, Family Farm Defenders #608-260-0900

    Family Farm Defenders Opposes Corporate Takeover of the Earth’s Biodiversity

    Supports Farmer Allies in Haiti as They Defend Their Food Sovereignty by Rejecting Monsanto’s Seeds

    As part of a Via Campesina’s call for international solidarity in defense of food sovereignty, Family Farm Defenders in the United States wishes to express its strong support for the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) and other farmer allies in Haiti as they take direct action on June 4th, World Environment Day, to rid their country of unwanted chemically treated hybrid seeds imported by Monsanto.

    This is hardly the first time that Monsanto has exploited human tragedy to advance its own agenda of monopolizing the world’s genetic heritage for private profit. Whether it’s a civil war, drought, tsunami, or earthquake Monsanto appears hellbent to take advantage of any opportunity to dump its patented products on desperate communities.

    It is even more disturbing to witness the Obama Administration serving as a willing hand maiden for Monsanto as it bestows this cruel gift upon Haiti. What Haiti needs for its recovery is not more neocolonial charity that aggravates dependency, but genuine solidarity which respects indigenous knowledge and promotes native Creole seeds.

    Monsanto already controls the seeds behind 80% of the corn and 95% of the soybeans grown in the U.S. and they would like to extend this biogenetic domination around the world. Family farmers are now demanding that the Justice Department take anti-trust action against Monsanto and other food giants who have come to control the U.S. food system. Consumers are also beginning to realize the dangers lurking within Monsanto’s biotech products and are increasingly rejecting them in the marketplace.

    Family farmers in Haiti have every right to defend their food sovereignty by rejecting Monsanto’s donation of tainted seeds. In fact, given Monsanto’s sordid track record elsewhere, they are more than justified in their decision. Family Farm Defenders applauds this action and we hope this will serve as an example for other grassroots struggles around the world against the corporate takeover of the earth’s biodiversity.

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