The Seed Empires of Today

7 thoughts on “The Seed Empires of Today”

  1. This is a great graphic! It is frustrating to me that in the discussion on GMOs or other biotechnology people conflate the technology (which can be good/bad) with the vendor. But I think we should all focus on the fact that there is an unhealthy concentration of economic power in the industry and no easy way to change that, as you point out.

  2. That’s both fascinating and terrifying. I really love what Thought+Food has said about that confusion in the GMO debate. My biggest problem with GMO foods isn’t their existence in and of themselves, it’s my fear of such a small group of organisations basically holding the keys to EVERYTHING we eat.
    Have you read Paolo Bacigalupi’s Wind-Up Girl? I’d really recommend it to anyone interested in GMO oligopolies.

  3. So how we would we begin to think of a more solid international framework of control? Frameworks and conventions are abundant. In the European Framework on GMO, for instance, it is stated: “Safety: The product must be safe and cannot pose threats to human or animal health. It also must be safe for the environment. All products from GMOs must be considered just as safe as their conventionally derived counterparts according to tests using the most advanced knowledge and technology available. If this isn’t the case, the GMO will not receive authorisation.” In my view, the problem often comes down to semantics and subjective viewpoints. What does “safe” mean? Frequently even the most advanced science fails to take into account a chemical byproduct or long-term repercussion that will not be possible to reverse at a later stage.
    Probably we need to rely on a precautionary approach. That would be bad news for a lot of hungry small-scale farmers in desert regions. But, as one recent delegate at a GM conference said, “offering GM food as aid is like giving a Hindu farmer beef to eat.”
    In South Africa, the country will not accept GM maize for food aid because of fears that it could “infect” naturally grown maize. Therefore it can only be imported in a milled form. Whether these sorts of piecemeal solutions will be enough in the longer term must surely be highly questionable.

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