On today’s show I talk for a bit about our recent family vacation to Cape Cod, the food, fun and family. Then I delve into a more serious topic, the collapsing dairy industry, both here at home and abroad….
On today’s show I discuss something that has been on my mind awhile now, that is Private Collective Food Production. Essentially a privately organized barter/trade/supply network for all things food. …
Many of you have been e-mailing me regarding the 60 Minutes story that aired the night detailing the widespread fraud in the olive oil business. While this is nothing new, many people had not been aware until seeing the 60 Minutes piece. Some 70% or more of extra virgin olive oil sold in supermarkets here in the USA is phony, compliments of the Italian Mafia!…
Five million Brazilian farmers are locked in a lawsuit with US-based biotech giant Monsanto, suing for as much as 6.2 billion euros. They say that the genetic-engineering company has been collecting royalties on crops it unfairly claims as its own.
The farmers claim that Monsanto unfairly collects exorbitant profits every year worldwide on royalties from “renewal” seed harvests. “Renewal” crops are those that have been planted using seed from the previous year’s harvest. While the practice of renewal farming is an ancient one, Monsanto disagrees, demanding royalties from any crop generation produced from its genetically-engineered seed. Because the engineered seed is patented, Monsanto not only charges an initial royalty on the sale of the crop produced, but a continuing 2 per cent royalty on every subsequent crop, even if the farmer is using a later generation of seed.
“Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production,” Jane Berwanger, lawyer for the farmers told the Associated Press reports.
In the latest installment of the legal battle erupting in South America, the Brazilian court has ruled in favor of the Brazilian farmers, saying Monsanto owes them at least US$2 billion paid since 2004. Monsanto, however, has appealed the decision and the case is ongoing.
In essence, Monsanto argues that once a farmer buys their seed, they have to pay the global bio-tech giant a yearly fee in perpetuity – with no way out.
At stake is Brazil’s highly profitable and ever growing soybean production. Last year, Brazil was the world’s second producer and exporter of soybean behind the United States, according to the AFP report. The crops can be used for anything from animal feed to bio fuel, and worldwide demand is growing.
Genetically engineered soy first appeared illegally in Brazil in the 1990’s, smuggled in from neighboring Argentina. The Brazilian farmers found the seed attractive despite the ban in place from the Brazilian authorities because Monsanto had specifically designed the seed to be resistant to its own immensely powerful and popular herbicide Roundup. Read More