Resisting the Corporate Theft of Seeds http://www.thenation.com/print/article/163401/resisting-corpora...
Published on The Nation (http://www.thenation.com)
Resisting the Corporate Theft of Seeds
Vandana Shiva | September 14, 2011
Editor's Note: This piece is one in a series of replies to Frances Moore Lappé’s essay on the food
We are in a food emergency. Speculation and diversion of food to biofuel has contributed to an
uncontrolled price rise, adding more to the billion already denied their right to food. Industrial
agriculture is pushing species to extinction through the use of toxic chemicals that kill our bees and
butterﬂies, our earthworms and soil organisms that create soil fertility. Plant and animal varieties
are disappearing as monocultures displace biodiversity. Industrial, globalized agriculture is
responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gases, which then destabilize agriculture by causing
climate chaos, creating new threats to food security.
But the biggest threat we face is the control of seed and food moving out of the hands of farmers
and communities and into a few corporate hands. Monopoly control of cottonseed and the
introduction of genetically engineered Bt cotton has already given rise to an epidemic of farmers’
suicides in India. Aquarter-million farmers have taken their lives because of debt induced by the
high costs of nonrenewable seed, which spins billions of dollars of royalty for ﬁrms like Monsanto.
I started Navdanya in 1987 to address the challenge of GM seeds, seed patents and seed
We have been successful in reclaiming seed sovereignty and creating sixty community seed banks
to reclaim seed as a commons. We have proven that biodiverse ecological agriculture produces
more food and nutrition per acre than monocultures, while reducing costs to the planet and to
But our efforts are like a little lamp in a very dark room. We keep the lamp of possibilities and
alternatives burning. The food emergency, however, calls for a much wid