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18. Monsanto Tries to Benefit from Haiti’s Earthquake

In May 2010, six months after an earthquake destroyed Haiti, the American multinational corporation Monsanto donated to the country 60 tons of corn and vegetable hybrid seed. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) took charge of the seed distribution.

A month later, on 4 June 2010, around 10,000 Haitian farmers demonstrated against Monsanto’s donation. “If Monsanto’s seed enters Haiti, farmers’ seed will disappear,” said Doudou Pierre Festil, member of Papaye Farmers Movement and coordinator of the National Haitian Network for Food Sovereignty and Security. Haitian farmers denounced the use of Monsanto’s seeds because they can’t be reused each year, which leads to the necessity of buying new seed from the multinational every new sowing season. Moreover, the Organization Farmer’s Route has warned that the use of Monsanto’s seeds could force the farmers to depend on the company. This dependence could also extend to the fertilizers and herbicides required by the American multinational, which also produces them.

“Haitian government is using the earthquake to sell the country to multinationals,” declared Chavannes Jean Baptiste, coordinator of Papaye Farmers Movement. Monsanto is the world’s biggest seed company: it controls 20% of the seed market and the 90% of agricultural biotechnological patents. The earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010 left 300,000 dead people and half a million wounded, and destroyed around a million homes.

Sources:

“Monsanto hace negocio en Haití tras el terremoto,” Julio Rojo, Diagonal, 28 July 2010. http://www.diagonalperiodico.net/Monsanto-hace-negocio-en-Haiti.html

Agencia Latina de Información: “Monsanto y el Proyecto Vencedor”, Thalles Gomes, Agencia Latina de Información, 19 May 2010. http://www.alainet.org/active/38266

Student Researchers: Joan Pedro, Luis Luján, Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)

Faculty Evaluator: Dra. Ana I. Segovia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
(Spain)

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