Offering Choice But Delivering Tyranny: the Corporate Capture of Agriculture
Date Written: 21/08/2019
Year Published: 2019
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23787
Proponents of genetically modified seeds say they are opening up 'choice' to farmers and consumers but end up giving monopolies to powerful corporations with proprietary agricultural tools and methods. This lessens environmental and dietary health and diversity.
Many lobbyists talk a lot about critics of genetic engineering technology denying choice to farmers. They say that farmers should have access to a range of tools and technologies to maximise choice and options. At the same time, somewhat ironically, they decry organic agriculture and proven agroecological approaches, presumably because these practices have no need for the proprietary inputs of the global agrochemical/agritech corporations they are in bed with. And presumably because agroecology represents liberation from the tyranny of these profiteering, environment-damaging global conglomerates.
It is fine to talk about 'choice' but we do not want to end up offering a false choice (rolling out technologies that have little value and only serve to benefit those who control the technology), to unleash an innovation that has an adverse impact on others or to manipulate a situation whereby only one option is available because other options have been deliberately removed....
As the push to drive GM crops into Indias fields continues (the second coming of the green revolution the gene revolution), we should therefore take heed. To date, the track record of GMOs is unimpressive, but the adverse effects on many smallholder farmers are already apparent....
We must therefore put glib talk of the denial of technology by critics to one side if we are to engage in a proper discussion of choice. Any such discussion would account for the nature of the global food system and the dynamics and policies that shape it.