The website of US-based biotech giant Monsanto boasts that the corporation qualifies as “a sustainable agriculture company”.
Given Monsanto’s legacy as a producer of the lethal defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, Southeast Asian agriculture would presumably beg to differ with this characterisation.
Sustainability is also not the first word that comes to mind when contemplating Monsanto’s policy of sowing the earth with genetically modified seeds that destroy soil and are designed with nonrenewable traits so as to require constant repurchase as well as acquisition of a variety of other company products like fertilizers and pesticides.
Nor would the term appear to define a situation in which nearly 300,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995 after being driven into insurmountable debt by neoliberal economics and the conquest of Indian farmland by Monsanto’s Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton.
In tragic irony, many kill themselves by imbibing pesticides intended for their crops.
As for Monsanto’s shameless claim that one of its primary objectives is “to improve lives”, we might similarly conclude that butchers aim to improve the lives of cows and pigs and that two plus two is 86.