IMF loan for Ukraine may give GMO giant a backdoor into EU

Monsanto in Ukraine: IMF loan for Ukraine may give GMO giant a backdoor into EU

Published time: August 30, 2014 15:33

Reuters / Bogdan Cristel

Reuters / Bogdan Cristel

Ukraine’s bid for closer ties with the west could come at a cost. With the IMF set to loan the country $17 billion, the deal could also see GMO crops grown in some of the most fertile lands on the continent, warns Frederic Mousseau.

Very few, not least the Ukrainian population are aware of these details, but according to Mousseau, who is a Policy Director at The Oakland Institute, in return for the cash, Ukraine could very well become a test ground for GMO crops in Europe, something the rest of the European Union has been looking to prevent. RT caught up with the Frenchman, whovoicedhis concerns at what may lay ahead.

RT: When this $17 billion deal is approved by the IMF and the Ukrainian ban on GM crops is lifted, does that mean it is just a matter of time before Ukrainian farmers grow modified crops?

Frederic Mousseau: This is very likely because there is a lot of pressure from the bio-technological industry, such as Monsanto, to have these approved in Ukraine. It is also part of the EU Association Agreement, which has a particular article which calls for the expansion of bio-technology and GMOs in Ukraine.

RT: If it was one of the pre-conditions of the multi-billion dollar loan, do you think it is fair to say that Monsanto has considerable influence over the IMF and the World Bank and even dictates terms to them?

FM: We saw in 2013 that Monsanto invested $140 million in new seed plans in Ukraine. It is clearly the bread basket of Europe and it is a key target for a company like Monsanto, which sees this huge potential for production and this huge market. Europe has been quite resistant in allowing GMOs, but if they are successful in Ukraine then there might be a domino effect in Europe.

RT: Was it a coincidence or a pre-planned action back in December 2013, when the ban on GM goods was lifted in Ukraine, just weeks before the IMF was supposed to give that county a loan?

FM: It can’t be a coincidence because we have seen a very strong mobilization of the industry and the agro business in lobbying the government and the EU to have these changes in the legislation. Also we have seen this investment coming in prior to any adoption of GMOs. So clearly this pressure was there and to have such a clause in the EU Association Agreement means that the lobbyists in the industry must have been at work for months before that.

AFP Photo / Juliette Michel

AFP Photo / Juliette Michel

RT: The president of the US-Ukraine Business Council has said that it is necessary to get the Ukrainian government out of the agriculture business and transform it into a private sector industry. Can we say that America has set its sights on the vast fields that could be a gold mine for agriculture?

FM: There are these seed businesses like Monsanto and pesticide companies, but there is also the land of Ukraine, which has so far been under the control of the Ukrainian government and has not been available for sale. There will be a big push to privatize this land and make it a valuable commodity, which can be acquired by foreign corporations. What we have seen in recent years is that even if the land could not be purchased, it has been leased on a massive scale. Already 1.6 million hectares have been acquired by foreign entities and it is very likely that if the reform programs continue, there will be more companies, more interest and they will be looking to strike deals for Ukrainian land.

RT: There is considerable anti-GMO sentiment around the world. If you take this into account, how beneficial would it be for Ukraine to rely on the US-based GMO crops industry?

FM: It comes as part of an agreement with the EU and we know that European citizens and farmers are against GMOs, but still we have a deal with the European Union, who have worked out a deal with Ukraine to expand the use of GMOs. It seems like it has been something that has been arranged by the lobbyists of corporations and the civil servants within the European Commission. We have seen all over the world that this is not beneficial for farmers, it is not beneficial to citizens. It is just in the interest of the corporations who are taking over control of seeds used by farmers around the world. The food that is produced does not become better or cheaper.

RT: How harmful potentially do you think growing GMO crops could be for those rich fertile Ukrainian soils?

FM: We have seen in the US, where GMO crops have been cultivated for a couple of decades now. We have concerns about the quality of soil because the use of GMOs comes with a high level of the use of fertilizers and this destroys a lot of the organic materials in the soils. There is also a very high risk of contamination for those farmers who choose not to use GMOs and we have seen this very clearly in North America where there has been a lot of contamination.

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  • So, they want to poison…no matter whom animals, humans, environment earth. etc… but greed and ambitious it come with a price ..what goes around comes around! );
  • The toxins associated with GMO should never be tolerated. NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDE neurotoxins are absolutely the main factor causing the collapse of bee and pollinator populations along with other lethal chemicals, glysophate, etc. When these poisons are banned as they were in Europe the bee populations start to recover. GMO neonicotinoids, roundup etc. MUST BE BANNED OUTRIGHT and all the farmers along with Biotech and chemical companies told to cease and desist from what they are doing. An even scarier prospect: the “BT” version of GMO soybeans and corn, (basically pesticides engineered directly into the plant ) The “BT toxin” gene is put into the DNA of the corn in order for it to manufacture its own toxins that kill pests. The BT gene originated from a soil bacteria that also infiltrates the microflora (friendly digestive bacteria) in your gut. The Bt gene converts the microflora in your intestine into toxin-manufacturing machines. So, to be clear, eating GMO corn products can cause your gut (which is primarily responsible for keeping you healthy) to turn into a breeding ground for tiny little pesticide factories inside your body, actively creating toxins which are designed to kill living things. These toxins are found in the blood and are readily transferred across the placenta to developing babies in the womb.
  • GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world. Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield. By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.
  • GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure. GMOs increase herbicide use. Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―surviving deadly weed killers. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer
  • GMO is a poison. Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto’s Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, “developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females.” The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. Everywhere GMO is being grown, food allergies, disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others have been skyrocketing in the human populations. There has been a drastic decline of crop-pollinating insects all over the world, and what this means for the future of the world’s food supply. Wild pollinators like bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles are basically disappearing. GMO industrial agricultural practices are causing this insect genocide. Pollinating insects in general, which include a wide range of insects and other animals, are simply vanishing from their normal habitats and foraging areas. That lower diversity and lower abundance of wild insects means less fruits and destruction of the diversity of plants and their fruits worldwide
  • US is also going to withhold $277 million in aid if El Salvador refuses to purchase GM seeds from the biotech company Monsanto. What must we do to stop GMOs?
  • view1st
    +2
    This is what the poisoned chalice of free market, neo-liberal capitalism has to offer the world: an unregulated and totally corrupt system of bribes and coercion that is unaccountable to anyone.
  • Putin will put it to good use GMO should be banned GLOBALLY
  • No surprise to me that the leaders of Monsanto prefer to use the back door . It is a very common thing in fact I believe most of our western leaders have the same inclination ..don’t bend over cos you’ll get the shock of your life.
  • Monsanto out of Ukraine
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