Category Archives: Agrochemical Industry

Toxic Agriculture and the Gates Foundation

Counter Punch – Mar 2, 2020 – Colin Todhunter

Chemical fertilizer plant, San Joaquin Valley. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was launched in 2000 and has $46.8 billion in assets (December 2018). It is the largest charitable foundation in the world and distributes more aid for global health than any government. One of the foundation’s stated goals is to globally enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty.

The Gates Foundation is a major funder of the CGIAR system (formerly the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) – a global partnership whose stated aim is to strive for a food-secured future. Its research is aimed at reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition and ensuring sustainable management of natural resources.

In 2016, the Gates Foundation was accused of dangerously and unaccountably distorting the direction of international development. The charges were laid out in a report by Global Justice Now: ‘Gated Development – Is the Gates Foundation always a force for good?‘ According to the report, the foundation’s strategy is based on deepening the role of multinational companies in the Global South.

On release of the report, Polly Jones, the head of campaigns and policy at Global Justice Now, said:

“The Gates Foundation has rapidly become the most influential actor in the world of global health and agricultural policies, but there’s no oversight or accountability in how that influence is managed.”

She added that this concentration of power and influence is even more problematic when you consider that the philanthropic vision of the Gates Foundation seems to be largely based on the values of ‘corporate America’:

“The foundation is relentlessly promoting big business-based initiatives such as industrial agriculture, private health care and education. But these are all potentially exacerbating the problems of poverty and lack of access to basic resources that the foundation is supposed to be alleviating.”

The report’s author, Mark Curtis, outlines the foundation’s promotion of industrial agriculture across Africa, which would undermine existing sustainable, small-scale farming that is providing the vast majority of food across the continent.

Curtis describes how the foundation is working with US agri-commodity trader Cargill in an $8 million project to “develop the soya value chain” in southern Africa. Cargill is the biggest global player in the production of and trade in soya with heavy investments in South America where GM soya monocrops (and associated agrochemicals) have displaced rural populations and caused health problems and environmental damage.

According to Curtis, the Gates-funded project will likely enable Cargill to capture a hitherto untapped African soya market and eventually introduce GM soya onto the continent. The Gates foundation is also supporting projects involving other chemical and seed corporations, including DuPont, Syngenta and Bayer. It is effectively promoting a model of industrial agriculture, the increasing use of agrochemicals and patented seeds, the privatisation of extension services and a very large focus on genetically modified crops.

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‘Bill Gates is continuing the work of Monsanto’, Vandana Shiva tells FRANCE 24 – Video 12 min

France 24 English – Oct 23, 2019 – Video 12 min

Our guest is Vandana Shiva, a world-famous environmental activist from India. Her latest book is entitled “One Earth, One Humanity vs. the 1%”. She tell us about more her opposition to big multinationals such as Monsanto for their nefarious influence on agriculture. But Shiva also singles out billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg for criticism. “When Bill Gates pours money into Africa for feeding the poor in Africa and preventing famine, he’s pushing the failed Green Revolution, he’s pushing chemicals, pushing GMOs, pushing patterns”, she tells FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman.

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Top 20 CHEMICALS that cause cancer are readily found in US foods and drinks

Natural News – Sept 17, 2018 – S.D. Wells

There’s one thing that most major cancer foundations and cancer drive organizations never mention when “searching for the cure” or “marching for the cure” for cancer – and that is chemicals in food. In fact, at most pink ribbon events, many of the worst cancer-causing chemicals are served up in the foods and drinks everybody is sucking down while hoping to find a cure. In fact, you’ll find nitrate-loaded (KFC) fried chicken and Mike’s hard lemonade (alcoholic style) at the Susan Komen Foundation events. They might as well serve carcinogenic diet soda and administer mercury-laden flu shots while they’re at it. Thanks Komen.

Are they sinister or just stupid? How ironic and uneducated these folks are when it comes to “searching for” the prevention and cure of the biggest human health blight this planet has ever seen.

You wouldn’t throw gasoline on a fire to try to put it out, so why eat cancer-causing foods while marching for the cure?

There are so many accidental hypocrites in America. People are literally becoming more ignorant by the day from eating the wrong foods, drinking the wrong drinks, and taking all the wrong medications, and then wondering why “God” or the nation’s “top oncologists” can’t save them with divine intervention or chemotherapy after they’re a couple decades deep into chronic inflammation and irregular cell division.

Listen folks, stop counting calories and start counting chemicals if you want to get healthy, find your ideal weight, and avoid the “disease” (it’s really a cell disorder, not a disease) that’s crippling and offing every third American.

The number one excuse people have for not regulating and filtering what they eat is that it’s too overwhelming. The number two excuse is that it’s too expensive. Hey, if you want to really be overwhelmed and bankrupt, just try getting cancer and paying the copays for surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and prescription drugs for the rest of your shortened, miserable life.

Here’s a start – filter out the top twenty (and most common) chemicals that are concocted in laboratories, added to typical American foods and beverages, and then labeled as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA.

Top 20 carcinogenic agents that wreck the “search for the cure” for cancer by strangling and mutating your cells

  1. Nitrates and Nitrites (think of hot dogs, bacon, deli meats)
  2. Sodium Benzoate (think of foods in jars and sodas)
  3. Aspartame (think of diet drinks, most chewing gum, mouthwash and breath mints)
  4. Bleach (think whitened foods, like bread, flour, sugar, rice, pasta)
  5. Ammonia (most treated meats, including fish)
  6. Sucralose – an artificial sweetener (think of Splenda) – synthetic, lab-made
  7. FD&C industrial-based food coloring: Yellow, Blue, Red and artificial caramel coloring (think candy, cereal, cough syrup)
  8. Parabens – common in beer, sodas, sauces, jams, dairy products. Parabens are often found present in breast tumors
  9. Phthalates – commonly found in meats and cheeses that are packaged in microwaveable plastic
  10. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – a.k.a. SLS – yes, it’s found in food too (not just personal products); like dried eggs, marshmallows, drink mixes – SLS serves as a thickener or emulsifier
  11. Fluoride (think of tap water, toothpaste, and mouthwash)
  12. Insecticides – most conventional food contains them
  13. Herbicides, especially Roundup (most conventional wheat, vegetables and fruit)
  14. GMOs – genetically modified organisms in food (vaccines and medicine also)
  15. Bisphenol A (BPA) – artificial estrogen, hormone disrupting chemical that leaches from can liners and plastic bottles
  16. Phosphoric Acid (think of sodas)
  17. Hormones in meat and dairy
  18. Hexane (think of hydrogenated oils)
  19. Aluminum (think antacids and tap water)
  20. Gluten (causes constipation, cancerous polyps)

Don’t eat cancer, and you won’t find yourself wondering WHY you got it or HOW to fight it

First things first: You should be shopping only around the perimeter of grocery stores, health food stores and supermarkets. That’s where the live, raw, fresh, organic produce is on display. Second: Realize that most conventional produce is genetically modified to contain pesticides inside, and then sprayed with bug killer and weed killer on the outside, and then doused daily with sodium-fluoride-laden water. That same conventional produce is grown in soil that’s depleted of nutrients by years of toxic chemical fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. Fact: More than 90 percent of U.S. soy, corn, and canola is genetically modified.

Did you know that most meat in America comes from filthy, inhumane, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) where there’s so much infection from E. coli and salmonella that processors have to use bleach and ammonia to kill the bacteria? Then red dye, nitrates and monosodium glutamate are added to “restore” flavor and preserve the carcasses until butchers chop it up and wrap it up and stamp it “for sale” in all the tidy display cases. That’s why pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate, because the pancreas can’t handle all those tissue burning toxins that Americans just keep sucking down, day in and day out.

Follow these rules of thumb when shopping and you’re off to a great start. If it’s made in a lab, don’t eat it. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, put the product back. If the produce belong to the “dirty dozen,” they better be organic. If the meat’s not grass-fed and organic, veer clear. Lastly, avoid stress. Believe it or not, it may just be the number one cause of cancer, even though it’s not a chemical.

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Corporate Control

CBAN – May 2019 – Bayer – an introductory flyer

The markets for genetically engineered (also called genetically modified or GM) crops are dominated by four seed and agrochemical companies. The high level of corporate concentration in the seed market has already meant higher prices, limited choices for farmers, a narrowing of genetic diversity in crops, and stagnating innovation.

Corporate Mergers

Between 2017 and 2018, a series of mergers took place between the largest seed and agrochemical companies in the world:

  • Dow and DuPont merged to form a new company called DowDuPont and its agricultural division is called Corteva Agriscience. Corteva is expected to become a stand-alone company in 2019.
  • China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) bought Syngenta. Syngenta now exists as a subsidiary of ChemChina.
  • Bayer acquired Monsanto for US$63-billion. Monsanto’s name was dropped, and the joint company is now called Bayer.

More mergers and changes continue. For example, the Chinese chemical company SinoChem is expected to acquire ChemChina, to create the world’s largest chemical company.

Canada and other governments had to approve the mergers before they were finalized:

Corporate Concentration

The markets for genetically engineered (also called genetically modified or GM) crops are dominated by four giant seed and agrochemical companies. Before Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018, Monsanto was the world’s largest seed and biotechnology company, and Bayer was the world’s second-largest agrochemical company. Four companies now control 67% of the global seed market and 70% of the global pesticide market.

  • The two largest seed companies, Bayer and Corteva (DowDuPont), now control 54% of the global commercial seed market.
  • The two largest agrochemical companies, Bayer and Syngenta, now control 47% of the global agrochemical market.
  • Bayer, after buying Monsanto, owns 33% of the seed market and 23% of the agrochemical market.
  • ChemChina-Syngenta now owns the largest market share of agrochemicals at 23.5%.
  • DowDuPont’s new agricultural division, Corteva Agriscience, owns 21.3% of the global seed market and 11.3% of the agrochemical market.
  • BASF now owns 12.4% of the agrochemical market, after buying assets from Bayer that Bayer was required to divest in order to purchase Monsanto. BASF now owns Bayer’s glufosinate-ammonium herbicide (brand name “Liberty”) products and the GM “Liberty Link” seeds that are tolerant to it.
  • The company FMC now owns 4.6% of the agrochemical market, after buying the pesticide assets DuPont had to sell in order to get regulatory approval from the European Union for its merger with Dow.

These companies control most of the genetic engineered seeds planted in Canada and around the world:

Of the 33 GM herbicide-tolerant crops approved for growing in Canada that could be on the market (there is no government tracking of plantings): 22 are owned by Bayer, 6 by Corteva (DowDuPont), and 3 by Syngenta (ChemChina).

In 2007, before the new mergers, the six largest seed and agrochemical companies (Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow, Monsanto, and DuPont) accounted for over 98% of all GE crop acres in the world. Monsanto’s GE traits were approximately 85% of the total GE acreage.

Between 1996, when the first GE seeds were introduced, and 2011, the market share of the world’s three largest seed companies more than doubled, from 22% to 53%. The share of the top three agrochemical companies grew from 33% to 52.5% in the same period.

Several of these companies also regularly “cross-license” or share their patented traits with each other, reinforcing their market power. About half of all commercial GM seeds with stacked traits are the result of cross-licensing between companies.

Source: ETC Group

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Can farmers grow money? Video 42 min

DW Documentary – Sept 9, 2019 – Video 42 min

What kind of agriculture do we really want? How sustainable, regional, animal-friendly and expensive can it be? These and other pressing issues are part of a debate about radical agricultural reform of policy currently going on in Brussels.

When negotiations on the common agricultural policy from 2020 are held in Brussels, one of the more contentious issues will be how to redistribute 60 billion Euros in EU agricultural subsidies. How will MEPs prioritize their options? Will they reach independent decisions or cave in to the big agricultural conglomerates and special interest groups? Our exclusive report uncovers their close ties with politicians in both Brussels and Berlin and shows how efforts to make farming more environmentally sustainable are being stymied.

VIDEO 42 MIN

True cost of cheap food is health and climate crises, says commission

The Guardian – Jul 16, 2019 – Damian Carrington

The commission said agriculture produced more than 10% of the UK’s climate-heating gases and was the biggest destroyer of wildlife Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

The true cost of cheap, unhealthy food is a spiralling public health crisis and environmental destruction, according to a high-level commission. It said the UK’s food and farming system must be radically transformed and become sustainable within 10 years.

The commission’s report, which was welcomed by the environment secretary, Michael Gove, concluded that farmers must be enabled to shift from intensive farming to more organic and wildlife friendly production, raising livestock on grass and growing more nuts and pulses. It also said a National Nature Service should be created to give opportunities for young people to work in the countryside and, for example, tackle the climate crisis by planting trees or restoring peatlands.

“Our own health and the health of the land are inextricably intertwined [but] in the last 70 years, this relationship has been broken,” said the report, which was produced by leaders from farming, supermarket and food supply businesses, as well as health and environment groups, and involved conversations with thousands of rural inhabitants.

“Time is now running out. The actions that we take in the next 10 years are critical: to recover and regenerate nature and to restore health and wellbeing to both people and planet,” said the commission, which was convened by the RSA, a group focused on pressing social challenges.

The commission said most farmers thought they could make big changes in five to 10 years if they got the right backing.

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