26 May 2011

Why is India's Department of Biotechnology funding Monsanto's GMO development?

For the life of me, I can't think of a good reason why the public sector Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is funding 2 GMO development projects by Mahyco (26% owned by Monsanto) to the tune of Rs 2 crores each.

Then again, why does a company whose revenue in 2009-10 crossed Rs 220 crores require this funding? Well, the reason is that the funding also comes with knowledge transfer!

Under the Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP) Monsanto - er, Mahyco can access the "the vast expertise on rice available with the public sector research institutions". This expertise has been built up over several decades of partnership with farmers, and paid for by Indian taxpayers.

But who owns the technology that Monsanto develops using this expertise? Well, Monsanto, of course. The Indian public will manage to get back the paltry fund amount in the form of a 5% "royalty"! Now that's a really fine deal for the country.

And Monsanto isn't the only beneficiary.

Here's how the "partnership" has panned out for the Indian farming community so far...

And for a glimpse of the future, let's hear it from people who really know the "benefits" of dealing with Monsanto...

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