Monsanto brings on the dancing girls (1/8/2005)

1. Bring on the dancing girls
2. Letter from the Sarpanch of village Gumti Khurd (Sewewala)

1. Bring on the dancing girls

The biotech industry and its supporters like to present it as a science-based industry whose reputation has suffered only because its scientifically validated claims have been undermined by emotional appeals and disinformation campaigns.

In fact, the reverse is the case. And nowhere can that be seen more clearly than in India, where Monsanto has been using every trick in the book to promote its GM cotton seeds while a whole series of scientific studies have documented the failure of its Bt cotton.

In the most recently published study, government scientists at India's premier cotton research institute have shown that Bt cotton doesn't have the necessary toxicity to kill the bollworms it supposedly targets.

But, unabashed by what science has been disclosing, Monsanto's Indian subsidiary Monsanto-Mahyco has been busy hyping GM seeds to India's poor farmers as magical, as celebrity-endorsed and even, it now seems, as sexy!

For its promotional work this spring in the Punjab, where GM cotton varieties have recently been approved for the first time, the company hired Bollywood star Nana Patekar to give glamour to its products. It also made use of Guru Nanak in its sales pitch to the state's Sikh farmers in order to try and give its seeds a miraculous aura. And now, as can be seen from the report below, it has emerged that the company even resorted to using dancing girls in its promotional tours of Punjabi villages.

There's a striking contrast between the lavish nature of Monsanto's brash promotional campaigns in India and its flat refusal to pay any compensation to the farmers who have suffered often terrible losses as a result of cultivating its seeds.

That refusal to pay compensation for the harm it has done has already led the government in Andhra Pradesh to ban Monsanto from the state.

2. Translation of the letter from the Sarpanch of village Gumti Khurd (Sewewala)
Block – Kotkapura (Faridkot)

I Sakattar Singh Barar, Sarpanch s/o S. Bhag Singh Barar, village-Gumti Khurd (Sewewala), block- Kotkapura, district- Faridkot want to give this information that on 12th March 2005 a vehicle of Monsanto/Mahyco company was announcing on the public address system in the streets of the village about the new varieties of BTcotton. On hearing these announcements I also went to the common place, the Sath (or Chaupal) along with, and like other farmers. The said company was addressing the farmers about the new varieties of BT cotton. They also brought dancer girls along with them. They started the music and the girls danced to the tunes. They gave detailed information about the BTcotton seed. When asked that from where the seeds can be purchased, the officials of the company gave the address of a dealer at Jaitu. After this the vehicle moved to the next village.

This above incident had happened before me and the information given by me is correct and true.

With Thanks,
Yours faithfully
Village-Gumti Khurd (Sewewala)
Signature of Sakattar Singh in English
Official stamp of GRAM PANCHAYAT

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