I actually like her, aside from the wooish stuff she believes. No, GMOs are not dangerous, but western companies, yes, mainly Monsanto, have a monopoly over seeds in India, and farmers aren't allowed to choose what to plant and aren't allowed to save their seeds. I don't get why rejecting pseudoscience has to be so connected with supporting free market capitalism.
Contractual arrangements are a legal matter, not a scientific matter. Her premise isn't about Monsanto's deals with governments or agricultural departments, but with the science. And on that point she has no basis for her statement.
She talks about the legal and social ramifications and all of that quite a bit. I agree with her on those things, just not that GMO technology is bad.
Anecdotes are not evidence. I'm sure Vandana Shiva means well, but it would be nice to know if she knows what she means.
"She talks about the legal and social ramifications and all of that quite a bit."
And she often gets the legal and social details wrong: There was no massive increase in farmer suicides (they have a lower suicide rate than the population as a whole). Farmers sign contracts that are no more onerous than a software license or the Apple store's.
Why those farmers can not return to non-GMOs if they want to save their seeds?
"Why those farmers can not return to non-GMOs if they want to save their seeds?"
They couldn't before GMO's were on the market. It has to do with hybrid strains and Mendelian genetics - what winds up happening is that you have a bunch of traits which are the result of heterozygous allele pairings - science talk for a combination of two versions of the same gene, sometimes more. When you permit the hybrid seeds to reproduce offspring, you don't get the same product quality. If you keep more of your seeds from last year instead of setting some of the crop aside to keep the seeds, you make more in the long run, but if you have any reduction in quality, it can actually be pinned on this year's seed stock instead of the seeds you saved.
Alright that explains why they can not save GMO seeds, but what I would like to know is, why the farmers who want to save their seeds, but can not do it with GMOs, don't revert back to non-GMOs? Then they could save their seeds again.
"Alright that explains why they can not save GMO seeds, but what I would like to know is, why the farmers who want to save their seeds, but can not do it with GMOs, don't revert back to non-GMOs? Then they could save their seeds again."
You didn't pay attention to anything I wrote, otherwise you'd have noticed where I wrote that such a policy was in place before you could even get GMO's. Let me put it another way: The strains of corn farmers grow for example, are the specific result of very specific cross-breeding - when the strain you have makes seeds, those traits are going to be mixed up in such a way that you won't get the same quality of traits - the problem isn't reversed by going back to non-GMO's, its a problem endemic to plant breeding. By going back to non-GM varieties, you're NOT making that problem go away, you're just making your job that much harder.
They couldn't save their seeds 40 years ago, you can't now.
I'm sorry I did pay attention, I didn't get the first sentence though. I should have try harder.
Anyway, in such case, it is misleading to say " western companies, yes, mainly Monsanto, have a monopoly over seeds in India, and farmers aren't allowed to choose what to plant and aren't allowed to save their seeds " It makes it sound like otherwise they'd be free to choose. 40 years ago Monsanto surely didn't have monopoly in India.
The hybrid corn varieties are often from parent strains that are unimpressive... until crossed with another equally unimpressive parent strain. Saving seed will result in a next crop that is mostly unimpressive.
You can save seed if you are planting the so-called "heritage" and "open pollinated" strains and they will breed true.
Unfortunately, they aren't as high yielding as the carefully constructed licensed hybrids, and don't have the pesticide and insect resistance of the licensed GMO strains (which may also be F1Hybrids).
So you save money because you aren't buying seed BUT you have to harvest, clean and store your own seed with the risk of damage in storage to fungus or insects, and have to apply more chemicals during growing season. All that for less yield.
Sounds like a logical decision to anyone but a farmer.