Posts Tagged ‘Syngenta’


The most recent estimate of the global economic benefit of pollination amounts to some €265bn, assessed as the value of crops dependent on natural pollination. This is not a “real” value of course, as it hides the fact that, should natural pollination be severely compromised or end, it might prove impossible to replace – effectively making its true value infinitely high.

Bees and other pollinating insects play an essential role in ecosystems and the world could not survive a total bee collapse. But over the past decade, beekeepers worldwide have consistently reported a decline in bees with yearly bee colony losses of 20-50%

In a world without bees who would pollinate our essential crop and wild plants? Most plants and a third of our food depends on pollination by bees.

The bee collapse is a challenge to mankind on the scale of global warming, ocean acidification or nuclear devastation.

helpsCast your vote

Clicking the link below will take you to the SlowFood.com website where you can read more about the Public Eye Awards, the competition that puts the spotlight on corporations with a dismal record of social and environmental responsibility. Online voting started on November 26.

Commonly referred to as “The Awards of Shame”, the initiative was launched by Greenpeace International and the Berne Declaration to highlight irresponsible business practices and provide a platform to publicly criticize cases of human and labour rights violations, environmental destruction or corruption.

Among the nominations for this year’s award, submitted by various NGOs, are Syngenta, Bayer, and BASF, producers of those chemical pesticides known to pose the most serious threat to the existence of pollinators.

The Public Eye Awards are deliberately set to coincide with the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to provide a critical counterpoint to the annual meeting in Davos: Many CEOs of nominated companies are present at the WEF. Previous winners of the People’s Award include Shell in 2013 and Nestle Oil in 2012.

The Award of Shame: Vote to Save the Bees! | Focus on | Slow Europe – Our Idea of Europe.


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Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.

The well-publicized problems in the US where the battle seems as good as lost can tend to overshadow the fact that potentially this is a worldwide catastrophe waiting to happen. Fortunately the picture in Europe is less clear cut.

Meanwhile those nice people at Bayer and Syngenta, aided and supported by British environment minister Owen Patterson are suing the European Commission in an effort to overturn the temporary ban on a small part of the arsenal of death-dealing chemicals that saturate European farmland.

Corporate lobbyists and other interested parties use a familiar line in obfuscation when explaining away the obvious connection between wholesale chemical application and the decimation of the pollinators our food supply depends on. But despite what they would have us believe there is no “mystery” as to why bee colonies around the world appear to be in a state of terminal decline.

Independent scientific research, that is research not funded by chemical companies, appropriated by agribusiness, or under the thumb of the British government has consistently found that the exposure of pollinators to cocktails of chemicals, (in some cases traces of as many as 35 different pesticides have been found in toxic pollen) is a crucial contributing factor in their decline.

Such independent research is also opening up a huge can of worms by exposing the relationship between the chemicals without which mainstream agriculture can barely function, and the looming calamity of pollinator decline. Neonicotinoids, those notorious pesticides now banned by the European Commission are just the tip of the iceberg it seems.

See also:

Treehugger:  Scientists discover another cause of bee deaths, and it’s really bad news 

Guardian article April 2013:  Insecticide firms in secret bid to stop ban that could save bees

European Food Safety Authority report published 21 November 2013: EFSA’s 18th Scientific Colloquium on Towards holistic approaches to the risk assessment of multiple stressors in bees


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Using a litany of lame and hackneyed justifications British Environment Minister Owen Paterson gave the GM industry a big boost yesterday by stating that the UK was prepared to “lead the World” in implementing a more relaxed regulatory framework for GM experimentation. Clearly, following the recent G8 summit US corporations and politicians have decided that what’s needed in Europe is a compliant mouthpiece to act  in their stead.

The statement elicited a number of reactions from some wiser heads and even a stinging rebuttal from Joanna Blythman in the Daily Mail, no less. Below are a few highlights:

salogo“Owen Paterson’s GM dream will make it harder to feed the world. The British Government constantly claim that GM crops are just one tool in the toolbox for the future of farming. In fact GM is the cuckoo in the nest. It drives out and destroys the systems that international scientists agree we need to feed the world. We need farming that helps poorer African and Asian farmers produce food, not farming that helps Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto produce profits.”

~ Peter Melchett, Soil Association Policy Director

new_friendsoftheearth_logo“Paterson remains blinkered by the unfulfilled promises of GM crops. GM technologies have consistently under-performed, despite claims from the biotech industry. Where GM crops have been planted they are locking farmers into buying inputs and costly seed, while encouraging resistant weeds and insects and not delivering the increased yields as promised. The main causes of hunger – poverty and global inequalities in the distribution of food cannot be resolved by GM crops,”

~ Mike Childs, Friends of the Earth

gw_logo“Paterson appears to [ignore] any science not peddled by big corporations. Only industry-funded research shows any benefits from GM crops, which do not increase yields and are having harmful effects on the environment in North and South America,”

 ~ Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch UK

greenpeace_logo“Paterson should be asking what works rather than blindly following agribusiness propaganda. The international consortium of research centres …. has used non-GM techniques to produce dozens of varieties of drought-tolerant maize, increasing African farmers’ yields by 20 to 30%. A host of other successes include blight-resistant potatoes and crops enriched with vitamin A, iron and other essential nutrients.” 

Doug Parr, chief scientist, Greenpeace UK


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Need to Know

At the demo against Monsanto and genetic engineering in agriculture in Amsterdam last Saturday there was much talk about the product Roundup, a nasty potion easily available in a gaily coloured bottle at a garden centre or DIY store near you. However, in the world of agribusiness and chemical herbicides Roundup is yesterday’s news. No longer capable of keeping rapidly evolving superweeds under control on US farmland (superweeds evolve after a weed population has been subjected to intense selection pressure in the form of repeated use of a single herbicide), Roundup has been shifted firmly down the chain of supply and demand into the home and garden market. Meanwhile the clever people at Monsanto have moved to the next level in their never-ending War against Weeds.

The new kid in town is a charming concoction that goes by a variety of aliases such as Banvel, Oracle,Vanquish, and Xtend, but is actually the herbicide Dicamba.

Defoliant spray run, part of Operation Ranch H...

Defoliant spray run, part of Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War by UC-123B Provider aircraft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Final Solution

Although marketed as a shiny new “solution” according to the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS), “Dicamba is actually an old herbicide that served alongside “Agent Orange” in Vietnam, and has been resurrected as an environmentally friendly chemical through the magic of public relations.” It is similar in structure and mode to 2,4-D, a major component of Agent Orange, and has the highest soil mobility of over 40 evaluated herbicides, a process which leads inevitably to increased water contamination. Dicamba can also drift for miles and has caused millions of dollars worth of damage to Midwestern growers who have suffered crop losses due to herbicide drift onto their farms.

In the tried and tested manner Monsanto has developed a range of crops genetically modified to resist the Dicamba assault, the most threatening of which is probably Monsanto’s Dicamba Soybean. Other crops include Dow’s 2,4-D Corn and 2,4-D Soybean, and the non-browning “Arctic Apple.”

There are currently 13 new GE crops pending USDA approval.

The short video below graphically illustrates one farmer’s experience of dealing with Dicamba

Brothers in Arms

If you think that these are problems specific to American farmers, think again. Monsanto and its brothers in arms, Syngenta, Dow Chemical, Bayer and many others are desperate to sell this garbage all over the world, to Africa, Latin America, India, and especially to China.

Now if only those pesky Europeans would just lay down and roll over!

See for Yourself

One final thought about Roundup. You might want to check out this scientific study, first published in 2003 and available on the Science Direct website on the effects of Roundup and other glyphosate based products on cell-cycle disregulation in humans (and other living things): Glyphosate-based pesticides affect cell cycle regulation

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