If you thought the world couldn´t get any crazier, news this week that a Monsanto executive is to receive the World Food Prize for its services to agriculture might make you think again.
Robert T Fraley, Executive Vice President of Monsanto, along with Mary Dell Chilton, founder of biotech giant Syngenta, have been announced as this year´s winners for the prestigious food prize, which has a $250,000 reward. Fraley, who has been with Monsanto throughout much of its dark history, is being lauded for his invention of GMOs, while Chilton is applauded for spending “the last three decades overseeing the implementation of the new technology she developed and further improving it to be used in the introduction of new and novel genes into plants.”
Great work Mary, I´m sure your grandkids will be proud.
This has to be a joke, right? Just like when Obama won the Peace Prize, upon reading this article I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn´t April Fool´s day. The accolades are set to be given to these cretinous executives on World Food Day, October 16. If this insane plan goes ahead without a public backlash, we will be rewarding CEOs who have systematically:
Monopolized our food and driven millions of farmers intopoverty
Designed dangerous artificial growth hormones for dairy cows
Created franken-seeds and prohibited investigation into their long-term effects
Patented food in a sickening attempt to own nature itself (Hey, Monsanto! I grow my own broccoli, what you gonna do about it?)
Enforcing these patents by suing and threatening smallholders and family farmers who violate Monsanto´s iron rule
Caused mass suicide among millions of farmers whose GM crops fail
Invented pesticides that kill bees and endangered other wildlife
And later had the audacity to launch legal action against the European Union after it finally banned bee-killing pesticides in May this year.
And so on, to infinity and beyond. We could be here all day (soya, roundup, cotton, aspartame, take your pick of the rest…)
Apparently, the prize “emphasizes the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people”. So why, World Food Prize people, why? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that Monsanto paid them a $5 million bribe- sorry, donation- back in 2008 to win legitimacy they could never have found otherwise.
The good news is that 81 councilors of the World Future Council have reacted in anger to the prizewinner announcement, rightly accusing the World Food Prize foundation of betraying its purpose. As they state in their official complaint, “GMO seeds reinforce a model of farming that undermines sustainability of cash-poor farmers, who make up most of the world’s hungry…The most dramatic impact of such dependency is in India, where 270,000 farmers, many trapped in debt for buying seeds and chemicals, committed suicide between 1995 and 2012.”
We have until October 16 to fight back. Please sign this petition and spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you use. The growing public backlash against Monsanto is strong, and with the support of the World Future Council, we can use this insane decision to say enough is enough. Let´s make it clear to the World Food Prize panel that rewarding the horrendous practices of these giant corporations is a threat to its reputation and integrity. You can also tell Bayer and Syngenta to stop their shameless legal action against the E.U´s bee pesticide ban here.
Sophie is a staff writer for True Activist and specializes in social justice. You can read more of her stuff here