Posted on June 15, 2010 - by

The Fight Against Monsanto in Haiti

On June 4th, 10,000 peasant farmers gathered in protest in Haiti to burn over 400 tons of hybrid corn and vegetable seeds donated to the country by Monsanto.  This was a hugely symbolic gesture and one that the rest of the world needs to listen to. Haiti is asking for our help in establishing a local, sustainable food system from the rubble that the country currently lies in.  This is our opportunity to raise our voices in protest against Monsanto’s involvement in the fragile beginnings of true food sovereignty in Haiti.

This past Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend a Brooklyn church’s community meeting I heard peasant farmer Leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) share the concerns of Haitian peasants regarding Monsanto’s donation hybrid seeds.  I was greatly moved by his words and I want to share them with you. Below are the highlights from his speech.  Please note that the quotes are not exact as Jean-Baptiste was speaking in Creole and his words were translated into English.

  • Hybrid seeds are a poison gift.  They don’t reproduce, and therefore cannot be shared among a community.  Haiti does not yet view seeds as a commodity like the US does.  These hybrid seeds threaten the cultural fabric in Haiti because they break the cycle of food sharing.
  • Jean-Baptiste believes that Monsanto has taken the opportunity of the recent earthquake in Haiti to intentionally introduce the seeds and destroy Haitian agriculture, creating a dependency on Monsanto each season for new seeds.
  • If the Haitian government accepts Monsanto’s seeds, rather than trying to build a system of food sovereignty, the Haitian farmer will become a day laborer, working for industrial farms.  This would completely transform the economy to an industrial system instead of working to support farmers through a local economic system.
  • “We are an occupied country and want to recover our freedom, starting with food sovereignty.  The struggle against Monsanto is not a small thing – they are extremely powerful.  We need to unite ourselves – this is a global struggle.”
  • “Haiti is essentially road kill, and not even road kill that can serve as proper food.  We are at the point that the dogs and vultures are tearing us apart.  Companies like Monsanto are devouring what is left of us at this point.”
  • “This is a country that is used to struggle.  We will fight and have the capacity for resistance, particularly when the threat is to the very fabric of our country.  A large population of Haitians do not yet understand the implications of the relationship with Monsanto, many have never heard of the company before.   The first task is to educate. “

I received a handout at this event that I can’t seem to find online that has a number of important and informative facts regarding Monsanto and Haiti.  I’ve scanned it and made it available – you can VIEW HERE.

There were also three letters that we were asked to sign.  Please feel free to download, sign and send.

Thank you for listening, eat safe!

Lisa Madison
FRESH Distribution & Outreach Coordinator

photo from Ian Hayhurst on Flickr

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9 Comments

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  1. Visit My Website

    June 15, 2010

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    Susan Thompson said:

    Mansanto has already taken over the food industry of the USA. Please do not let it take over another country so steeped in culture!



  2. Visit My Website

    June 16, 2010

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    Scott G said:

    Has anyone set up a bank for OP seed for Haiti? Aren’t the seed vaults for disasters such as this?



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    June 16, 2010

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    Stephanie Prink said:

    It is a sad day when Monsanto will use a disaster as an opportunity to profit from the poor and destroy their agricultural economy by introducing an unhealthy and unnatural product in an attempt to take over their food supply.



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    June 16, 2010

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    kevin said:

    like the Presidents Cheif of Staff said ”’ never let a good disaster go to waste ”” i think it is a disaster to let this seed giant control all the seeds … they have gov. in there back pocket seeing how this seed is allowed to be used … insane and greedy … they make chaos so they can control and the Haitians people are brave people to say no we do not want this sterile seed thanks but no thanks …. time to wake up!!!! peace and may The Great Mystery watch over us !!!!



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    June 18, 2010

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    Renee said:

    So are you starting a petition?



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    June 26, 2010

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    Johanna Burke said:

    I am from and still live in Germany but my ex-husband is from Iowa. Monsanto sold its pestizides Lasso and Roundup to farmers in Iowa. My husband and his family ate that food. His sisters died from breast cancer, his dad from prostate cancer. 3 of our children died from toxemia and we were divorced. None of us realised that we were slowly poisoned. All of these problems can be traced back to pesticides. Iowa’s soil is loosing its fertility, and the rivers and Gulf of Mexico turn into Dead Zones, nothing alive in it (and that was before the oil spill.) Thank you Monsanto.
    Asia(I guess it was Indonesia) had it´s bad experiences with Monsanto, too. When the hybrid crops could not be used as seed for the next year, farmers went into debt, lost their farms and there was a suicide wave. After that the farmers in Indonesia have thrown Monsanto out of the country. Now they start growing genetically altered corn in Germany, a town next to us. Genetically altered corn plants can take a lot more of the Roundup pesticide. But we and our children can not!!! One in three children in Germany dies during the pregnancy. Toxemia has no natural cause. If all those children survived, we would not have a declining birthrate.

    A much better way to furtilise the soil seems to be “terra plata” (or prata?)(I hope I spelled it right. The indians around the amazonas river used it for hundreds of years. They threw charcoal onto the fields and it kept the biomass in the ground. It wasn’t washed out with the rain. They didn’t have to refurtilise for hundreds of years. They got five corns for every corn they planted, while European fields brought 3 / 1.
    And this did not make the people sick and infurtile. I saw this in a tv report a few days ago.

    Monsanto definitely should not be your first choice. For more information on pestizides read Rachel Carsons book “The silent spring”.



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    June 27, 2010

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    Aphrodite said:

    Kudos to the Haitians to know a GMO seed when they see one! Bravo!! Unlike many other countries that Monsanto has defiled!



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    August 8, 2010

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    Will Cardinal said:

    Monsanto seems to survive like a weed, in spite of all the law suits, the bad press, and their obvious lack of concern for anything but money! Where is the Christian voice in all of this? Aren’t Christians morally offended by the Godless work of the gene modifiers? Of all the evils in this world, genetic splicing has to be the most offensive! It suggests that man knows more than his own creator and endangers all of creation with greedy science!



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    August 8, 2010

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    Will Cardinal said:

    Many thanks to the Haitian people for their common sense! Without the “help” of a sophisticated society, they seem to know the difference between right action and complacency! When will we learn from their example? No matter what, gmo’s are worse than just a bad choice, they are a threat to our safety! We can no longer eat corn safely, nothing made with corn, including corn starch and syrup! That’s just one mistake we’ve allowed to occur, from Mexico to Northern Canada