GE - New publication: The corporate takeover of corn in SE Asia
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- Subject: GE - New publication: The corporate takeover of corn in SE Asia
- From: GRAIN Los Banos <firstname.lastname@example.org>(by way of genetics <email@example.com>)
- Date: Wed, 01 Sep 1999 16:35:01 +0100
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1 Sept. 1999
New publication from BIOTHAI, GRAIN, MASIPAG and PAN-Indonesia
THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF CORN IN SE ASIA
by BIOTHAI, GRAIN, MASIPAG and PAN Indonesia
Multinational companies are heavily promoting genetically modified products
with their promise of increased yields, environmental benefits and food
security in the developing countries. But contrary to the promise of
securing food for all, genetically modified crops are primarily designed to
increase dependency and increase profits for corporate stakeholders. The
introduction of these transgenic crops is just another step in the process
of progressively disempowering farmers, and destroying local markets and
economies. In SE Asia, this is starting with genetically engineered corn.
After rice, corn is perhaps Southeast Asia’s most important crop. For 12
million Filipinos, corn is a staple food. In Indonesia more than 80% of the
crop feeds the country. Yet corn is increasingly being reduced to a feed
crop for the livestock industry, a shift fuelled by the increase in meat and
dairy product consumption and the globalisation of Asian diets.
Adoption of corn hybrids, designed for input intensive, large-scale
monoculture farms, had been slow, given the poor conditions found in many
developing countries. Despite this, renewed efforts from the governments and
the private companies are expected to push more hybrid seeds into farmers’
fields displacing farmers’ varieties. Only a handful of companies control
almost 70% of the hybrid corn seed market in SE Asia. With the acquisition
of Cargill Seeds International and DeKalb by Monsanto, only two companies
Monsanto and Pioneer in effect are in control.
GE corn will boost this process of corporate take-over. Corn is the subject
of more biotech R&D and patent applications than any other crop. Bt corn and
herbicide tolerant corn are already at various stages of testing in
Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. Companies are bent on reaching full
market deployment of GE corn in SE Asian farms by 2001, thereby securing an
important market for their genetically modified products at a time when
opposition is in Europe.
One of the immediate issues facing the region is the importation, testing
and commercial release of transgenic corn. Is it safe? Who will benefit?
What about the alternatives? Many people are starting to get active in the
This paper was researched, written and published as a joint effort between
BIOTHAI, GRAIN, MASIPAG and PAN Indonesia in order to help strengthen
peoples’ understanding of the transformation taking place.
The document can now be downloaded at
Hard copies will be made available shortly. For hard copies and for further
information, please contact:
MASIPAG/Farmer-Scientist Partnership for Development
3346 Aguila St., Rhoda's Subd
Los Banos, Laguna
Fax: (63-49) 536-5526