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Choice seeds

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April 22, 2012 by csukach

By Chris Sukach

As farmers and gardeners settle into springtime in the Northern Hemisphere, they’re faced with decisions about what to plant.

And while those decisions will most likely include choices of flowers or vegetables, cereal grains or grasses, heirloom or hybrid varieties, folks may not readily think about whether the seeds they’re planting have been genetically modified or chemically treated before they’ve reached the packet.

Commercial seed providers like Monsanto and DuPont modify seeds for a variety of reasons.

Chief Technology Officer of Monsanto Vegetable Seeds Marlin Edwards says in the Monsanto video below, “This technology can help us in breeding for improvements in vegetables—improvements in quality, flavor, sweetness, nutrition, as well as improvements for growers—disease resistance and tolerance of the crop to stress.”

“Vegetable growers often have the difficulty of diseases that plague their production.  We’re working on a couple of examples of ways that we can mitigate that concern for them and provide them a better solution for their production and practice,” explains Edwards.

While genetically modified seeds may provide more disease-resistant plants for growers, organic farmers and gardeners see these seeds, and the market dominance of the companies who produce them, as a threat to their livelihoods.

Members of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association say they’re challenging Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed.

“Organic farmers have the right to raise our organic crops for our families and our customers on our farms without the threat of invasion by Monsanto’s genetic contamination and without harassment by a reckless polluter,” says Jim Gerritsen, president of OSGTA.

Members of the Occupy movement also protested against those who make genetically modified seeds.

In this PressTV video below, one Occupy protestor explains his dislike for genetically modified seeds.

“They have done four-generation studies on hamsters, and after eating GMOs for four generations, all the hamsters go sterile, their teeth grow out of their jaws and their jaws lock shut,” the protestor says.

Still, it doesn’t seem markets are reflecting protestors’ concerns as DuPont’s net income rose 4 percent to $1.49 billion this past quarter, according to a Bloomberg report.


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