Film & Discussion: Bitter Seeds
As industrial agriculture spreads around the world, many small-scale farmers are losing their land. Nowhere is the situation more desperate than in India, where every 30 minutes one farmer, deep in debt and unable to provide for his family, commits suicide. It’s an epidemic, which has claimed over a quarter million lives. Following a U.S. complaint to the World Trade Organization, India was coerced into opening its doors to foreign seed companies. Within a few years, large corporations had taken over the country’s seed market, and now only genetically modified (GM) seeds are available in many locations. GM seeds are much more expensive for farmers, and require extensive additional purchases such as insecticides and fertilizers. Although large corporations like Monsanto have prospered, small farmers are deep in debt and unable to support their families. An estimated 80% of farmers are only able to borrow from private money lenders who charge extremely high interest rates, adding to their indebtedness. And to even obtain the loans, farmers often have to use their land as collateral. So many farmers lose their land to corporations like Monsanto.
This film follows a season, from sowing to harvest, in an Indian village where many small farmers are struggling to make a living. The film offers an intimate portrait of the financial, family, and social tolls these GM seeds have had on the farmers. While proponents tout GM crops as the solution to world hunger, this film provides a glimpse into the significant human costs associated with the rise of multinational corporations and GM seeds.
This film is brought to us by California Right to Know – campaigning for the passage of proposition 37 (labeling GM foods sold in California) in our November ballots. Vote YES on Proposition 37 in November!
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