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Why Monsanto in Armenia Should Raise Red Flags for Its Farmers

caution for armenian farmers

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#1 Arshak1946


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Posted 04 November 2017 - 03:18 PM

It is not enought these companies poisoning us now focusing to Armenian farmers so poison Armenian people , Armenia it is not big like USA , in my opinion is Armenian farmers won't need poison , I hope farmers well instructed before take this action.

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#2 onjig



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Posted 04 November 2017 - 03:43 PM

Glyphosate is the principle poison being sold by Monsanto~ It Glyphosate is cheap and dirty~ does not degrade as Monsanto was saying when they first begin marketing it in the Round up formula``` 


While it seem to disappear~ it has combined with minerals in the soil~ But Glyphosate is water soluble so when water is again applied  (rain or irrigation) it leaches from the mineral and eventually reaches the water table~` where it is pumped back to the surface to irrigate or for people to bathe and cook their food in```

Edited by onjig, 04 November 2017 - 03:45 PM.

#3 onjig



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Posted 04 November 2017 - 03:57 PM

Italy expected to vote against EU renewal of glyphosate herbicide

Italy intends to vote against the [European] Commission’s proposal to renew for 10 years the market authorization for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s widely used RoundUp weedkiller, according an official familiar with Rome’s position.

“We are nearing elections and politically the government does not want to pick a fight on such a sensitive dossier where both media and public opinion associate glyphosate with evil,” the official said.

The confirmation of a negative vote from one of the EU’s food industry powerhouses comes days after France declared it also intends to vote against, and less than 10 days before national experts are expected to discuss the Commission’s proposal on October 5 and 6 Paravicini | September 28, 2017 | Politico140131153337-03-gmo-horizontal-large-gal


[During the last meeting of the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed in July] Italy did not give its position on the renewal, nor did other big hitters such as France, Poland and Spain. Germany expressed its support for the extension in July.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded glyphosate was a probable carcinogen. Both the European Food Safety Authority and European Chemicals Agency, however, ruled that it was safe.


NOTE: European Commission’s Standing Committee~ has one it's board employees of Monsanto ~ just as Monsanto has employees appointed in the American government to further it's products ~ this practice is called the "revolving door"~ as these government employees return to work at Monsanto in high level positions```

#4 onjig



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Posted 04 November 2017 - 04:00 PM

French government declares war on pesticides September 25, 2017



Glyphosate is the main component in the best-selling herbicide Roundup produced by the US agro-chemicals giant Monsanto, but there have been concerns it may cause cancer

France is planning to cut back on use of all pesticides, the government said Monday, though it rowed back on an announcement of an outright ban on controversial chemical glyphosate.

Government spokesman Christophe Castaner had said earlier Monday that France—Europe's biggest food producer—intended to phase out glyphosate completely by 2022 over fears that it may cause cancer.

But he later reversed his comments, saying that by the end of President Emmanuel Macron's five-year term "the government is committed to seeing significant progress on all pesticides".

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in one of the world's most widely used weedkillers, Roundup, produced by the US agro-chemicals giant Monsanto.

The European Commission has proposed extending the licence for the use of the chemical for 10 years, which France has said it will vote against and try to block.

France's biggest farming union, the FNSEA, said Monday that it was "out of the question" for the country to go it alone, worrying that a French ban could put them at a disadvantage against European competitors.

"A sudden ban, no—a path for reducing it and finding solutions, if the solutions are good economically and technically, we can see it happening," said FNSEA chief Christiane Lambert.

Europe limited use of glyphosate last year pending further research.

The EU's chemical agency said glyphosate should be not be classified as cancer-causing.

But this is challenged by scientists and environmentalists who point to a finding by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic".

Some 1.3 million people have signed an online petition calling for a ban on the chemical.

1x1.gif Explore further: France to vote against EU renewal of weedkiller

Read more at: https://phys.org/new...killer.html#jCp

#5 onjig



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Posted 05 November 2017 - 01:20 PM



The farms in the Ararat Valley (Photo by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian)


The United States Embassy in Yerevan on Wednesday organized a business conference focused on Armenia’s agriculture sector.

“The goal was to connect Armenian companies involved in the sector with the expertise, products, and technology of well-known U.S. companies Valmont and Monsanto,” said a press announcement from the U.S. Embassy, which also stated that the U.S. companies “sent representatives to the conference to present their products and services and to learn about business opportunities in Armenia. “

Monsanto, the agriculture giant, has become synonymous with GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, and genetically engineered seeds, which alter the natural make-up of seeds to make crops resistant to pesticides and herbicides. Of course, Monsanto also produces the pesticides to which its genetically engineered seeds are immune and encourages—forces—farmers to use its products.

Coincidentally, on the same day that the U.S. Embassy was parading Monsanto representatives in Armenia, The New York Times published a story about how herbicides, some produced by Monsanto, have damaged crops in 25 states—or four-percent of all soybean output in the U.S.—due to unintended wind drifts onto crops that do not use GMOs.

The prospects of companies like Monsanto gaining a footprint in Armenia should raise red flags for farmers in Armenia and the entire agro sector since the eventual cooperation or “investment opportunities” will surely hinge on Armenian farmers being forced to use GMOs, whose long-term health effects on livestock and humans are still being studied.

At face-value, the introduction of GMOs could be deemed beneficial because they make the crops last longer. However, as is the case here in the U.S., the small farms that do not ascribe to the GMO-use model are shortchanged. Instead, Armenia’s government should look at increasing fair competition within the agriculture sector to both diversify production and ensure productivity for its farmers.

Armenia’s Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan’s plan to improve the country’s economy is greatly dependent on investment into the various sectors. These investments, however, must benefit their respective sectors to ensure growth and productivity and not mere cash infusions with short-term benefits or for multinational corporations to introduce their dubious products in a new market.

The mining industry is a great example of how foreign investment not only does not trickle down to the lay citizen but also hinders their health, life and livelihood.

We all want the United States to invest in Armenia and become a conduit for better economic stability in the country. But, companies like Monsanto, whose notorious bullying tactics to force farmers to conform to is corporate aim to monopolize the agriculture sector will hinder the growth of the agriculture industry in Armenia and will have a far reaching impact on the future of the country’s productivity and resources.

Let’s encourage investment in Armenia in a manner that will benefit each and every Armenian citizen and not the select few who make financial inroads at the expense of the population’s welfare and well-being.




The worst thing is that Glyphosate the dirtiest of chemicals will migrate to the water table and causing chemical pollution that can never be fixed```

Edited by onjig, 05 November 2017 - 01:22 PM.

#6 onjig



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Posted 05 November 2017 - 02:07 PM



Scientists have hit back against a Monsanto-linked meme that aims to reassure us about the safety of the controversial weedkiller

Glyphosate, the key ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is less toxic than caffeine and table salt. That’s according to an infographic ‘signed’ with the Twitter name of Monsanto social sciences lead Cami Ryan, which has been doing the rounds among glyphosate supporters on social media.

The infographic shows a variety of substances, including the chocolate ingredient theobromine (“moderately toxic”), vitamin D (“extremely toxic”) and the naturally occurring mould aflatoxin (“super toxic”), which are higher up on the toxicity scale than the “slightly toxic” glyphosate.

The Swedish ecotoxicologist Dr Thomas Backhaus has written a pair of blog articles that show the stupidity and dishonesty of such comparisons. He shows that in order to understand how toxic something is, you need to look at not just acute but also chronic toxicity.

Backhaus points out that:

1. Glyphosate is never used in its pure form – it’s always mixed with additives (adjuvants) that are toxic in their own right. So comparisons based on the pure chemical are meaningless.

2. The toxicity scale is based on the LD50 value of each substance – the concentration that kills half the organisms after short-term exposure to the compound in question. But the LD50 is about acute lethality. The concern with glyphosate herbicides is not how many people will keel over and die from a high short-term exposure (few) but how many will be affected by realistic low doses over a long-term period (potentially many). Particular concerns with glyphosate herbicides are developmental effects and cancer. Cancer does not arise from acute toxicity, but from long-term chronic toxicity. Cami Ryan’s infographic has nothing to say about these crucial endpoints.

That makes the use of a meme about acute toxicity as a way of trying to discredit the WHO’s cancer agency IARC over their evaluation of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen particularly ridiculous.


The LD50 argument was also taken up by the former Monsanto scientist Dr Alison Van Eenennaam in a blog post in which she rants against the pseudoscience used in parts of the GMO discussion.

Commenting on her post, Backhaus writes, “You cannot conclude that a compound has a ‘very low’ long-term toxicity by looking at the concentration that kills exposed animals after acute, short-term exposure. That’s basically like saying ‘Ok, you survived heavy smoking for a day. Great. Should you continue to smoke, I can therefore assure you, that you’re not getting cancer or any other chronic diseases even in 20 years time. And of course, your kids will also be fine.’

“Biology and toxicology simply don’t work that way. And it’s particularly painful to find such a gross mistake in a post that almost joyfully bashes pseudoscience (and rightfully so).”

Backhaus’s point also applies to those Roundup supporters like Kevin Folta who publicly drink Roundup in order to (in his words) “demonstrate harmlessness”. That’s like someone smoking a cigarette to demonstrate that smoking is harmless.

Ignorance or deception?

Dr Doug Gurian-Sherman is an agriculture science and policy consultant who formerly worked at the US EPA performing risk assessments of GM crops and microbes. He recently commented on the LD50 ruse employed by glyphosate defenders: “Risk assessment agencies like EPA, and toxicologists generally, do not define toxicity as only acute toxicity. They consider both acute and chronic toxicity. Typically, they base acceptable dietary exposure of the population on the lowest dose that causes any harm.

“For example, if a lower exposure causes chronic harm (e.g. kidney disease, cancer, or Parkinson's) than acute harm, the lower dose will be used to define the level that people can be exposed to through diet.

“On the other hand, acute toxicity can also be important, depending on the substance, for those who might be exposed to sufficient doses. Most herbicides have relatively low acute human toxicity, and often chronic toxicity is a lot more important.

“Both chronic and acute toxicity need to be taken into account. Those who talk only about acute toxicity either do not understand the subject or are being intentionally deceptive.”

Report: Claire Robinson




#7 Arshak1946


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Posted 05 November 2017 - 02:12 PM

Yes you are right , no one coming forward to stop poison , company lots of money , as far as concern we are swalloving poison every time when eating vegetables , fruits that farmer used to protect is crop.

#8 gamavor


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Posted 05 November 2017 - 03:08 PM

This should be stopped before it is too late. If I had power I would have banned not only Monsanto, but all kinds of pesticides in Armenia. Someone lied Armenians that they might be competitive in agro business by using these poisons. It is false and wrong. The only segment in agro business where Armenian farmers can be competitive is organic production. This is the only segment of agriculture where it is profitable to develop produce production. A country with very small percentage of arable lands of its territory should not jeopardize the whole farming sector by using Monsanto like chemicals.
It just pissed me off when I saw huge green houses being build in the Araratian valley - some of the most fertile lands in Armenia. Green houses normally are build in areas where land conditions are poor. This is done by some crazy oligarch with no brains.
As a side note, Armenia despite limited fertile lands has one of the best fertile soils on the planet for one simple reason. Stones cover large land plots all over the country and once you remove the stones you have real treasure in terms of richness of minerals (due to accumulation of volcanic dust) and quality of the soil. In Armenia you can grow virtually everything, but this requires scientific approach and informed farmers and politicians.

#9 Yervant1


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Posted 08 November 2017 - 02:40 PM

ARMINFO News Agency, Armenia
November 7, 2017 Tuesday

"Monsanto" sells its products in the Armenian market since 2006:
Armenia's authorized structures are unaware

Yerevan November 7

Tatevik Shagunyan. Since 2006, Monsanto has been selling its products
on the Armenian market. This is stated in the explanation of the US
Embassy in Armenia about the public resonance in connection with the
possible entry into the Armenian market of the American GMO giant -
the Monsanto company.

Speaking about the objectives of the recent presentation of Monsanto
and Valmont companies in Armenia, the US Embassy explains that the
event was held in the context of US policy on stimulating US
investments in the Armenian economy. Nevertheless, as the American
diplomatic mission emphasized, the decision on cooperation with these
companies should be made by Armenian farmers and agro-companies.
Meanwhile, the authorized structures of Armenia are completely unaware
of the entry of GMO products into the Armenian market and the
activities of companies engaged in the production and sale of
genetically modified products.

Neither in the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia nor in the State
Security Service for the Supply of Food, they were unable to give a
clear answer to ArmInfo question whether Monsanto is operating on the
Armenian market. In both structures it was only assumed that the
company, if it is represented on the Armenian market, it is most
likely under a different brand.

During our investigation it was also found out that there are no
statistics in Armenia about how many GMO products enter the country's
market, and especially, there are no laboratory tests of these
products for safety. However, in a conversation with the correspondent
of ArmInfo the press secretary of the State Service for Food Safety
Nvard Arakelyan told optimistic news - in 2018 the structure intends
to carry out laboratory analyzes of GMO products entering the Armenian
market as a priority. Earlier in the conversation with the
correspondent of ArmInfo the press secretary of the Ministry of
Agriculture Ani Smbatyan said that after public resonance and
publications in the media, Minister Ignaty Arakelyan instructed to
study the situation connected with the activities of Monsanto in
Armenia. Today she said that information on this matter will be
provided next week.

Nevertheless, Smbatyan stressed that the Ministry is in favor of the
development of organic agriculture in Armenia. "Deputy Minister of
Agriculture of Armenia Armen Harutyunyan also stressed this during a
presentation organized by the US Embassy," she said, however,
stressing that there is no agreement on cooperation between the
Armenian Ministry of Agriculture and Monsanto.

On November 1, by the efforts of the US Embassy in Armenia, a
presentation of the activities of companies and Monsanto took place in

Both companies are well known in the world market: they sell and
service mechanized irrigation equipment, and there are no complaints
about it. The same can not be said about the transnational corporation
Monsanto - this company is engaged in the production of transgenic
seeds and poisons for their processing. And then the temporary charge
d'affaires of the US Embassy in Armenia, Rafik Mansour, marked their
entry into the Armenian market, two years ago Armenia banned the
production of GMOs, but the import of food containing genetically
modified components is allowed in the presence of special markings.
That is, the market as such is not protected from such products, even
if it appears on the shelves with special markings.

However, in an interview with journalists, Alexander Zvyagintsev,
sales manager for Monsanto in the CIS, assured that the company will
not offer Armenian partners to work with genetically modified
products, as they "do not do it in countries where it is prohibited."
But for about 20 years now, the company has been selling seeds in
Armenia and advising farmers. The topic of a possible entry into the
Armenian market of the American GMO giant was not left indifferent by
the soloist of the System of a Down rock-group Serge Tankian who, in
his Facebook page, called on Armenia to "stay away" from the American
company Monsanto. In particular, he wrote: "Because of its policy,
Monsanto has earned a reputation in the United States and Europe for
a" corporation of evil. " Unlike in the USA, in Armenia I have the
opportunity to enjoy the taste of ecologically clean, crispy apples -
a product of long-term agricultural work. Let it go on like this.
"Thanks to Monsanto, I can not find such apples in the US," writes
Tankian. Between those, at the end of September, The Guardian
published an unmasking article that Monsanto had officially spent
lobbying for its interests in the European Parliament about? 300 000-?
400? 000 per year. An internal correspondence was also made public,
where the company's employees discuss ways to better prevent the
normal study of the glyphosate pesticide and its recognition as
dangerous, and correspond with some American officials and scientists
about it. Later it was also discovered that the European organization
EFSA, responsible for product safety, copied its 2015 report on
glyphosate from the Monsanto 2012 authorship report.

#10 Arshak1946


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Posted 08 November 2017 - 03:44 PM

Thank you for your explanation about this matter , my article sounds this going to happen. Maybe I miss read. Thank you.

#11 gamavor


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Posted 08 November 2017 - 04:21 PM

"Meanwhile, the authorized structures of Armenia are completely unaware
of the entry of GMO products into the Armenian market and the
activities of companies engaged in the production and sale of
genetically modified products"


That Armenian politicians are debils is not novelty to me.

#12 Yervant1


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Posted 08 November 2017 - 04:53 PM

Here is another topic about this, posted few years earlier.


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#13 Yervant1


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Posted 09 November 2017 - 09:50 AM

400 W Cummings Park, Suite 3900
Woburn, MA 01801 USA
Tel: (617) 926-TREE
Email: info@armeniatree.org
Web: www.armeniatree.org

November 7, 2017

ATP Issues Statement on Monsanto: Keep Armenia Free of GMOs

In response to news of the US Embassy hosting Monsanto in Yerevan, ATP
founder Carolyn Mugar, director of Farm Aid, a US non-profit that works with
family farmers, invoked the Precautionary Principle: "When an activity
raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary
measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not
fully established scientifically." The first endorsement of the principle
was in 1982 by the United Nations General Assembly. This is a good framework
for science, innovation and public policy which the European Union has
adopted, leading it to largely reject GMO crop production.

The agribusiness event in Yerevan presents Armenians with an opportunity to
talk about the future of Armenia, its food and farming. Who benefits from
bringing this company into Armenia? What are the potential environmental,
agricultural and food effects of GMO production? Here are just a few of the
risks and considerations:

. Monsanto's seeds are a threat to biodiversity and native and organic
crops, because consolidation and corporate ownership of seeds threatens
publicly developed seed, genetic research and farmer innovation and

. Monsanto's pesticides have created superweeds/super pests resulting in
increased use of even more toxic chemicals.

. Farmers have been pushed out of business and off the land by corporations
like Monsanto due to corporate control of seeds, their required applications
of proprietary pesticides and by failure to take responsibility for the
drift of GMO seeds and pesticides. Also, GMO crops do not necessarily
improve yield or farm profitability.

. Consumer trends are toward increased transparency in our food, including
labeling of GMOs. The contamination of the US food supply with glyphosate,
the result of GMO cropping, is now widely known. Armenia's ability to retain
its agricultural heritage as a GMO-free agricultural producer could result
in important market opportunities.

. The long-term safety of utilizing GMO technology has not been fully
evaluated. Hence the framework of the Precautionary Principle is the
appropriate way for Armenia to determine the future of its farming

The issue speaks to the value of Armenia's environment. Worldwide the trend
with Monsanto and GMOs is that the harmful effects on the soil, water and
farm profitability are increasingly exposed.

With your support, ATP is working in the remote villages of Armenia for the
long-term benefit of our people. That's what we stand for. We believe in a
strong Armenia with a healthy ecological and economic infrastructure.

Let's be forward looking. Armenia--with its unique history and
character--can seize the opportunity to be a GMO-free country.

#14 Yervant1


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Posted 09 November 2017 - 02:10 PM

News.am, Armenia
Nov 9 2017
Minister: We are studying activities of Monsanto in Armenia
17:17, 09.11.2017


YEREVAN. – The company Monsanto has been registered and working in Armenia for 20 years. The activities of the company are being examined, Armenian Minister of Agriculture Ignaty Arakelyan told reporters after the government's meeting on November 9.

Asked about the activities of the American company Monsanto, that import GMO seeds in Armenia, he said: “Now we are investigating whether there are any risks in their activity. We must deal with risks not only for agriculture, but overall risks, and we are working the Ministry of Nature Protection. I cannot yet inform about the steps taken. We will tell everything after investigation is over. The fact is that we are not working with this company, they are working on they own,” the minister said, adding, that there is always a danger in using GMO products, so it is necessary to understand the possible risks.

Rafik Mansour, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, recently noted that Monsanto company, which produces GMO seeds, will be entering the market of Armenia. Subsequently, concerns were raised that this may be risky for the country’s population.

The well-known musician Serj Tankian also urged people to stay away from Monsanto products.

US embassy on Monsanto: Decision on which products to use is up to Armenia’s farmers


#15 Yervant1


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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:48 AM

It’s Pitchforks and Torches Time


Garen Yegparian


The father of “Frankenfoods”* is feeling out the farms of Armenia! The pitchforks and torches, at least figuratively, must be prepared. Much like in the old black-and-white horror movies when the Frankenstein monster is being chased by the villagers, Monsanto should be hounded out of Armenia before it can cause the kind of economic and environmental damage it has heaped on American farmlands.

Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, just doing its job, announced  that Monsanto and Valmont had participated in a program which was meant introduce and connect them to Armenia’s agricultural sector. To read it is to think these two huge companies will be able to restore the Garden of Eden to Armenia! Meanwhile the frightful reality is very much the opposite.

First, let’s dispense with Valmont. Judging by their website, they are an equipment and machinery firm. In the agriculture sector, they seem to focus on irrigation. It may be that they are a relatively benign company. I do not know and have not heard of them previously. But, they also provide equipment for mining, which rings some alarm bells given the rampant environmentally destructive mining that is ravaging parts of the Republic of Armenia’s (RoA) relatively pristine regions. Maybe Valmont wants to get a foot in RoA’s economic door through agriculture then expand to mining. Given the constraints of a publication deadline, I could not dig deeper into this aspect, but it deserves to be researched.

Next, Monsanto,  described as a company “everyone loves to hate” because of its hideous corporate practices. A few decades ago, Monsanto shifted gears and went from being a primarily chemical company to an agricultural seed and “pesticides” company. I will use the word pesticide generically, since Monsanto is using it that way, to describe anything that is used to fight things that can harm crops and crop yields, even though the main concern at this point is herbicides – poisonous chemicals that kills undesirable plants, i.e. weeds, which have been the bane of farmers since humans first started planting and reaping. Along the way, Monsanto has been buying up smaller competitors so that now it controls effective-monopoly-level percentages of the seed sold for some major crops.


The farms in the Ararat Valley (Photo by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian)

Here’s what Monsanto is known for doing and why introducing those practices to the RoA would be a disaster.

Seeds are engineered, genetically modified (please see sidebar “What Is a GMO”), to have certain traits, and patented (something which was not allowed until a 1980 Supreme Court decision enabled it). In this case, the trait is resistance to pesticide, most famously, glyphosate (sold as “Roundup”). The seeds are then sold to farmers who like the advantage of not having to weed their fields and later, after harvest, till the soil to bury the dead plants. But, Monsanto makes the farmers agree that they will NOT save seeds from their crops to plant the next year. Imagine! A fundamental practice in farming, keeping some part of the crop to plant next year’s crop, is forbidden! This way, Monsanto has the farmers by the throat since they have to buy its seeds year after year. The farmers go about their business and apply the glyphosate.

But, there’s something called wind on this planet. It causes some of the pesticide to blow over to the next-door farmer who is not using “roundup-ready” seeds. What happens? Given how potent glyphosate is, the neighbors plants suffer or die, harming that farmer’s yield and profits. Also, pollen gets blown around and the neighboring farm’s plants receive some of the Monsanto-patented-pollen. The neighbor can’t tell this has happened (no one can just by looking, the seeds have to be tested) and saves seed to plant the next year.

Monsanto hires private investigators and tracks farmers it suspects might be cheating on their contracts. Or, it gets seed from its non-customers to check if they have somehow gotten some of its patented product. Legitimately, if a farmer who signed a contract with Monsanto, the company should expect compliance with its conditions. But why should the neighbor, whose seeds have been adulterated through no action or fault of her/his own, be expected to comply with Monsanto’s conditions? Instead of Monsanto being found at fault for “infecting” the neighbor’s crops, I recall (it has been some years and this may have changed) that courts found the neighbor had to comply with Monsanto’s predatory practices! Monsanto has taken hundreds of small farmers to court annually in this way.

Now let’s move on to glyphosate/Roundup itself. It is extremely toxic and must be applied under specified conditions. Yet, people use it on their extensively lawns and government agencies on public lands. Fortunately, some localities have started banning it. In my awareness, the City of Irvine has banned its use, as has Burbank’s School district, with the City of Burbank now having discussions about banning it.

It’s not just glyphosate. Dicamba, another pesticide sold by Monsanto (and others) has damaged some 3.6 million acres of soybeans in the U.S. this year – that’s 4% of the crop. It turns out Dicamba volatilizes (evaporates) fairly readily, so it spreads to unintended locations. Another, new, Monsanto product, NemaStrike, designed to kills worms, was set to go to market in 2018. But, because of extensive reports of skin rashes, it has been put on hold, with Monsanto blaming farmers for mishandling it. Why should something that is going into our food supply be so risky to use?

Let’s forget about whether the genetically modified seeds that Monsanto is likely to sell to Armenian farmers will have any health effects, since the effects of “weird” (see the sidebar again) GMOs on humans is not yet settled science. Do we want Monsanto’s practices foisted on RoA’s farmers? They are already hurting from a scam from a few years ago (another example of corruption there) which gave many of them low-quality seeds passed off as high-quality Russian seeds at a correspondingly high price. Many of them lost their land and livelihood as a result.

Do we want one struggling Armenian farmer inadvertently killing off an equally-strapped neighbor’s crops?

Do want our villagers being dragged into Armenia’s notoriously unjust courts by a behemoth such as Monsanto whose on-site henchmen are likely to buy off the relevant authorities?

Do we want our homeland’s reputation as a source of clean, organic, foodstuffs sullied by the presence of a toxics-based form of agriculture?

Yerevan should be approaching institutions such as Holland’s Wageningen University & Research described in the September 2017 issue of National Geographic. Since World War II, the Dutch have managed to achieve huge increases in crop yields through technological innovations while using as much as 97% less toxic substances.

Already, reactions to this potential toxic invasion of our homeland with its attendant economically and socially disruptive aftereffects have elicited a strong response both from the Diaspora and the homeland. It’s interesting that just three days after its original press release, the American Embassy in Armenia is quoted by the news.am website as stating, “Monsanto products have been sold in Armenia since 2006…” I did some poking around, and as of this writing, no one seems to know what these products are. The Embassy also said, “The decision on which products and services to use, if any, is ultimately up to Armenia’s farmers and agribusinesses.”

Right… once the pressure is on and the snowball effect of neighbors’ use of toxics forcing others to use Monsanto’s seeds picks up momentum, no family farmer will be able to resist the pressure to relent and use Monsanto’s poisons.

Speak out forcefully against the invasion of our homeland by Monsanto. Clearly, the heat is on, judging by the Embassy’s hedging, and that’s a good thing! Our lobbying groups should take a stand, perhaps cooperating with the numerous organizations that are fighting these battles. Let’s not allow our compatriots to, effectively, become Monsanto’s serfs barely more than a century after they were freed from such servitude to Kurdish and Turkish local chieftains.

In Armenia, the next time Monsanto shows up, demonstrations featuring pitchforks and torches should be organized!

*Frankenfoods is a term used to describe foodstuffs made with genetically modified plants and animals whose safety is suspect to many observers.


What Is a GMO?

Since GMO is a term that is inseparable from Monsanto, I thought it deserved to be defined to help with grasping the points made in my article this week.

As I understand it, GMOs – genetically modified organisms — come in three categories which I’ll name traditional, accelerated, and weird.

A “traditional” GMO is nothing more than the product of selective breeding. Humans have been doing this since we began farming. By saving the seed of the biggest apple, or sweetest grape, or the most drought tolerant wheat, over time we bred the varieties of plants that best suit our needs. We’ve done the same with animals. Cows, dogs, and horses are great examples of the same process. Think of cows that are best for milking rather than barbecuing, dogs that are best for hunting rather than shepherding, and horses that pull plows rather than win races. Effectively what we have done is to modify the genetic makeup of these organisms over time to suit our needs.

The “accelerated” GMO is essentially the same as the traditional, except that we leap-frog over the generations of breeding by modifying the genetic makeup of the organism directly. We can do this nowadays because in many cases we know which gene does what. In the above examples, we would need to know which gene enlarges the apple, sweetens the grape, and protects the wheat. We’re not quite that far along in fiddling with animals genes, but we’re not far (though I may be behind the times on this point).

The “weird” GMO is just that. This is where someone may decide to put a bird gene in a soybean plant (I am making this combination up) to get a certain desired result in the soybean that is “better” in some way. Or, corn seeds might be modified in such a way that they are resistant to herbicides that would otherwise kill them.




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