Nepal Pushes Back Against Monsanto’s Hybrid Seeds

Nepal’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is battling the U.S. Agency for International Development and Monsanto, the largest seed company in the world, over the development of a hybrid corn crop intended for planting in the Nepalese regions of Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Kavre.

The issue erupted when USAID made a statement in September that the Nepalese Agriculture Ministry had partnered with Monsanto and USAID to promote the seeds to 20,000 farmers.

Criticisms followed the statement in the form of articles and a nearly 1,500 signatures on a petition and Facebook campaign protesting Monsanto’s intentions.

Nepalese official Hari Dahal, joint secretary at the MoAC stated that they “have no idea why USAID issued the statement saying that the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives was partnering with Monsanto. No agreement has been signed.”

The Kathmandu Post reported that USAID would not directly respond to questions about whether or not they had received support from the Nepal MoAC, and instead directed the paper to the organization’s website’s FAQ page, citing that they would be able to provide more information shortly.

Nepalese activists and anti-GMO protesters claim that USAID has stated it is facilitating Monsanto’s entry into Nepal even despite claims by government officials to the contrary. No formal notice from Nepal’s government stating that they have not entered into a deal with Monsanto and USAID has been released.

The youth community in Nepal has been particularly vocal on the issue and will be conducting a protest at the USAID office on November 25th, 2011.

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Image: IRRI Images