Food and Farming: Two Futures

Food and Farming: Two Futures | farm | Agriculture & Farming Environment

By: Dr. Vandana Shiva, Seed Freedom |

The slogan was that there would never again be scarcity of food because we can now make “bread from air”.

There are two distinct futures of food and farming. One leads to a dead end. A dead planet: poisons and chemical monocultures spreading; farmers committing suicide due to debt for seeds and chemicals; children dying due to lack of food; people dying because of chronic diseases spreading due to nutritionally empty, toxic commodities sold as food and climate havoc wiping out conditions for human life on Earth.

The second leads to the rejuvenation of the planet through rejuvenation of biodiversity, soil, water, rejuvenation of small farms diverse, healthy, fresh, ecological food for all.

The first path is industrial, and was paved by the poison cartel, which was born during the war to create chemicals that can kill people. After the wars they redeployed war chemicals as agrichemicals — pesticides and fertilisers — we were told we can’t have food without poisons.

Explosives that were made by burning fossil fuels at high temperature to fix atmospheric nitrogen were later used to make chemical fertilisers. The slogan was that there would never again be scarcity of food because we can now make “bread from air”.

There was the exaggerated claim that artificial fertilisers would increase food production and remove all ecological limits that land puts on the agriculture. Today the evidence is growing that artificial fertilisers have reduced soil fertility, reduced food production and contributed to desertification, water scarcity and climate change.

In the 1990s, we were told we would starve without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) brought to us by the same poison cartel. There was an exaggerated claim that GMOs would remove all limits of the environment, grow food in deserts and toxic dumps. Today we have only two GMO applications: herbicide resistance and Bt toxins in crops. The first was claimed to control weeds but has created superweeds. Bt crops were supposed to control pests but they have created new pests and superpests. Bt cotton has pushed thousands of farmers to suicide.

Now we are being told “big data” will feed us. Monsanto calls it “digital agriculture” based on “big data” and “artificial intelligence”. It has started to talk about “farming without farmers”. This is why the suicide epidemic of Indian farmers and farmers’ crisis has drawn no response from the government. Because they are blindly paving the next phase on the dead end highway.

Monsanto’s partnership with Atomwise allows making a guess which molecules will give Monsanto the next possible pesticide. This is not the intelligence for sustainable management of pests. Just the narrow bet on the next poison. It is turning life into a digital casino.

This is like playing poker on the deck of the Titanic while the ship is sinking.



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