Nepali Times
Going to seed

A US-government supported pilot project to introduce into Nepal hybrid maize seeds produced by the multinational, Monsanto, has set off alarm bells over its potential harm.

USAID's Nepal Economic, Agriculture, and Trade Activity (NEAT) has got the Department of Agriculture and Monsanto to set up test plots to promote the new seeds in Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Kavre districts. This pilot plan will train 20,000 farmers in hybrid maize production methods and help in marketing the seeds.

Last month, Monsanto India's Amitabh Jaipuria was in Kathmandu for a promotional launch in which he said the project would improve Nepal's food security and enhance income of Nepali farmers. USAID Mission Director in Nepal, David C Atteberry also said: "Most maize farmers are unaware of the health and financial benefits that high-yielding hybrid seeds can provide. Improved seeds and targeted capacity building on crop management will allow maize producers in Nepal to reap the full benefit of their labour."

Nepal only grows half its current annual requirement of 270,000 tons of maize for human and animal consumption, the rest is imported. USAID says the project will help make Nepal self-sufficient and save Rs 200 million in imports.
Not everyone is convinced. Activists are worried about Monsanto's history of being a "Trojan horse" to "infiltrate" agriculture in countries around the world and making them dependent on their seeds, agro-chemicals and other inputs.

They are also apprehensive about Monsanto's interest in genetically-modified crops and suspect the company will use its test plots to propagate seeds that will contaminate the gene pool of local heirloom seeds. (

Organic farmers and activists have a whole list of negative side effects of hybrid seeds: the increase of inputs that put farmers in debt and lead to suicides, the promotion of unsustainable monoculture, hybrid seeds demand more and more fertiliser and pesticides with each season to maintain yields.

Sterile "terminator seeds" smuggled from India which will not germinate after one use ruined farmers in the Tarai last year. These seeds are now contaminating local varieties of maize which are openly pollinated, scientists say, and eroding seed diversity. Activists believe Monsanto's long-term agenda is to introduce its GMO maize into Nepal.

Monsanto has an international reputation for pushing genetically modified organisms (GMO) in agriculture, often with the support of US trade and aid missions abroad. It introduced DDT in the 1950s and is now the biggest producer of the herbicide known as glyphosate. Critics say it uses GMOs and hybrids to also boost the sales of its environmentally-destructive agro-chemcals. In India, the company has been sued by the Andhra Pradesh government for pushing genetically modified cotton which led to thousands of suicides by indebted farmers.

Agriculture scientist and rice specialist Rajendra Uprety in Morang says hybrid maize was introduced into Nepal long ago, and adds that most farmers have learnt to ensure that they have to intercrop and balance the use of organic fertilisers. "As far as I know GMO maize has not yet come into Nepal, although there is some genetically-modified cotton and brinjal," he told Nepali Times.

No matter what Nepal does, he says, if India opts for GMO seeds Nepal will not be able to stop its infiltration from across the open border.

Read also:
Why Monsanto? , SASCHA FULLER
Instead of improving harvests, a USAID program to push hybrid maize will make Nepali farmers more destitute

Rice crisis

1. Mr. Poudel
the food terrorists are here and they are staying!!! damn us... bloody ministry of agriculture (aba america ghumna payo chorharu)...

2. Alok
Mr. Poudel it has been stated by the Nepal government that they are not allowing Monsanto to enter Nepal and sell their GM crops.This is good news and I salute the Ministry of Agriculture for doing this and not giving in to America's attempt to terrorize our nation with these crops.

3. FunkyMonkey
American vampire trying to suck the life out of poor farmers! Do not let the Monsanto ruin Nepali agriculture. There are two defining characteristics of Americans: greed and vanity. Americans need to control obesity and stupidity first before trying to 'help' the others. So just say NO to US AID.

There are plenty of Nepali agriculture scientists working outside of Nepal who will love to use their expertise in improving quality of farming in Nepal. The government should be looking into that option and not letting USAID devour the most fertile lands of Nepal. If the government does not stop this madness, people will be mad. Monsanto is the epitome of predatory capitalism. Any attempt by the current government and the US embassy to shove this down our throat must be met with resistance. There Will Be Blood.

4. Dinesh( Canada)
We should not support Monsanto in Nepal, they are evil company.

5. GyaRel
Maoist supporter Arthur in this forum also supports the seed, and he says that all those who deny its access to Nepali farmer are "feudals", read his posting in another thread. If Monsanto goes Dr. PM and tells that they will campaign and help them remove their name from terrorist organization, as BP did in UK to move the airplane bomber from Libya using others blood sample that he will die in three or months but not go beyond a year, and BP was awarded 20 Billion dollar or so contract in Oil Drilling Biz in Libya for helping the Bomber return to Libya. If Monsanto promoters and Arthur like people go to PM's office and tell him that it is a great opportunity to get rid of the name from terrorist list, they will immediately approve the seed. If they can withdraw the cases or ask President to pardon killers like Dhungel, what would you expect from the killing masters in Maoist Party. They will immediately accept all clauses to get rid of their name from the list. Period.


6. Julie
Nepal! I implore you: Do not let Monsanto GMO seeds into your country. Your agriculture will not improve; terminator seeds will enslave you,  and you will only become dependent on dangerous pesticides. Use only seeds that you can save and plant again. Consult Vandana Shiva! Be strong--do not let USAID dictate an unsustainable future!

7. Professor PP Poopypants
I'm an American ex-pat in Asia, and I am wholeheartedly against the American government's support of Monsanto and other GM agribusinesses.  I deplore the strong-arming tactics of Washington to push GM foods around the globe. I want to encourage the Nepali citizens to stand firm in their resolve to protect their food freedom. We have already seen the power of the masses to directly and immediately force change in government policies. Make sure that your government agencies know you oppose the introduction of GM seeds into your agriculture.

8. Len Aldis

I would urge the authorities not to allow USAID or any other organisation to bring GM seeds, crops into Nepal.  They are not safe and once they take root, your land will be lost forever to the farmers.

Over 250,000 Indian Farmers have comitted suicide due to buying Monsanto's seeds that failed, losing the farmers their crops and putting them futher into debt, as they are forced to purchase seeds only from Monsanto.

If readers want to know more about the evils of Monsanto go to:


9. Neil
What business has USAID or half the INGOs got in Nepal anyway? Illuminati frontmen the lot of them ...

10. mwbugg
There are no sterile "terminator seeds" being sold by Monsanto.  If an author can't get this basic fact correct, it makes me believe much of the rest of the statments are not based on reality either.

Good luck boosting yields and feeding your people without Monsanto or other GMO crops.  They sell because they work...and the world isn't faced with drought-triggered famines anymore because of their technology.  You people are liberal sheep.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)