Large agricultural organizations often use GMO seeds that are patented, and this has resulted in a consolidation of the food supply and a few companies that control most of the crops planted on a global basis. There have been stories of farmers with tons of inventory that they can not plant, and even Monsanto does not offer these in the cafeteria to their workers. There have not been any long term studies on these varieties to show whether there are health risks involved, and since the strain is patented if it travels and breeds with another species than many natural plant species may be eliminated.
Since there are relatively few companies that are involved in this industry the few that create these new variations and control the patent will control a large portion of the food supply for the entire world. The conditions that the business places on the agricultural operation can be very strict, and in the end the contract usually requires that the farmer turn over all of their seed inventory purchased if the GMO company demands this.
GMO species are usually tampered with so that future seeds are not accessible, and if they are the contract usually specifies that they are covered under the patent in place as well. Many have started using heritage varieties and natural specimens in an effort to get back to safe and wholesome dining options instead. Many believe that all items in this category should be labeled as such, but the large organizations have resisted and spent millions to prevent this.
The theory by GMO advocates is that labeling will cause consumers to view these products as less safe, while most consumers insist that they have the right to choose whether or not to use these foods. A common fear is that these entities will end up having complete control over the supply of crops and livestock, and this will mean much higher prices and drastic consequences for many regions.
A seed bank has been created to preserve natural specimens, and many believe that this was done out of concern about the effects that the new varieties may have. The documentary discusses all of the controversy surrounding the technology and gene splicing used today, especially by large agricultural organizations and massive commercial farming entities. Many are calling for a return to the family operation, and advocating that we source locally and choose only organic items and those that have been proven to be safe.
For traditional farmers, some of the current and future challenges awaiting them can be overwhelming. When you consider the global population of farmers, many lag behind in basic education and therefore access to valuable knowledge.
In the African and Asian region, this phenomenon can present a huge problem when new technology is sought to be introduced. For long, Monsanto for instance, has been at the receiving end both in the U.S. and other parts of the world.
Monsanto’s experience could well be a mixture of bad/avaricious marketing strategies and the inability to educate the farmers adequately. Even with the best of intentions, local conditions can therefore, gain precedence over anticipated benefits.
Quantum shift from traditional produce
In some regions around the globe, the need to enhance productivity may require the farmers to make a quantum shift from traditional produce. For instance, a farmer who has been engaged in producing wheat for generation can resist suggestions to shift to rice or sugar cane.
Reasoning and persuasion can be beneficial only when the listener is adequately educated to understand the benefits of moving into an alien territory. For example, insects are being heralded as a great source of protein and the future generations may well be avid worshippers of hamburgers made from sea vegetables, grasshoppers, or mealworms.
Yet, it can be extremely difficult to convince a traditional farmer to step into the shoes of a successful insect cultivator. Thus, every effort to strengthen farming practices should also include significant doses of farmer education. Semi literate or illiterate farmers are more likely to be convinced by faces and lingo that they are familiar with.
Fear of commercial exploitation
Another reason why farmers may not be receptive new ideas is potential commercial exploitation by big names that promise to re-engineer the farmers’ fortunes. There have been instances where the proponents of the GMO have delivered just the opposite in some regions leaving the farmers high and dry. Bad news spreads like wildfire and that does not augur well for all those making positive contributions.