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December 1999

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From:
"S. E. Anderson" <[log in to unmask]>
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Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 9 Dec 1999 00:44:13 -0400
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http://www.corpwatch.org/trac/corner/worldnews

Once again another powerful essay by Dr. Vandana Shiva... Read and pass
on.
CorporationWatch August 1999

Over the past few years, Monsanto, a chemical company, has positioned
itself as an agricultural company through control over seed the first
link
in the food chain. Monsanto now wants to control water, the very basis
of
life.

In 1996, Monsanto bought the biotechnology assets of Agracetus, a
subsidiary of W.R. GRACE, for $150 million and Calagene, a California
based plant biotechnology company for $340 million. In 1997, Monsanto
acquired Holden seeds, the Brazilian seed company Sementes Agrocerus and

Asgrow. In 1998, Monsanto purchased Cargill's seed operations for $1.4
billion. It bought Delta and Pine land for $1.82 billion and Dekalb for
$2.3
billion. It bought Unilever's European wheat breeding business for $525
million. In India Monsanto has bought Mahyco, Maharashtra Hybrid
Company,
E.I.D. Parry and Rallis. Mr.Jack Kennedy of Monsanto has stated "We
propose
to penetrate the Indian Agricultural sector in a big way. MAHYCO is a
good
vehicle." According to Robert Farley of Monsanto "what you are seeing is
not
just a consolidation of seed companies, it is really a consolidation of
the
entire food chain. Since water is an central to food production as seed
is,
and without water life is not possible.

Monsanto is now trying to establish its control over water. During 1999
Monsanto plans to launch a new water business, starting with India and
Mexico since both these countries are facing water shortages.

Monsanto is seeing a new business opportunity in water because of the
emerging water crisis and the funding available to make this vital
resource available to people. As it states in its strategy paper, "first
we
believe that discontinuities (either major policy changes or major
trendline
breaks in resource quality or quantity) are likely, particularly in the
area
of water and we will be well positioned via these business to profit
even
more significantly when these discontinuities occur. Second, we are
exploring the potential of non-conventional financing (NGO's, World
Bank,
USDA etc.) that may lower our investment or provide local country
business
building resources." Thus, the crisis of pollution and depletion of
water
resources is viewed by Monsanto as a business opportunity. For
Monsanto "Sustainable Development" means the conversion of an ecological

crisis into a market of scarce resources. "The business logic of
sustainable
development is that population growth and economic development will
apply
increasing pressure on natural resource markets. These pressures and the

world's desire to prevent the consequences of these pressures if
unabated,
will create vast economic opportunity when we look at the world through
the
lens of sustainability we are in a position to see current and foresee
impending resource market trends and imbalances that create market
needs. We
have further focussed this lens on the resource market of water and
land.

These are the markets that are most relevant to us as a life sciences
company committed to delivering "food, health and hope" to the world,
and
there are markets in which there are predictable sustainability
challenges
and therefore opportunities to create business value." Monsanto plans to

earn revenues of $420 million and net income of $63 million by 2008 from
its
water business in India and Mexico. By the year 2010 about 2.5 billion
people in the world are projected to lack access to safe drinking water.
At
least 30% of the population in China, India, Mexico and US is expected
to
face severe water stress.

By the year 2025 the supply of water in India will be 700 cubic
kilometers
per year while the demand is expected to rise to 1050 units. Control
over
this scarce and vital resource will of course
be a source of guaranteed profits. As John Bastin of the European Bank
of
Reconstruction and Development has stated "Water is the last
infrastructure frontier for Private investors." Monsanto estimates that
providing safe water is a several billion dollar market. It is growing
at 25
- 30% in rural communities and is estimated to be $300 million by the
year
2000 in India and Mexico. This is the amount currently spent by NGO's
for
water development projects and local government water supply schemes and

Monsanto hopes to tap these public finances for providing water to rural

communities and convert water supply into market. The Indian Government
spent over $ 1.2 billion between 1992-97 for various water projects
whicle
the World Bank spent $900 million. Monsanto would like to divert this
public
money from public supply of water to establishing Monsanto's water
monopoly.
Since in rural areas the poor cannot pay, in Monsanto's view "Capturing
a
piece of the value created for this segment will require the creation of
a
non-traditional mechanism targeted at
building relationships with local government and NGO's as well as
through
innovative financing mechanisms, such as microcredit.

Monsanto also plans to penetrate the Indian market for safe water by
establishing a joint venture with Eureka Forbes / TATA, which controls
70%
of the UV Technologies. To enter the water business Monsanto has
acquired an
equity stake in Water Health International (WHI) with an option to buy
the
rest of the business. Monsanto will also buy a Japanese company which
has
developed electrolysis technology. The joint venture with TATA / Eureka
Forbes is supposed to provide market access, and fabricate, distribute,
service water systems, Monsanto will leverage their brand equity in the
Indian Market. The joint venture route has been chosen so that "Monsanto

can achieve management control over local operations but not have legal
consequences due to local issues."

Another new business that Monsanto is starting in 1999 in Asia in
aquaculture. The aquaculture business will build on the foundation of
Monsanto's agricultural biotechnology and capabilities for fish feed and

fish breeding. By 2008 Monsanto expects to earn revenues of $1.6 billion
and
net income of $266 million from its aquaculture business. While
Monsanto's
entry into aquaculture is through its Sustainable Development activity,
industrial aquaculture has been established to be highly non
sustainable.
The Supreme Court of India had banned industrial shrimp farming because
of
it's catastrophic consequences.

However, the government, under pressure of the aquaculture industry, is
attempting to change the laws, to undo the Supreme Court order. At the
same
time, attempts are being made by the World Bank to privatise water
resources
and establish trade in water rights. These trends will suit Monsanto
well in
establishing its new Water Business and Aquaculture business. The World
Bank
has already offered to help. As the Monsanto strategy paper states "We
are
particularly enthusiastic about the potential of partnering with the
International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank to joint
venture
projects in developing markets. The IFC is eager to work with Monsanto
to
commercialise sustainability opportunities and would bring both
investment
capital and on the ground capabilities to our efforts."

Monsanto's Water and Aquaculture Business, like it's seed business, is
aimed at controlling vital resources necessary for survival, converting
them
into a market and using public finances to underwrite the investments. A

more efficient conversion of public goods into private profit would be
difficult to find. Water is however too basic for life and survival. The

right to water is the right to life. The privatisation and
commodification
of water is a threat to the right to life. India has had major water
movements to conserve and share water. The Pani Panchayat and the water
conservation movement in Maharashtra and Tarun Bharat Sangh in Alwar,
have
regenerated and equitably shared water as a commons. This is the only
way
that everyone will have the right to water and nobody will have the
right to
abuse and overuse water. Water is a commons and must be managed as a
commons. It cannot be controlled and sold by a Life Sciences
Corporation that peddles in Death.

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