January 30, 2012
The Indian government is suing Monsanto, charging that the biotechnology company is stealing Indian plants in order to genetically modify them and create products it can then patent and sell for profit.
A public outcry arose when the corporate giant created a genetically modified variety of eggplant, a popular food plant native to India that exists in more than 2,000 varieties and is grown by millions of Indian farmers. Responding to public pressure, the government banned the Monsanto-created product, popularly dubbed a “Frankencrop,” in 2010.
The government alleges that the company has continued to engage in acts of biopiracy, violating India’s Biological Diversity Act by stealing indigenous crops and quietly growing them in test fields.
The Indian government’s legal offensive is not the only arena in the ongoing struggle to defend Indian agriculture. Farmers and their activist supporters have strongly opposed Monsanto’s efforts, and they have destroyed several test fields in which crops were allegedly genetically manipulated for corporate profit.