Genetically modified

Genetically modified technology has radically affected the field of control of agriculture in the sense that it has issued control to the corporate entities. This has happened when after the enactment of the patent rights and intellectual property,successful individuals began to emerge, being distinguished from their counterparts with huge capital.

These individuals advanced, putting their resources together, and thus leading to the formation of highly distinct researching organizations that dealt in biotechnological practices on life forms. After the turn of the 1980s in the America, more of these organizations multiplied as researching centers through which other small scale farmers could carry out their research. This was after the state authorized them to act as parallel centers of research in biotechnology.

The corporate control of agriculture has advanced in the sense that the US government has bestowed powers or authority to these corporate entities to spell out the processes that are to be followed, the genes that are to be used and the chemicals that are to be dispensed in the carrying out of research or genetic modification by other small scale farmers (Fedoroff and Brown, pp. 321). The situation is further made intricate by the fact that these entities have grown to an extent that they now issue agricultural and farming incentives to the small scale farmers.

The extent to which these organizations or agricultural corporate entities have waxed powerful is exhibited by the fact that these bodies have coalesced vast wealth of skills to an extent that the US government through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), needed to collaborate with a private agricultural corporate body in carrying out the Termination Technology. Social justice (or injustices) for small scale farmers.

The development of biotechnology portrays a paradox in the sense that at its inception, it was hailed as the panacea to the curse of global food shortage, while in the real sense, it is now through the use of predatory patenting that it is sapping away, day by day, the strength of the small scale farmers, as far as justice for the small scale farmer is concerned. The matter must be kept in mind due to the fact that most of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have agriculture as the mainstay of their economy.

This is because the LDCs are less industrialized and at the same time, have a fertile land. Having been mentioned earlier how these corporations have emerged as powerful entities in the United States, with some of these corporations forming mergers, global factors have also made these corporates more high tech since, through the concept of World Trade Organization, (WTO), agricultural multinationals have joined hands to increase their market accessibility.

For instance, these agricultural corporate bodies through patenting and intellectual property rights, have developed to an extent that they are now mandated to determine or set the policies of agriculture. This is more so true due to the fact that through the concept of WTO, there have been calls for, and subsequent liberalization of not only the market, but also on farming, agriculture and in specific, the biotechnological spectrum (Walker and Rapley, 149). Liberalization of the market and agriculture demands that governments should stay away from regulating the market and agriculture to allow free flow capital.

This allows for the market and agricultural fundamentalist to control the global market and agriculture. It is on this backdrop that small scale farmers are suffering at the hands of these agricultural corporations. For instance, large seed companies are able to siphon every substance from the small scale farmer dry by stipulating that these farmers buy only hybrid seeds, as is presently being witnessed, not only in the US, but also globally. This is because, hybrid seeds are more perishable in comparison to the conventional type.

This ensures that the farmers at least have to buy the seeds from these corporations that have monopoly over the distribution of and selling of the hybrid seeds. Presently, small scale farmers in America for instance and in other parts of the LDCs are being prevailed upon to buy and plant only the Monsanto maize seed and its herbicide- merchandise that are too expensive and too complex to dabble in (Lurquin, pp. 190). The same development is being aimed at other cash crops, since these agricultural corporates are targeting at high management levels for these crops such as the cotton.

This high level management is also going to include the adjustment of prices upwards, leaving the cash crop farming at the hands of these corporates that can easily afford them against the small scale farmers who are not able to afford. Small scale farmers are being locked away from the lucrative areas of farming through these multinational biotechnologists day by day (Nottingham and Hundal, pp. 132). In the same spectrum, local small scale farmers and their counterparts from the LDCs have their own models of Genetically Modified Organisms, through their intense but independent research expeditions.

However, this group is always disadvantaged in the sense that it has to seek the acceptance of their models from these agricultural corporates who have joined their bands to have a stronger sphere of influence. It is on this backdrop that in Africa, the rest of the LDCs and other small scale farmers in the Metropoles have to seek approval from these agricultural corporations (Goodburn and Kaarin pp. 205). It is through the same World Trade organizations (WTO)’s TRIPS that small scale farmers are being locked out through the ratification of the Intellectual Property Rights.

The TRIPS’ Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), although it had noble intention of protecting the findings and one’s area of specialization, yet at the moment, it leads to the balkanization of a certain field for the well endowed with capital at the expense of the poor who also have the skills. As said earlier, the practices of genetically modified food technology has led to the emergence of a wealthy and powerful class of biotechnologists- and this class being so powerful to an extent that governments solicit agricultural insights and policies from them.

This has lead to the bestowing of these corporations with political and lobbying power. It is on this backdrop that theses corporations have the power to determine products that will pass through the market and those that will not. The situation is so bad such that farmers who have not registered with these organizations find themselves locked out of agricultural businesses. Farmers who also do not subscribe to the policies of these agricultural corporate bodies, for instance, by not buying their hybrid seeds are also locked out.

For instance, these corporates have the ability to use a genetic method known as the Terminator Technology to render seeds and their progenies as infertile (Santiello, Eugene and Zilberman, 309). To this end, it is emerging that small scale farmers are suffering a lot of injustices at the behest of large scaled biotechnologists who, with huge capital, have extended their influence right onto the global spheres. The situation of the small scale farmers’ vulnerability is worsened by the fact that the governments have adopted the near global adoption of the hands free policy towards the agricultural biotechnology sector.

Importance of the indigenous knowledge on GMT. Indigenous knowledge is very useful in the field of genetic engineering of foods. This is because, it equips the biotechnologists with a clue on what is needed to make the genes that will distinguish one genetic modification from the rest as powerful. For instance, having indigenous knowledge on the local climatic conditions, the strain of the specie that makes it in a given environment, the biotechnologist is able to determine easily the genes that are recessive and those that are dominant.

From this, the biotechnologist is able to choose the type of invention he or she wants to make (Whisson and Brainbridge, pp. 177) For example, given that America is colder compared to Africa, a biotechnologist is able to mix the DNA of the seeds ( for instance, beans, since beans grows in both spheres) from both geographical locations to come up with a variant that has a mixture of both qualities.

Therefore, indigenous knowledge in the field of biotechnology is important since it enables the biotechnologist to promote variety. Conclusion. All governments, including the US should come up with policies and linkage bodies that do not only ensure the direct access to the market by the small scale farmers, but also to offer advisory and research services to the same group.

It is only by so doing that there will be equal trade and even development on both sides of the political divide. In addition to the above recommendations, small scale farmers, and especially the counterparts in the LDCs should not be severed from receiving government subsidies since these farmers have meager financial base which keeps them from affording incentives to farming such as fertilizers and hybrid seeds.

The WTO TRIPS agreements and the DOHA stipulations must also be abrogated to allow room for the biotechnological innovation by the small scale farmers.

Bibliography. Ruse, Michael and Castle, David. The biotechnology debate: The genetically modified foods. US: Prometheus Books. 2002. Haeley, Justin. The genetically modified foods. US: Spinney Press. 2000.

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