Monsanto Gives Haiti $4 Million in Hybrid Seeds
May 17, 2010
The Associated Press reports U.S.-based Monsanto Co. is donating $4 million worth of seeds to Haiti. The corporation, based in Creve Coeur, Missouri, announced a pledge this week of 475 tons of corn and vegetable seeds. Farmers will have to buy the seeds at markets to avoid flooding the local economy with free goods, but Monsanto will not receive any revenue from the sales, a spokesman for the company said. Haiti''s agriculture ministry approved the donation, while UPS and Switzerland-based Kuehne and Nagel are assisting with the shipping and logistics, Monsanto said. The announcement raised concerns in Haiti that the donation would include genetically modified seeds, for which the country does not have a regulatory system. Monsanto representatives said no such seeds will be included. Instead they are sending hybrid seeds, which are produced by manually cross-pollinating plants. The company said the seeds produce larger yields than non-hybrid seeds, but that with such a variety new seeds have to be purchased and planted every year.