Home > Publications > Position Papers > The Poison Cartel

In just 100 years, the chemicals and technologies of war-based conglomerates, which produced and profited from the chemicals that killed millions of people during the two world wars, have continued their destruction, wiping out millions of species by spreading poisonous agrichemicals, destroying our fragile ecosystems, poisoning our soils and entire web of life, undermining every aspect of our lives for financial profit. They have enlarged their empires and established monopolies through free trade neoliberal policies and deregulation of commerce, broadening their control over our lives. They are attacking life on earth and biodiversity and threatening farmers’ rights to seed and people’s rights to affordable medicine through patents and intellectual property rights (IPRs).

The “Big 6” chemical and GMO corporations that own the world’s seed, pesticides and biotechnology industries are now enlarging their empire with mega buyouts. Syngenta has merged with ChemChina ($43 billion deal). Dow Chemical, which bought up Union Carbide responsible for the Bhopal disaster killing over 20,000 people, has merged with Dupont ($122/130 billion deal) while Bayer has merged with Monsanto (over $63 billion deal).

In this scenario, just 3 companies are left in control of 60% of the world’s seeds and 70% of the chemicals and pesticides.

Through these aggressive mergers and acquisitions they are expanding their markets, and, by directly targeting decision-makers, increasing their influence and pressure on governments and institutions. Through wide public relations and propaganda they are undermining science – to ensure that health and environmental regulations do not interfere with their profit making activities, thus increasingly leading to the erosion of our democratic principles. By expanding their monopolies on seed and food, chemicals and medicines, they deepen their control over our food and health, with the burden of this system falling most heavily on the smallest farms and the poorest consumers.

The entire industrialization of food, agriculture and life is based on the false claim of feeding the world, when the reality is that an agriculture that has been shaped by the war industry is at the root of the hunger and malnutrition in the world. While competition is the rhetoric of free trade agreements, monopoly is the outcome and as such they are destroying diversity, pluralism and democracy, the systems that protect our food, health and livelihoods. The toxic agenda of the war-based corporations and all-powerful foundations is based on false claims of innovation and invention of our seed, our heritage and life on earth, attempting to hijack governments, and assailing those that refuse to buckle.

Both the agrarian crises and the health and malnutrition crises are rooted in the rules of free trade in WTO allowing seed monopolies and dumping of toxic and inferior fake food and junk food. Each of us is affected whether we be farmers or consumers, rural or urban, young or old, women or men.

In India, the corporate controlled debt creating agriculture has triggered a suicide epidemic among Indian farmers. More than 300,000 farmers have committed suicide in India since 1995 – most of them in the Bt cotton areas.

We are dealing with a destructive force that is taking out life forces wherever it can: If the corporations have their way our fragile web of life will be poisoned and broken, the diversity of species will be driven to extinction, and people will lose all freedoms to their seed, to their food, to their knowledge, decisions and choices.

The work of Navdanya in the last 30 years has been about uncovering the underlying lies of the green revolution, backed by the richest corporations of the world, including the real aim of megamergers and free trade agreements, clearly in the direction of profit at any cost and the opening of more and more markets through lobbying pressure on the democratically elected politicians for the elimination of regulatory barriers.

In October 2016, Navdanya co-organised, along with multiple civil society organizations, the Monsanto Tribunal and the People’s Assembly in The Hague. The process of holding the “Poison Cartel” accountable for its crimes is the culmination of 30 years of scientific, legal, social, and political work by movements, concerned citizens and scientists.

The judges’ conclusions were presented in April 2017 and underscored the need to assert the primacy of international human and environmental rights law and to make the question of ecocide to the centre of discourse for making corporations accountable for crimes against the environment.

The People’s Assembly was a gathering of leading movements and activists working to defend our ecosystem and food sovereignty, to lay out the effects of the agrichemical industry on the planet and on our lives, as well as to share independent studies and real experiences of farmers and consumers across the world and chart the road to our future based on Seed Freedom and Food Freedom, agroecology and farmers rights, our commons and economies of sharing, rights of nature and Earth Democracy.

The global mobilization which culminated with the People’s Assembly and the Monsanto Tribunal continued throughout 2017 through a number of actions in Greece, France Germany and Italyamong others – shaping a future that is GMO free, poisons free, fossil fuel free, patent free, “free trade“- free, and free of corporate control.

In India, Navdanya has also been challenging the process of the Monsanto-Bayer merger, as well as the Dow Dupont merger. As the Competition Commission of India rejected the Monsanto-Bayer merger application. Navdanya also sent a letter to the CCI warning them about the existing conflict of interest with CropLife which submitted the complete data for the evaluation of the Dow / Dupont merger.

It is incumbent upon us to free ourselves and all the other more vulnerable species of our Earth family from the threats of the Poison Cartel and claiming the power back into the hands of the farmers, as well as promoting the alternatives that are actually in the hands of rural communities.

As part of the Planetary Alliance for Earth Democracy we shall continue to resist attempt of these poison makers to control our food, our life and democracy. Farmers all over the world are realising the reality of what is happening, and they are organizing and fighting back. They are claiming back their seeds, their lands, their traditional knowledge and implementing ecological agriculture based on preserving biodiversity and soil fertility.

Also read:

Poison Cartel Fact Sheet

The Corporate War Against The Planet, People and Democracy – A Century of Ecocide and Genocide

Poster: Poison Cartel – Toxic Capital

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