Anti SQ 777 Forces Rely on Lies and Little Else
I try not to get sucked into Facebook arguments as you are usually arguing with a fool that has more time than you do and you really won’t change their mind. At most you can prevent further spreading of ignorance and sometimes it sharpens your own blade on the issue.
Such was the case today when a well intentioned but ignorant woman posted a link to a story on plant seeds in a thread about hybrid seeds and SQ 777, the right to farm.
Any intelligent person can read that bed time story she linked to and poke holes in it with a half hour of Google research. What is it with the lefties and having to purchase a product? The complaint about hybrid seeds was that the poor farmers were tricked into having to purchase new seeds each year. Duh! The seeds are hybrid and who in the hell is going to spend millions of dollars and their time developing a new hybrid and give the seed away for free? The seed only sells if the product is an improvement over the open pollinated heritage seeds.
And you know what, these “poor” farmers can plant their own hybrid seeds if they want but guess what? That would mean that three quarters of their crop would be the old “father” version and only one quarter would be the new hybrid. If they plant all hybrid they get a better yield and better traits from all of the field of crop. So it probably doesn’t make sense for a farmer to give up the better production on ¾ of their land unless they have a small patch producing seed corn and a larger patch producing their cash crop.
The seed companies and fertilizer companies didn’t “force” anyone to buy their product. The intelligent farmers CHOSE to purchase the new seeds and fertilizers because they were getting better crops. It works the same way in a cabinet business, if someone comes up with a higher yielding lumber product or a quicker to install door hinge it sells. If someone invents a better and faster way to produce a product then that invention sells and makes money for the inventor. If farmers in India and other third world countries tried hybrid seeds and lost their farms it wasn’t because they bought seeds, it was because they couldn’t produce the crop cheaply enough to compete without using hybrid seeds and fertilizer. If they stuck with their old seed and low yields they couldn’t sell their product for enough to compete either and were left with sustenance farming and a life of grinding poverty and early death.
And land consolidation, guess what? That increases yields because larger farmers can afford modern equipment that lowers the cost of raising a crop. I was discussing the new president of the Philippines with a friend via email the other day and he said that the guy wanted to lower the price of staples like rice for the poor. A 25 kilo bag of decent but not export quality rice (U.S. consumers wouldn’t accept it) is around 1300 pesos or $27.00 in the Philippines. That same bag of rice at Sams Club is under $15.00 and it is top quality rice, few broken grains and very clean. Now you have a country that has over one hundred million people, with 50% surviving on about 50 cents a day and seven million on the books jobs, meaning they meet the 85 cents per hour wage rate and have health insurance and paid holidays. Three quarters of the jobs are off the book jobs such as small retail, personal service (gardener or house keeper or yay yay nanny) or they are “5-5-5” jobs or contract jobs that only last five months to evade the minimum wage and benefit requirements. The point is they need cheap food but their rice is twice as expensive and that is a country where retail profits are minuscule due to very cheap labor (probably one/15th of the U.S. once taxes and insurance are factored in) and distribution costs are super cheap due to low fuel prices (diesel is under $2.00 per gallon), cheap labor, cheap insurance, cheap tags, and cheap repair).
Why is rice so expensive in such a poor country? Because they have import restrictions to prevent too much rice from coming in and depressing the price of rice to first world levels. Why would they do such a stupid thing? Because they think they need to protect the small farmers working a half acre of rice paddy using a damned carabao (water buffalo) that he rented to plow his field. In fact, the poor turd has to rent everything or give away a portion of his crop to harvest, plow, thresh, mill or haul the crop to a grain elevator. He gives a portion of his crop to the owner of the land, to the person that financed the purchase of seed and fertilizer (yeah, he ate his seed when he got hungry and he got hungry because he is a damned poor tenant farmer) and after he plowed and planted he went back to his shack to starve and make more babies till it was time to flood the fields and time to harvest. Maybe one fifth of his available time was spent actually working on the crop, the rest of the time was spent starving and chasing David Holt or brewing tuba wine to get drunk on.
If the country allowed the open market to work this poor turd couldn’t compete, i.e., he couldn’t waste his life scratching out enough rice to fill his six kids’ emancipated frames and swollen bellies while they slowly die from beri beri. So Dong would have to find other work and once the land owner couldn’t tenant farm the land guess what he would do? Right, he would combine the plots and make large fields that could be farmed using modern farming practices. He doesn’t because he can convince Dong to raise a crop and give him one third without him lifting a finger.
Meanwhile the other 99,999,992 other Filipinos paid double for their rice which is around three quarters of their diet by volume and by cost. Add a few dried fish (we would call them fat head minnows) or some chicken intestines on a stick and you have dinner for seven.
The story you linked to, and it doesn’t rise to the decency of an article, it is a bed time story, claims that 75% of the world has lost their seed diversity and is in the hands of the greedy seed companies. Guess what? They don’t have to buy the expensive seed, they can settle for poor yields and swollen belly kids for generations to come if they prefer or they can adopt modern farming practices that will lower the cost of food for everyone in their country.
Next the bed time story begins ranting about Franken seed and Bt. Bt does not “damage the digestive tract of whatever eats it.” As the story claims. It doesn’t punch holes in the stomach. What it does is produce a toxin that only develops in SOME insects, the one insects that that particular Bt can affect and that toxin destroys the lining of the stomach in that specific insect. In other species and other insects the Bt breaks down harmlessly and is digested like other proteins. For God’s sake, Bt is used by organic farmers to replace the chemical insecticides.
And Round-up, without herbicides you couldn’t grow or harvest crops without massive amounts of hand labor or cultivating. Back in the day we chopped cotton or hoed corn (plant three seeds and chop out the smaller two plants), we cultivated fields by hand or tractor to plow dirt up on the good plants to keep the weeds from strangling the crop. If you are harvesting wheat you get a lower price if it is full of weed seed heads so you either spray or you hand pull weeds before harvest, damaging part of the wheat in the process. Does it carry any risks, probably, but so does hoeing corn for ten hours a day at slave wages and having more expensive food so the poor have a poorer diet. Back at the turn of the century and before the majority of the income of the average worker was spent feeding his family on a very poor diet. There was a small consumer class and little cash money available. Forget modern life, health insurance or even seeing a doctor; forget nice homes, vehicles, cell phones, or paying a lot of taxes for that matter. Folks, we tried sustenance farming before. It was called the freaking middle ages where life was brutal and short.