Yesterday I returned to Johannesburg from a weekend with Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa in Kuruman. One of the things he emphasised was the threat to our food supply as more and more maize is used for biofuel production instead of food production. He kept referring to signs “Dis Mos Mielies” on the N12 and N14 highways from Johannesburg into the Northern Cape and North West Provinces, possibly elsewhere in South Africa. So I did some quick research and found this not surprising comment on my friend Telana Simpson’s blog by Donn Edwards:
“I wrote to Monsanto to ask them about these signs, which appear all over the country. Their reply was:
‘DEKALB is one of the brands Monsanto use globally for our seed products. In South Africa we sell white and yellow maize, as well as sunflower seed under this brand. The DEKALB brand has been on the market since the early 1900 and was named after a town in the midwest region of the USA.
Dis mos mielies – means “This is maize” and is a slogan used for marketing purposes. In this sense it refers to the idea that the maize you see here in the field, is how maize should look. This slogan actually comes from the “old” seed company Carnia and has been used since the 1990‘s in South Africa. In 1998 Monsanto bought two seed companies in South Africa Carnia, which was part of Omnia (fertilizer company) and Sensako. We sold our seed under these two brand names but as we owned both we consolidated in one brand, DEKAB, in 2005.
Both conventional maize seed as well as GM-seed are sold under the DEKALB brand. The particular product on the photo (CRN3505) is a conventional white maize product.”
Now this is not the first time I’ve heard of Monsanto. The acclaimed Indian enviromentalist Dr Vandana Shiva is one of the most outspoken critics of Monsanto’s business practises. Here’s a historical view from her about this evil company…
THE HINDU, Saturday, May 1, 1999
Letter on Monsanto
By Vandana Shiva (The writer is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, New Delhi.)