Women have been the primary growers of food and nutrition throughout history, but today, food is being taken out of our hands and substituted for toxic commodities controlled by global corporations. Monoculture industrial farming has taken the quality, taste and nutrition out of our food. As a result, India is facing a nutritional crisis: every fourth Indian goes hungry, and in 2011 alone, diabetes took the lives of 1 million Indians.
Now, the same companies who created the crisis are promising a miracle solution: GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Genetically engineered Golden Rice and GMO Bananas are being falsely promoted by corporations hiding behind the cloak of academia as a solution to hunger and malnutrition in the Global South. Indigenous biodiverse varieties of food grown by women provide far more nutrition than the commodities produced by industrial agriculture. Golden Rice is 350% less efficient in providing vitamin A than the biodiversity alternatives that women grow. GMO ‘iron-rich’ Bananas have 3 000% less iron than turmeric and 2 000 % less iron than amchur (mango powder). Apart from being nutritionally empty, GMOs are part of an industrial system of agriculture that is destroying the planet, depleting our water sources, increasing greenhouse gases, and driving farmers into debt and suicide through a greater dependence on chemical inputs. Moreover, these corporate-led industrial monocultures are destroying biodiversity, and we are losing access to the food systems that have sustained us for millennia. When we consider the number of patents involved in these initiatives, it becomes all too clear that the only beneficiaries of these supposedly ‘people-led’ ventures are large companies operating for profit, not for people.