Why Monsanto in Armenia Should Raise Red Flags for Its Farmers

The farms in the Ararat Valley (Photo by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian)
The farms in the Ararat Valley (Photo by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian)

The farms in the Ararat Valley (Photo by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian)

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

The United States Embassy in Yerevan on Wednesday organized a business conference focused on Armenia’s agriculture sector.

“The goal was to connect Armenian companies involved in the sector with the expertise, products, and technology of well-known U.S. companies Valmont and Monsanto,” said a press announcement from the U.S. Embassy, which also stated that the U.S. companies “sent representatives to the conference to present their products and services and to learn about business opportunities in Armenia. “

Monsanto, the agriculture giant, has become synonymous with GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, and genetically engineered seeds, which alter the natural make-up of seeds to make crops resistant to pesticides and herbicides. Of course, Monsanto also produces the pesticides to which its genetically engineered seeds are immune and encourages—forces—farmers to use its products.

Coincidentally, on the same day that the U.S. Embassy was parading Monsanto representatives in Armenia, The New York Times published a story about how herbicides, some produced by Monsanto, have damaged crops in 25 states—or four-percent of all soybean output in the U.S.—due to unintended wind drifts onto crops that do not use GMOs.

The prospects of companies like Monsanto gaining a footprint in Armenia should raise red flags for farmers in Armenia and the entire agro sector since the eventual cooperation or “investment opportunities” will surely hinge on Armenian farmers being forced to use GMOs, whose long-term health effects on livestock and humans are still being studied.

At face-value, the introduction of GMOs could be deemed beneficial because they make the crops last longer. However, as is the case here in the U.S., the small farms that do not ascribe to the GMO-use model are shortchanged. Instead, Armenia’s government should look at increasing fair competition within the agriculture sector to both diversify production and ensure productivity for its farmers.

Armenia’s Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan’s plan to improve the country’s economy is greatly dependent on investment into the various sectors. These investments, however, must benefit their respective sectors to ensure growth and productivity and not mere cash infusions with short-term benefits or for multinational corporations to introduce their dubious products in a new market.

The mining industry is a great example of how foreign investment not only does not trickle down to the lay citizen but also hinders their health, life and livelihood.

We all want the United States to invest in Armenia and become a conduit for better economic stability in the country. But, companies like Monsanto, whose notorious bullying tactics to force farmers to conform to is corporate aim to monopolize the agriculture sector will hinder the growth of the agriculture industry in Armenia and will have a far reaching impact on the future of the country’s productivity and resources.

Let’s encourage investment in Armenia in a manner that will benefit each and every Armenian citizen and not the select few who make financial inroads at the expense of the population’s welfare and well-being.

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30 Comments

  1. henry astarjian said:

    In addition to the above, the altered crop could not be used as seed to be re-planted the next season. Like Iraq, Armenia has to buy new seeds from Monsanto every year. It is a fact!

  2. Anton A said:

    Smarten up people and do NOT let companies such as Monsanto get a foothold in Armenia. This would be an agricultural suicide from which Armenia won’t be able to recover ever. Monsanto and the American government couldn’t care less about you or your children’s health (all these western charlatans are interested in, is controlling the world’s food supply and make tons of $$$ while killing you slowly). They will commit a second genocide on the Armenian people by men in three-piece suits and you’ll end up paying them for this slow slaughter. Monsanto is NOT an upright company, they will sell you their GMO-ed seeds within which already contain the poison glyphosate (roundup) so that when these crops are sprayed with pesticide they’ll kill weeds alright, but they will also kill you and your children by the scourge of cancer and other horrible diseases down the road. Additionally, through winds and rain, they will destroy all of the neighboring wholesome non-GMO fields of Armenia. We still haven’t recovered from the first genocide, let’s not allow a second genocide to take place with our own ignorant consent. Educate yourself. Empower yourself. Voice your opinion and guide your politicians.

  3. Haig said:

    All one has to do is read about Monsanto on the internet. Monsanto will be a disaster for the Armenian farmers and their potential for growth. Say absolutely NO to GMO in Armenia.

  4. Kevork said:

    Boycott monsanto. They sell poison. Bayer recently bought monsanto so boycott them and their aspirin, etc.

  5. Armen T said:

    They “Monsanto” will ‘purchase’ the necessary access into Armenia for pennies to the dollar. It will be easy. They will poison Armenian agro-industry just like they have been poisoning every where. Sad!

  6. sylvie tertzakian said:

    Monsanto is bad news for Armenia. Short term solutions lead to long term malaise.

  7. Novellian said:

    Couldn’t agree with this writer more!
    Monsanto And others like Monsanto are the reason for fruits in US do not taste like it used to before. For example, I’m sure they have definitely something to do with the so called seeded and seedless watermelons.
    Watermelons have no taste at all. They taste like grass no flavor!

  8. Raffi said:

    Well said: ”Let’s encourage investment in Armenia in a manner that will benefit each and every Armenian citizen and not the select few who make financial inroads at the expense of the populations welfare and well-being”

  9. ronnie said:

    Monsanto /Bayer is a true plague on any society. Armenia should treat this as its enemy number one. Forget the Azerbayjanis/Turcs,they are little school girls next to the ravages of this murderous monopolizing company. Monsanto operates like thugs and will stop at nothing,bribery arm-wrestling and fake science a very dangerous cocktail with corrupt politicians everywhere.
    Follow the Europeans lead : they are gradually banning glyphosates, roundup and all the poisons Monsanto /Bayer has imposed on them over the years. This is no joke.

  10. Norserunt said:

    This is merely one of the many existential threats that comes with seeking close ties with the West. IMF, USAID, EU, NATO or Soros funded “Open Society” operations are no less dangerous. The West is utterly toxic. The West is in decline. Those who seek ties with Western powers do so at their own peril. Those to blame for this situation in Armenia is the Westernized Diaspora and greedy Armenian politicians who cant see past their bank accounts.

  11. Kahren Hambatdzumyan said:

    Armenia Stay away from Monsanto!
    Why do you think that All the wealthy people is US eat organically grown food?
    Monsanto is poisoning people.
    And unfortunately those are the hard working middle class or low wage class people. Very SAD that Monsanto attacking poor countries.
    It is loosing market for rich.
    So it goes to poor.

  12. Aida said:

    NO GMO in Armenia. Armenia Stay away from Monsanto. We want our generation be healthuy.

  13. Gevorg said:

    In Armenia the are many problems in agricukture sector, farmers get loans for about 25%, each time they need to water crops they spend 10 day begging here there to have that water reach their land. Their production 100% depends on buyers will, no contracts are respected. The farmers cannot buy simple pesticides, seeds, other supplemens, everything is troublef.
    Looks like the govt burocrats are not able to resolve or organise anything, but sudenly decided to spent tax money to invate monsanto? fo what?

  14. Gevorg said:

    In Armenia the are many problems in agriculture sector, farmers get loans for about 25% apr, to water crops each time they spend 7-10 days begging here there to have water reach their land. Their production 100% depends on buyers will, no contracts are respected. Farmers cannot buy simple pesticides, seeds, other supplemens without overpaying and troubles.
    Looks like the govt bureaucrats are not able to resolve or organise anything, but sudenly decided to spend tax money to “modernize” agriculture in armenia and invate monsanto? things cannot go more wrong!

  15. Edward Demian said:

    Is everyone here not aware that the European Union does not allow genetically modified products within its borders. So kiss goodbye exports to the European Union. True, Monsanto seeds are superior producers. But, they have some ironclad rules, that totally controls you. Armenia has a reputation for organic products. Once the GMO seed is used, it contaminates the neighboring farms, which now loose their organic certification. That renders the farmer first to use it, liable to lawsuits and damages by neighbouring farms. If Russia decides to reject
    European Unions products, or American farm products as retaliation for economic sanctions, Armenia could get trapped in between. It’s products unacceptable in the East or West. Organic food is a value added product.
    That’s not to say that all GMO products are bad. If Armenian agricultural geneticists were to develop better strains of grains, without the gratuitous use of accompanying pesticidedes, that would be great. Perhaps then Monsonto can have a good round of competition.

  16. joe said:

    It seems Armenia is next on the list. Monsanto is evil and peddles cancer and poison for profit. Its becoming virtually impossible in the USA to by natural seeds anymore. That’s by design. You don’t want any company to monopolize Your food source. Armenian Farmers should be hording natural seeds and SELLING NATURAL SEEDS FOR PROFIT all over.. It scares me because Armenian leaders are easily bribable.

  17. Dinosaurian said:

    Just dont let them touch the Armenian cucumber genome. Unlike English pickled cucumbers which are hard to grow, Wild Armenian cucumbers are easy to grow. They will tamper with the genes so you cant grow the cucumber that easy. That is unless you are a farmer! They will also hybrid all your Armenian peppers with Mexican chillys by recklessnessly allowing them to cross pollinate with each other! The Armenian cucumbers in the California already are too spicy because they already mixed !!

  18. Harout Bronozian said:

    This criminal regime in Armenia is destroying our environment, our economy, our people and now our food. Fight back! Armenia is not for sale! The US Embassy in Armenia by supporting Monsanto’s GMOs and Lydian’s Amulsar Gold Mine Project is interfering in the natural development of Armenia.
    Please zoom in to the Lydian Amulsar mine topography https://goo.gl/l5pWkJ and the aerial imagery https://goo.gl/G6wrbz to visualize the damages that can occur to the heart of the water supply in Armenia, including Jermuk and Lake Sevan, as a result of mining by a company with no track record, no guarantees and no performance bonds.

  19. Adam said:

    So if Armenia starts growing GMO food it is going to be harder to find market to sale oversea, also the prices going to be much chipper. After few years all Armenian agriculture becomes a Monsantos slave. Armenia trying to increase tourism from overseas, making tourism one of most important economic force for country. Organic, ethnic, traditional Armenian food, fruits, vegetable,clean water and air are best advertisement for tourism. With Monsanto all this apartunitis going to trash. My hoppe is gridy Armenian politicians and oligarchs who has big investment on Tourism business stop Monsanto, but same time this same people own the land and agriculture business. If they see bigger and faster money from Monsanto, God help Armenian people, if there is such a thing. One thing I do not understand, all this oversea Armenian organizations, Armenian famous, influential or rich people, Armenian church how they do not fight against corrupt and disgusting So called Armenian Government and their families.

  20. Nana said:

    Hoping Armenia will take on the action taken by Putin who banned all Monsanto seeds from Russia and is encouraging organic farming to his ppl. How can we educate Armenian villagers and decision makers?

  21. Peter said:

    My dear compatriots , you all are sitting in LA , Paris …… and you think you can decide what is right for Armenian farmers and citizens . Please keep your empty slogans to yourself , if you are specialist in the field of agriculture , then go to Armenian villages and show your better solution to the Armenian farmers until then ,stop being hypocrites

  22. Elka said:

    Great article. Years ago every vegetable & fruit was organic because genetically modified crops and seeds did not exist. Monsanto’s business should be banned from Armenia. Not only will Monsanto hurt local farmers economically ie. dependence but consumers will not be consuming healthy products and exports to EU and other parts of the world will not exist,as GMOs are banned, further damaging the economy. Armenia, protect your God given wealth of nature which sustains your people–agriculture, mining reaources etc.

  23. Aram said:

    The Republic Armenia should not repeat the same mistakes and say NO to Monsanto. It’s a disaster !

  24. Ludwig Boyadjian said:

    My fellow Armenians and the Armenian Government. Please stay away from Monsanto. All they want is your money. Their products is not beneficial. Grow your products as you usually grow naturally. Do not be influenced by any sweet talk. Be good.

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