Eliván Martínez reports in Mi Puerto Rico Verde (miprv.com) about Monsanto’s experiments in Puerto Rico with crops including corn, sorghum, cotton and transgenic soy. The journalist points out that the paradox that, while agriculture is dying on the island, last year Puerto Rico was the fifth most important center for transgenic research of the entire United States, after Iowa, Illinois, Hawaii, and Nebraska. In the first article of a three-part series, Martínez writes:
Here there is a reality that the Government hides and sponsors: the island is an important center for eight companies, seven of them multinationals, which are developing the first generations of genetically modified seeds to be distributed to United States and around the world. The fields of control of these corporations are spreading to public and private estates, especially the best arable lands in the southern part of the island where, in the past century, her Majesty—the sugar cane—ruled, supported by landowners who sought to keep hold of the land.
Most of these seed producers occupy more than the limit of 500 acres that are allowed by Puerto Rico’s Constitution, while they receive juicy benefits from the Government as well as the Promotion and Development of Enterprises of Agricultural Biotechnology Act [in place since 2009 and promoted by Governor Luis Fortuño], which was tailor-made to favor these companies. Among these is the main seed producer in the planet, Monsanto, which holds a lease on 1,500 acres of land between Juana Díaz, Santa Isabel, Isabela, and Aguadilla. Of these acres, 500 belong to public property managed by the Land Authority, and the rest belongs mostly to Sucesión Serralles in several villages of the South, as confirmed by Juan Santiago, Chief of Operations in Puerto Rico for this multinational.
But to have more than 500 acres represents a clear violation the Constitution of Puerto Rico (which prohibits an agricultural corporation to possess more than 500 acres). Section 14 of Article VI was once aimed to keep U.S. landowners from establishing a monopoly and displacing small local farmers.
Are we facing a new colonization of agriculture? Is it the beginning of a new monopoly? [. . .] The events of agricultural history are repeating themselves. “As was the case with several sugar corporations over the past century, one of these companies, Monsanto, changes its name to access more land than is allowed under the law,” says a source at the Center for Investigative Journalism. [. . .] Monsanto Caribbean LLC had been incorporated in 2004 by Carlos Morales Figueroa, who was the vice-president of the company at that time. Two years later, he incorporated Monsanto AG Products LLC.]
[. . .] Among these corporations are the German company Bayer CropScience LP (Sabana Grande), the Swiss company Syngenta AG (in Juana Díaz and Salinas), and U.S. companies AgReliant Genetics LLC (headquartered in Santa Isabel), Dow Agrosciences LLC (in Santa Isabel), Illinois Crop Improvement Association Inc. (Juana Díaz), Rice Tec Inc (in Lajas), and the second largest seed producer of GM crops in the world, Pioneer Hi-Breed (in Salinas, Santa Isabel, Guayama, Juana Díaz). Joining this group is the Puerto Rican company 3rd Millennium Genetics Inc. (Santa Isabel).
Between them they produced about $70 million last year, according to Juan Carlos Justiniano, owner of 3rd Millennium Genetics Inc. Despite the profits they obtained on the island and the multi-million dollar business deals that they have around the world, the Government of Puerto Rico gives them the same tax exemptions that they give to a bona fide local farmer.
For the full article, see http://www.miprv.com/puerto-rico-el-experimento-caribeno-de-monsanto/