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  • In August 2016 I went to India and Bangladesh to document the situation of small farmers fighting the expansion of industrial agriculture for Global Justice Now. The resulting work was used by GJN in the Monsanto Tribunal in the Hague, where the seed and pesticide corporation faced an international court where witnesses from across the globe were called because they had suffered human rights abuses, threats to their communities and destruction of their environment.

    In India, Monsanto has a tight grip on cotton growing with a 90% market share in cotton seeds. Its business model shores up its control of agriculture as farmers are pushed into uncontrollable debt because of expensive seeds and chemicals. Over the past twenty years nearly 300,000 farmers have committed suicide in India.

    But there are positive alternatives to these corporate-controlled seeds. In Bangladesh the community-led organisation, UBINIG has established an extensive seed saving network which enables the exchange and preservation of a wide range of seeds. This seed diversity is key to maintaining biodiversity as well as building resilience to climate change and pests. It also helps farmers build local resistance to the corporate takeover of their food system.