Monsanto, a giant, U.S. based agribusiness, is being charged with biopiracy in India. The government plans to charge the company with violating biodiversity laws set by the country, over an eggplant that was genetically modified by the company.
Indian farmers are upset with these major agricultural businesses who are genetically modifying crops, because they are taking business away from these local farmers and are destroying traditional crops, and threatening the farmers livelihood.
Last month, India announced that it is going to pursue charges against Monsanto for "stealing" an indiginous crop, (the eggplant), and creating a modified version of it without permission. This is a violation of India's 10-year-old Biological Diversity Act. This is the first biopiracy prosecution of a company in the country, and maybe even in the world. The Indian farmers argue that their strain of eggplant has been developed and grown in India over generations, and Monsanto doesn't have the right to come in and take that from them and make their own product out of the indiginous plant.
This is not the first time the Monsanto Corporation has caused a big controversy due to genetically modified crops. Several years ago the company introduced genetically modifeid cotton to India, which failed misurably and had a huge negative impact on the local farmers, as well as the company itself. The cotton crops failed in the Indian market, and caused farmers growing the crops to have enourmous debts. In fact the impact on the farmers in the area were so bad, that this caused thousands of them to commit suicide, due to their debts.
Monsanto has alot at stake when it comes to this case, as India is one of the biggest markets they deal with, where sales to the country now stand at around $7-billion per year. This is a huge market that the company does not want to lose.
Here is a write up and a video regarding this on going case against Monsanto Corp.