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The World According to Monsanto

2008 | 109 min | Recommended min. age: 16 y

Monsanto is the global market leader for genetically modified organisms, (GMOs) with operations in forty-six countries. 90% of todays recorded seed genetics, including corn, soy, rape seed, and cotton, are either Monsanto products or partially patented by Monsanto. This company’s practices are widely disputed and often subject to criticism by those affected and opponents of globalization.

From its founding in 1901, Monsanto has been involved in countless legal battles due to the dangerous nature of its products. Today, Monsanto “wants to control all seeds and make all food his property” according to one farmer in “The World According to Monsanto”. In India, Monsanto has bought up almost all companies that sell cotton seed. Now, farmers can only purchase the genetically modified Monsanto seed, at four-times the original price. In order to afford the seeds at all, farmers are taking on huge debts. If their harvest fails, they can lose everything.

Another unhappy group are soybean producers from the USA. As one affected person said, “Monsanto spreads fear and dread among farmers”. The soybean genes are patented and owned by Monsanto -a kind of copyright protection- the farmers are not allowed to retain anything from the harvest in order to sow it the next year. Monsanto’s “gene police” are sent to uncover any such infringements and the farmers are subject to court.

This documentary is based on previously unpublished documents and interviews with victims, scientists, representatives of citizen’s initiatives, lawyers and politicians. Director Marie-Monique Robin travelled around North and South America, as well as Europe and Asia for three years to reconstruct the history of today’s most powerful seed bank.

Monsanto’s clean and environmentally friendly image -promoted by relentless advertising- develops some serious cracks. Can basic livelihoods and their cultivation coexist in a company policy which mercilessly pursues monopoly and market leadership?

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