December 22, 2013

The Stolen Sarpo Mira Potato

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms — Tags: — Russ @ 4:30 am


Here’s a typical case study in the biopiracy and corporate welfare upon which GMOs depend.
The Sarpo Mira potato is a public domain blight-resistant variety which is part of the ongoing breeding project in which farmers are always engaged. It was developed by Ireland’s Sarvari Trust. Britain’s BBSRC, a government body, handed out over 750K pounds of taxpayer money to a corporate laboratory to steal this potato and engineer it with additional traits pirated from other public domain varieties. They’re calling the result some kind of great technological achievement, but in fact the genetic engineering process accomplished nothing which conventional breeding can’t accomplish better and at far less cost. This is assuming the crop works at all and doesn’t suffer from the inherent weaknesses common to GMOs, and isn’t toxic the way GMOs often are.
This is standard in GMO development. In almost every case, the cartel rips off an existing public domain variety and modifies it to be resistant to herbicides or to ooze its own pesticide. That’s all GMOs are – perfectly good regular crops pirated and turned into poisons.
This is especially true in the case of alleged special trait GMOs like “drought-resistant GMOs”. These too are invariably pre-existing drought-resistant varieties stolen and modified to be poisonous.
Meanwhile there’s no special funding for the potato’s real innovators to work on the resistance traits, since in a system dominated by corporations, money goes almost exclusively to projects whose only goal is to further corporate imperatives of profit, enclosure, control, and domination. That’s why the system expends vast amounts of public money to develop a dubious, shoddy product when we could have a better product at far less cost. 
This perfectly describes the entire GMO project. GMOs are a crappy product and serve no agricultural or social purpose whatsoever. By every measure non-GM conventional agriculture is superior, and organic agriculture is vastly superior. The only exception to this rule is that GMOs are the weapon by which a handful of corporations and governments seek total domination over food and agriculture, and from there over broad swaths of the economy and politics.



  1. I helped to advance a municipal resolution against GMOs nearly ten years ago and my deep concerns about them and the inadequate safeguards to protect us all from the potential damages have only deepened since then. But intemperate, emotive namecalling with incomplete information and data does not help much.and, I fear, only undercuts the legitimate struggle to bring this corporate assault on food under rein.

    Comment by Hendrik D. Gideonse — December 22, 2013 @ 9:40 am

    • If you think this laid-back post is “intemperate”, I have some others which would shock you silly. But even there I’m quite restrained, given what those who poison our food, water, soil, and bodies deserve.

      Praytell what “legitimate struggle” are you referring to? The only legitimate struggle is wherever abolitionists fight to win.

      Comment by Russ — December 22, 2013 @ 10:41 am

    • Agree with Russ’s reply. I would add that given the degree of the assault by corporations on the environment and virtually everything else that is in the public good and for the public via their ownership of our government, a little intemperance is necessary at this point.

      Comment by trish anderson — December 22, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

    • @Hendrick, “Steal, pirate, cartel, poisonous, domination, dubious, shoddy…” These are all accurate terms to synopsize the diagnostics of the GMO “assault” (your words). It IS an assault and a bloody one at that. Slow drip poisons just don’t have the same shock and awe as a drone strike or a pistol shot, but we must treat them as the equal if not greater threats to humans and the planet. There’s no reason to use kid’s gloves when describing the severity of the crises and intentions of the institutions involved in the crime. I might recommend reading a few more of Russ’s posts on the subject. They are informed and well-sourced. We are all in this together and you might learn something.

      Comment by Pete — December 27, 2013 @ 11:54 am

  2. “Incomplete information and data”? Can Hendrik D. Gideonse please elaborate on this? I also missed the “intemperate name-calling”. No doubt Vandana Shiva and Jeffrey Smith are behaving intemperately, as is Sofia Gatica.

    Comment by DualPersonality — December 24, 2013 @ 10:42 pm

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