26 June 1998
Monsanto under attack in Bangladesh

MONSANTO has announced a deal with Bangladeshs Grameen Bank, under which it would aim to bring some of Monsantos agricultural technology to low-income villages.

But environmental organisations have attacked the plan “as a very unfortunate development”.

Grameen has been pioneering in supporting the idea of “micro-credit” lending in developing countries.

Monsantos deal with the bank will involve it investing an initial $150,000 in a new centre in Dhaka and providing local farmers with access to some of its technologies.

Monsanto said initially it would supply “traditional” hybrid seed technology and stocks, since Bangladesh lacked a regulatory regime to cope with genetically-modified (GM) crops. But it did not rule out an expansion to GM technology in the future.

Greenpeace, the environmental organisation, said that if the initiative did lead to the supply of GM traits it would be a “very unfortunate development”. A spokesman added that part of Monsantos strategy has been to supply seeds engineered to tolerate its own herbicides, which could have the adverse effect of promoting the use of these chemicals in developing countries.

  • Financial Times 26/06/98 page 28