The Effect of Food

Protest against Monsanto in Nepal. Photo by Sascha Fuller

Photo by Sascha Fuller

A common concern of people is to wonder what is actually in the food that we digest. Being brought up in a Portuguese household has given me an avid love for food but my mother always advised me to never eat anything that I didn’t know where it was from. To this day I can’t buy a food without looking at the label that tells me exactly what is inside. Therefore I am quite aware of the ongoing battle farmers are having with Monsanto and the GMO industries.

This has recently become a problem in Nepal, described in Sascha Fuller’s Article “Behind the Scenes”.  This is caused by their government signing a partnership with Monsanto. Monsanto is “an agriculture multinational [company] who control[s] the global seed, pesticide and agricultural biotechnology markets”. The idea of having Monsanto in Nepal, on their small rural farms, was threatening to people. Agriculture was the largest source of income in their economy. Therefore these people decided to get together to find a solution.

This idea of Monsanto coming to Nepal affected the native people because they saw it as threatening their culture. They felt that they were losing rights to their food and their farming. Many activist groups got involved to fight this corporate monster. They did things such as getting signatures saying no to Monsanto, and delivering this to the prime minister. In response to this “the Government’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOAC) spokesperson came out and vehemently denied an agreement to partner with USAID and Monsanto had taken place.”

This overwhelming response to this partnership shows many things about culture. It shows that when something affects a cultural and economic aspect of a culture people tend to come together as a community. Even more so when they feel it directly effects their traditions. In Nepal old and young came together for what they believed in.

Monsanto has made many partnerships in other places as well, such as the United States. The same response occurred but on a smaller scale. This has not had the same effect on the government, or the same response by communities; this is most likely because of the cultural importance of farming to people in Nepal. This shows the importance in people’s cultures even in things such as economic matters.