March Against Monsanto…7th June Newsletter

greenergreens march for monsanto

We have some UK new potatoes … A fortnight ago I mentioned that UK maincrop potatoes (in store from last year) are either non-existent or off such poor quality that we will not purchase them. The maincrop potato plants in our growers’ fields at present are developing better than the earlies which is likely to result in the maincrop producing tubers (“spuds” to you and me) before the earlies…which is a little counter-intuitive to say the least, and certainly not usual. In any event potato crops are expected to be significantly less that “normal” (when will we no longer be able to use that word credibly)!
New potatoes were starting to come through from Spain but I feared that we would be waiting a while for UK potatoes of any description. Imagine my delight when I learnt early last week that we would be offered some new pots from Cornwall (growers from the South West have fared much better than those in the South East and particularly East Anglia). But the greatest surprise was when I received a call from one of our growers in Wisbech “Would you like any new potatoes. I have a limited amount, some small and some large”! Remember that earlies or new potatoes are lifted (dug up) for eating and not storing so supply is limited and the price is higher than maincrops. There is always a much higher demand for the small potatoes therefore they command a higher price.

After the Monsanto march… 
We received reports back from several clients who attended the March Against Monsanto demonstration in London late last month. It appears to have been an exhilarating event albeit a bit disorganised. However worldwide demonstrations occurred in 400 cities in 52 countries apparently involving 2 million people.There has been much comment about the lack of coverage of the marches with neither CNN or BBC providing any coverage at all – online or via other media. On the face of it this would appear to be unusual, or even strange…but let’s not fall into the conspiracy theory trap! I must confess that I found all of the media reporting on the march extremely boring – all being extracts from the press release presumably by the organisers.But then last week Reuters and others ran the story that Monsanto is halting its efforts to lobby European governments to allow the cultivation of its genetically modified plants and seeds, news that emanated from an interview between a spokesperson of Monsanto Germany and a German newspaper, Taz. “We have come to understand that, at the moment, it doesn’t have broad acceptance,” said the spokesperson. “It’s counterproductive to fight against windmills.” Wonderful news you might say! The protesters have made their mark! But a further report written by a scientist who has been at the heart of GMO analysis put quite a different slant on this. On studying actual statements made on the Monsanto German & St Louis, US websites their messages are contradictory. What he does conclude, however, that the interview was a PR tactic by Monsanto, the executives of which have been unnerved by the march which was organised primarily via Facebook … a novel and not easily controllable element…the likes of which Monsanto (and other corporates) have not learnt to master.

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