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Haitian Farmers Suspicious of Seed Donation

Some farmers in earthquake-ravaged Haiti are voicing concerns about the donation of $4 million worth of seeds from U.S. agricultural giant Monsanto.

Farmers' groups say they fear Haiti will lose its peasant agriculture. They say they do not want the farms of Haiti overtaken by multinational corporations like Monsanto.

Monsanto says an online smear campaign about its 475-ton donation of seeds is "imaginative" and inaccurate. The corporation says its critics falsely accused the company of donating genetically modified seed.

Monsanto says it is sending hybrid seeds to Haiti. The company says a donation of hybrid seed to Malawi "turned a region from a food aid recipient to a food exporter."

Hybrid seed is produced from a cross between two different plant varieties aimed at producing higher yields of stronger plants.

Monsanto says the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture approved the seed donation to ensure the selected seeds are appropriate for Haitian growing conditions and farming practices.

The first 60 tons of corn and vegetable seeds from Monsanto arrived in Haiti in May. Upcoming seed shipments will include cabbage, carrot, eggplant, onion, tomato, spinach and watermelon.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.