Percy Schmeiser is being sued by Monsanto
Chemical giant Monsanto is leading the corporate take-over of the world's staple food crops. At the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Greenpeace and a coalition of non-government organisations told Monsanto to "get out of our food".
Thousands of messages stamped on paper plates were handed out while Greenpeace volunteers hung the banner, "Monsanto out of our Food" from the roof of the company's headquarters in Porto Alegre.
Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, who is being sued by the company, was at the protest. Schmeiser's organic plantation was contaminated by a neighbour's GM crop. Now Monsanto is suing Schmeiser for selling GM soya without paying the royalties for the patent.
The World Social Forum believes "another world is possible." This world is based on justice and sustainability and is not dominated by irresponsible global corporations. The first World Social Forum took place in 2001, to counter the World Economic Forum. More than 100,000 people from all nations have gathered in Porto Alegre for the 2003 World Social Forum.
Corporate control of food crops is one of the key issues to be tackled at this year's Forum. Monsanto is responsible for over 90 percent of all genetically modified crops grown in the world. It has tried to have its GM soya legally approved within Brazil for many years. GM soya was actually banned from Brazil, following legal action taken by Greenpeace and the consumer organisation IDEC.
Despite the ban, GM soya has been illegally planted in some Brazilian fields and has been discovered in food products.
Monsanto makes GM seeds to increase the volume of chemicals - such as the herbicide Roundup - that it sells. GM crops survive when Roundup is sprayed on them. All other plant life is killed.
Monsanto has spent billions of dollars buying up seed companies in recent years and now dominates maize and soya seed markets in North and South America and in Asia. Roundup is now the world's largest selling herbicide and the company's main source of profit.
Monsanto benefits from the sale of its seeds and herbicides. Farmers (like Percy Schmeiser), consumers and the environment do not.