Corporate globalization has established production chains that leap across many borders, exploiting working people at every stop along the way until it brings their goodies to the consumers in the global North. “Bitter Seeds” is part of Miche X. Peled’s globalization trilogy that dramatizes the human cost of these global assembly lines that stretch from India to China and finally to the U.S. [“China Blue” and “Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town” are the other two. ]
“Bitter Seeds” is the story of one farmer in India where every 30 minutes a farmer kills himself in despair because he can no longer provide for his family. Will Ramkrishna be next? A cotton farmer at the epicenter of the suicide crisis region, he is struggling to keep his land. Manjusha, the neighbors’ daughter, is determined to overcome village traditions and become a journalist. Ramkrishna’s plight becomes her first assignment.
In a land that has grown cotton for centuries, why do India’s farmers now find themselves in such desperate situations? Following a U.S. complaint to the World Trade Organization, India had to open its doors to foreign seed companies like Monsanto. Now only their genetically modifies seeds are available. GM seeds are more expensive, need additional fertilizers and insecticides and must be repurchased every season. And they failed to produce the higher yield promised. It is the poor cotton farmers of India that pay the price for that failure.