The demonstration took place on Friday (struggled to find a decent Internet connection to get the video online until today). A friend of mine got sick and we had to leave Hinche (in Haiti’s Central Plateau) for Port-au-Prince just before they were to burn the seeds in symbolic protest.
Mark Hare, an agronomist from Ohio who’s worked with Mouveman Peyizan Papay for years, explained how Haitian farmers will be roped into a dependence on hybrid Monsanto seeds. Monsanto released an indignant statement responding to the protest the day it took place, insisting the donated seeds won’t hurt Haitian farmers in any way. Further reading here and here.
I didn’t get into it much in the video, but most of the marchers I spoke with also slammed Haitian President Rene Preval for “doing nothing” in response to the earthquake and accepting the seed donation. Wearing straw hats stamped with “Down with Preval” and “Down with Monsanto,” the peasants (young kids, old women, wiry farmers alike) marched from the MPP’s headquarters in Papay for nearly three hours past mango trees and fields to the larger town of Hinche. As they began rallying in the town’s public plaza, I had to go.
I’ll continue following this issue closely, but in the meantime, check out Al Jazeera English’s report looking at the controversy over the seeds.