Dispelling Myths

There is a lot of misinformation about Monsanto on the Internet that – after being repeated numerous times in different articles and social media – has now evolved into “myths” about who we are and what we do. We want to hear people’s concerns, and we are committed to answering your questions.

MYTH: “Monsanto has a patent for GM marijuana”

FACT: Monsanto is not working on GM cannabis anywhere, nor have we worked on it in the past. This allegation is an Internet rumor and is not true. To our knowledge, no one else in the agricultural industry is working on GM cannabis either.

We would also like to clarify that, currently; there are nine (9) genetically modified crops commercially available to farmers in the US market. Monsanto produces and sells seeds for eight (8) of these GM crops, which are alfalfa, canola, field corn, sweet corn, cotton, soybeans, summer squash, and sugar beets. Specifically in Puerto Rico, Monsanto’s operations consist of agricultural biotechnology and breeding research to develop the best soybeans, cotton and corn seeds for farmers through advanced breeding.

MYTH: “Monsanto is killing the bees with its pesticides”

beeFACT: The phenomenon in which bees are disappearing abruptly from an otherwise healthy colony is called the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The USDA confirms that there are many causes for this, including pathogens or diseases, poor nutrition and pesticides. We at Monsanto take the ecological safety of our products very seriously.

When used properly and according to label directions, pesticides can be applied without negative effects on bee health. We have comprehensive stewardship programs to inform our farmers, applicators and cooperators about the safe use of our products and best management practices. We’re also involved in trying to find solutions to this phenomenon.

MYTH: “Monsanto hoards all the best agricultural land in Puerto Rico”

_GCP4133FACT: This is false. Monsanto has been operating in Puerto Rico since 1998 and owns several properties in Puerto Rico for research and development, biotechnology, breeding and cultivation of soybeans, cotton and corn seeds. In addition to our operations, we lease a portion of our land to small- and medium-sized local farmers who farm the land as part of their independent operations. Monsanto Caribe and the rest of the Puerto Rican biotechnology sector employ approximately 20% of the entire Puerto Rican agricultural workforce, while managing less than 2% – less than 10,000 cuerdas – of the total arable land in Puerto Rico. According to data from local, state and federal agencies, there are more than 580,000 cuerdas of agricultural land in the Island, of which approximately 125,000 cuerdas are currently cultivated.

MYTH: “GMOs are not made to solve world hunger, that’s a myth, world hunger continues to be a big problem”

MVI_4057.MOV.Still002_Filter_FlattenFACT: When we talk about “feeding the world” we’re referring to tackling global food security challenges. As our Chief Technology Officer Dr. Robb Fraley has noted, “The world’s population, which has been climbing rapidly for more than a century, is expected to increase by about 2 billion more by 2050, to between 9 and 10 billion — an increase of about 30 percent. But because global prosperity also will increase over the next few decades, many people will have the opportunity to improve their diets, and global food demand actually will increase much more quickly…” This increase in both population and prosperity increases the demand for food grown from the seeds that we and other companies like us sell. You can read more about these challenges and others, like how to meet these demands for more food in the face of climate change, in a blog Robb authored on the Huffington Post.

Feeding the world is a big task, and we want to help. But, we know we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re working with partners all over the world to come up with solutions that help make a balanced plate more accessible to everyone. One of the initiatives we’re involved in to help make this happen is the WEMA (Water Efficient Maize for Africa) project. WEMA is an effort to help countries in sub-Saharan Africa address challenges they can’t avoid, such as droughts. Partnering with other global organizations committed to our same ambitious goal, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and many others, is just one way that we can make a difference. You can learn more about our commitment to feeding the world’s growing population at Discover Monsanto.

If you’d like to know more about these and other myths about our company, please visit our “Just Plain False” webpage.