Not long ago Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company (and several times voted “the world’s most evil corporation”), caused alarm amongst environmentalists by launching a hostile take over bid for Syngenta, the world’s largest crop chemical producer.
The bid was ultimately unsuccessful, but it now appears that the proposed takeover was merely a precursor for a much larger feeding frenzy within the agrochemical industry.
Monsanto is back in the news again, this time playing the role of prey rather than stalker, subject to a proposed takeover by Bayer, the world’s largest chemical company.
In the meantime, Syngenta finds itself once again the subject of a proposed takeover – this time by the state-owned China National Chemical Corporation, a vast conglomerate which in recent years has swallowed up other chemical companies in Europe.
Not to be outdone, Dow Chemical Company, the world’s third largest chemical company is proposing a merger with its rival DuPont, the fourth largest chemical company in the world. Together they would form another hugely powerful global chemical corporation.
What could possibly be fuelling such activity?
We live in a world with a population growing out of control. Simultaneously we are losing arable land at an alarming rate. If we are to survive as a species one imperative is to find a way to optimise agricultural production, to have a system which is sustainable and which can withstand or even help combat climate change.
This is not a world that sits easily with the prospect of these proposed mergers and acquisitions. If they all come to fruition, the six biggest agrochemical companies in the world would become three. They would have a stranglehold not only over the agricultural chemicals and seeds markets but over governments too.
Those three, vastly powerful corporations would form an irresistible force propelling us more and more towards a highly chemical dependent agriculture, awash with the artificial fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides which they produce. They would be determined to lock us deeper and deeper into the current, failed, corrupt system of industrial agricultural production and would make it much harder for any government to bring in legislative change in favour of a less chemical dependent and more sustainable agriculture.
Summer is finally upon us, and with it comes the strawberry season. With just three ingredients, this lovely sorbet could hardly be easier to put together.
Use home grown or locally grown strawberries, and only use organic: non-organic strawberries are notorious for containing pesticide and fungicide residues (and we know where they come from).
400 g fresh organic strawberries
50 ml organic maple syrup
juice of half a lemon
1. Hull the strawberries. Place in a blender with the lemon juice and process to a smooth pulp. Alternatively, mash the strawberries and lemon juice with a fork.
2. Pour the pulp into a bowl through a fine sieve, to remove the seeds. Add the maple syrup and whisk to combine. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes then pour into an ice cream maker and churn. Once it is starting to set, tip the sorbet into a freezer proof container. Cover the container with a lid and freeze for at least 4 hours.
3. Remove the sorbet from the freezer and leave to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.