Monsanto and Smallholder Farmers: a case study in CSR
ABSTRACT This paper explores the case of the Monsanto Smallholder
Programme (SHP), an initiative implemented by the US-based transnational biotechnology, agri-chemicals and seeds company, Monsanto, between 1999 and 2002. The programme was intended to provide a package of agricultural extension support to ‘smallholders’ in selected developing countries. Based on empirical research in the USA and India, the paper examines why Monsanto came to undertake such an initiative, and how the company designed and implemented the programme. The paper traces the evolution of the SHP over time and discusses the reasons why it was suddenly terminated in 2002. Drawing on insights from the literature on corporate social responsibility (CSR), the paper argues that the SHP represented an attempt to ‘mainstream’ the values and principles of sustainability into Monsanto’s operations, but that this led to the distinctive philanthropic and developmental aspects of the programme being undermined by competing commercial and ﬁnancial pressures.
The Monsanto Smallholder Programme (SHP) was an initiative undertaken by the transnational biotechnology, chemicals and seeds company Monsanto between 1999 and 2002. The SHP had the stated purpose of providing ‘resource poor’, ‘smallholder’ farmers with a package of agricultural extension services, including technical advice, chemicals, improved seeds and genetically modiﬁed (GM) traits, as well as other forms of support. This paper, based on recent empirical research in the USA and India, examines why a transnational company like Monsanto came to undertake such an initiative and how the company designed and implemented the programme. The paper traces the origins of the programme, explores how it evolved over time and discusses the reasons why it came to be terminated prematurely at the end of 2002. The case of the... [continues]
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