Human Rights

Monsanto Human Rights Program 

Human Rights are those basic standards or values without which people cannot live in dignity.

Monsanto is committed to the protection and advancement of Human Rights within our company and among our business partners and in 2006 established a robust Human Rights Policy in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The impact in India has been to reduce child labor and improve farm safety.

Child Care Program in India:

Monsanto India's Human Rights Child Care Program (CCP) is built on five pillars:

  1. A Child Care Program Steering Committee setup to direct the farmer program. 
  2. ‘No Child Labor’ Clauses in Farmer and Third-Party Contracts.
  3. Massive Farmer Awareness Campaign – posters, door-to-door visits, leaflets, a Farmer Social Pledge.
  4. Field Audits - Seed Coordinators, Production Managers, External Auditors and CCP Members conduct surprise visits.
  5. Incentive/ Disincentive Schemes – Farmers employing only adult labor receive an additional incentive which helps them afford adult labor and discourages the thought of employing child labor in the future. Villages with zero child labor are also recognized as model villages.

These efforts have helped farmers reduce child labor on Indian hybrid cotton seed production fields from 20 per cent in 2004 (prior to Monsanto acquiring its hybrid cotton seed brand) to less than 0.5 per cent in 2014. Our field reporting and tracking is acknowledged by the United States Department of Labor. Similar program is in place for corn and vegetables since 2009 and continuous improvement has been seen. Child labour numbers have been reduced to less than 0.5 percent in these crops too. Monsanto also partners with NGOs to promote school education and contribute to other critical needs of communities like water, health, sanitation and women empowerment.

Farm Safety Program:

The Monsanto India field production team of almost 500 fulltime and contracted field staff has designed a unique snake anti-venom program in place since 2008. The program involves a systematic approach of identifying snake-bite prone locations in seed production villages, placing appropriate number of anti-venom kits with local doctors, and creating awareness amongst growers on the proper response to a snake bite. This program is spread around the India states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Haryana where it impacts 30000 growers spread over 2600 remote villages with a population of 6 million people. Since it was launched 6 years ago, the anti-venom serum has been used to save 63 lives. A total of 30 anti-venom kits are placed across these locations and the entire field team/growers are made aware of places where they are located and whom to contact in case of emergency. Training of field teams/ growers is conducted and handouts are distributed amongst rural communities to increase awareness. When a kit is used, it is replaced by Monsanto so that subsequent bite victims can also be treated.

Other farm safety initiatives include farm level demonstrations conducted on using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as a protection against pesticide sprays, fencing of open wells and identification and remediation of electrical hazards as these situations are quite common in rural areas and have a potential risk.