(Health Secrets) U.S. usurpers of power worldwide such as Monsanto, are now trying to force expensive and unproven genetically modified crops and foods to African nations that don’t want them. A report released recently last by Friends of the Earth International, said the world’s top producer of GM crops is actively looking for new markets to peddle its tainted wares. And there appears little in place to protect Africans from becoming fodder for the chemical giant.
“The US administration’s strategy consists of assisting African nations to produce biosafety laws that promote agribusiness interests instead of protecting Africans from the potential threats of GM crops,” said Haidee Swanby from the African Centre for Biosafety, the group authoring the report.
Consistent with historical precedent showing Monsanto will stop at nothing to get what it wants, the report reveals how the company influences biosafety legislation in African countries to gain regulatory approval for it its genetically altered products, the most widely used being GM maize (corn).
So far, only four African counties have accepted GM crops commercially, but the issuance of those crops is highly charged and contentious, particularly regarding maize, because it is the staple food of millions there. The dangers of large corporate domination of the food supply were in focus only four years ago, when GM yellow corn seed failed to germinate properly, causing a shortage in South Africa.
Just seven countries in Africa now have biosafety laws in place, leaving the others open to be plundered by the likes of Monsanto and other companies with their eye on this vast area. “African governments must protect their citizens and our rights must be respected,” said Mariann Bassy Orovwuje, reflecting the desires of many Africans who do not wish to be exploited.
Although Monsanto and other companies selling GM seeds and the chemicals that go with them have made tremendous inroads, the spread of GM crops has been curtailed by biosafety laws in place in the EU. In the US, consumers still have a choice and many have used that choice to go thumbs down on GM food in favor of sustainable organic agriculture and permaculture.
South African farmers have been cultivating GM maize, soy and cotton since at least the turn of the century, but the advertised promise that these crops would be their salvation has not come to fruition. Today their harvests are on the decline and about 50% of its people are classified as not having food security.
The South African experience confirms that GM crops can only bring financial benefits for a small number of well-resourced farmers. The vast majority of African farmers are small farmers who cannot afford to adopt expensive crops which need polluting inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and chemicals to perform effectively, said Swanby.
Last month millions of small scale food producers were represented in an international forum in Mali. The general consensus was that GM crops are part of the problem, not part the solution to the hunger crisis. They believe that food sovereignty and eco-farming is key to food security.
Eco-farming is gaining endorsements because it outperforms the yield from GM crops and produces more food, said a report from the United Nations that debunked the myth that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the answer to ending world hunger. The report explained that small scale eco-farming and the use of natural farming methods are superlative to the GMO system and other systems based on pesticide use, and they produce more food and higher quality food. The report went on to say that if eco-farming were more widely implemented, it could actually double the world’s capacity for food production within ten years.
Under eco-farming models, small scale growers are free to plant and exchange seed, but under the authoritarian genetically modified system, it is punishable crime to save or exchange seed.
“Today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live — especially in unfavorable environments,” said Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur. “To date, agroecological projects have shown an average crop yield increase of 80 percent in 57 developing countries, with an average increase of 116 percent for all African projects. Recent projects conducted in 20 African countries demonstrated a doubling of crop yields over a period of three to ten years.”
Instead of relying on chemical pesticides and insecticides, eco-farming utilizes nature’s own balance to thwart pests and improve yields. Certain combinations of trees, plants, animals, and insects are used to maintain soil health and eliminate harmful pests. Beneficial insects like ladybugs, for instance, work very well in organic agriculture to protect crops from pests without the need for harsh chemical applications.
Unlike GMOs, eco-farming allows the people to freely grow and harvest their own food, and take advantage of what nature offers them in order to do so. Within the GMO paradigm, however, farmers are controlled by companies like Monsanto that sell them self-destructing Frankenseeds. These seeds require heavy pesticide applications in order to grow, and represent an unsustainable system that has devastated the livelihoods of thousands of farmers while failing to deliver on its promises.
De Schutter explained in his address that when the African country of Malawi replaced its “massive chemical fertilizer subsidy program” with agroecology, more than 1.3 million of the poorest people in the nation benefited, and corn yields increased from one ton per hectare to up to three ton per hectare.
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