By Hwaa Irfan
The sense of desperation is a compromising situation to be in, especially, when a basic essential like food and water seems to be diminishing or increasingly not within one’s price range, but this is precisely the forces behind the food price crisis is intentionally creating in order to bolster the take up of GM crops. Once, Gm crops hit South Africa, the whole of the continent was in trouble, because many evidenced based reports in the West have shown how invasive GM crops can be, how they reduce the growth of non-GM crops, and how easily they spread via the air, and the water supply.
If those in authority in African countries think they have found a solution to growing hunger through GM crops, they had better start finding the means to help the thousands of Africans who will become seriously ill as a result of consumption of such foods, and the debilitating effect it will have on generations to come. African logic definitely flew out the window by taking on a form of science that is seriously lacking in hard evidence, the aim of which is big profits for the companies that produce the GM seeds etc. Logic also flew out the window, when it did not explore the issue of patenting, and TRIPS, which could mean that the crops actually belong to the companies like Monsanto. This is in fact another form of land grabbing, which ensures that the multinational companies get richer, and the users of the products get poorer and sicker as soil fertility become compromised. This is why the West and other regions look to Africa as consumers that can maintain Western profit-margins!
Burkina Faso, Egypt, and South Africa, have started cultivating GM crops, while Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe are carryout field tests, some of the above results of which will take effect before they have reached a decision. On a continent that is seriously suffering from climatic changes and water security is an issue, GM crops demand a lot of water. The Tanzanian cotton Board has approved Bt cotton, which again, many evidenced based reports have proven to be a hazard. This is more than implied by the governing clauses, which removes the companies and stakeholders of GM crops from any liability as follows:
‘a person who imports, arranges transit, makes use of, releases or places on the market a GMO or product of a GMO shall be strictly liable for any harm caused by such a GMO or product of a GMO’ and that ‘the harm shall be compensated’. In a previously GM-free country, the alliance wants to base the assessment of GM crop safety on the precautionary principle, and state that ‘GM crops or animals are not the solution to poverty and hunger’ in the region.
This means that any harm to land, agriculture, and population cannot be contested in a court of law, and the governments will have to pay the long term price! Already one can look to the South African experience where:
– GM corn do not produce kernels in a proportion of plants
– Crop yield is low, with an 80% drop in corn production
To be frank, this might be a blessing in disguise if the land will not yield to such production!
A coalition of NGOs have taken up the cudgel, though looking at the recent successes in South American countries to reclaim what is theirs, one wonders if the approach of the coalition is too little too late.
The coalition includes the African Centre for Biodiversity, Action Aid, International Tanzania, Biolands, BioRe, BioSustain, Envirocare, PELUM Tanzania, Swissaid, Eastern & Southern African Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF) and the Tanzania Alliance. The aim is to make governments resist taking on GM companies and stakeholders, which USAID has been exercising via the multinational giant Monsanto (500 shares worth an approximate US$23.1 mn of which belongs to Bill Gates), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. AGRA, a Gates and Rockefeller Foundation)!
All means have been sought to make Africa concede to the will of the international elite, whose only interest is profits, profits, and more profits regardless of who suffers. This makes it clear, that all eyes on Africa, is just the latest form of colonialism, but don’t they know nothing bad never lasts forever when challenged by the willing!
Sirinathsinghji, E. “African Alliances Challenge Introduction of GM Technology.” http://farmwars.info/?p=6283