Egypt Joins the List of Countries That Reject GM Corn

Egypt Joins the List of Countries That Reject GM Corn

 

The peak of global trade in GM crops, happened to be the same year that the global economic crisis began – 2008!

Four years later, the country that produces the most GM food and crops, the U.S. is experiencing a serious drought, GreenMedinfo published the findings of farmers and pest experts that the drought would not have been so bad if it were not for GM crops, mass farming techniques, and lack of crop rotation. Scientists promised the world that GM crops as the global solution to hunger, a promise that was blinded by companies like Monsanto, and the politics of big corporations and global governance.

2011 and 2012 also bore witness to a growing problem, the very bug – the corn pest rootworm that GM corn was supposed to overcome through the ‘built in’ pesticide, Bt toxin a by-product of the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis, was no longer resistant a sis often the case when we apply man-made chemicals in one form or another to kill any form of pest, bacteria, or virus, so the corn pest rootworm mutated into a superbug, capable of destroying GM corn itself. Monsanto panicked and promised farmers a better GMO, but the U.S. drought would not go away!  The pest rootworm prevents the crop from absorbing water, and GM crops have a higher demand for water than traditional farming techniques, hardly the type of crop required for a drought stricken area!

Egypt began importation of Monsanto’s GM corn, MON 810, in 2008. Two shipments of 70 and 40 tons respectively were received. The first batch of 70 tons, was recieved in Egypt December 2012, and was planted in 10 governorates! The second shipment was received in January 2012, but was seized by the the Agriculture Ministry according to Louise Sarant writing for the Egypt Independent.

Biosafety expert for the Ministry of Environment and Microbiology and Immunology Professor at Egypt’s 6th of October University, Osama El Tayeb told Sarant that the two former Ministry of Agriculture advisers who authorized the shipment acted in direct contravention of the Constitution and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety that Egypt ratified.

Egyptians were saved from the second batch also because according to Adel Soliman, Environmental Affairs Agency Monsanto representatives bribed government officials to prevent the law from passing.

Egyptian scientists researched the issus for themselves, as in the case of Hussein Kaoud, of Cairo University’s Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene. Kaoud self financed his research into the impact of GM food on mice and rats in a laboratory. Kaoud conveyed to Egypt Independent how he fed 9 groups of rodents GM potatoes corn, grapes, and tomatoes, constituting 10% of the rodent’s diet from January 2011 – March 2011. Only after 4 weeks symptoms transpired in the form of shrinking of the kidneys, changes in the liver and spleen, the formation of malignant tissues, kidney failure, and hemorrhaging of the intestines. There was also signs of deteriorating memory, lower immune response, and increased sensitivity to environmental pollutants. Some of the rodents even developed cancer. Fatalities of baby rats rose by 35% compared to those on natural corn, and after three weeks 50% died. That’s one way of reducing the rodent population in Cairo!

Mohamed Fathy, a plant pathologist at Monufiya University, research was with goats and sheep that were fed GM corn, and these poor animals experienced liver and kidney failure. Fathy produced to research papers that were fowarded with confidence to the new Minister of Agriculture, Salah Youssf, because he has a scientific background.

The the newly-appointed Minister of Environment sent the draft to the Egyptian Parliament, which has been going through ‘changes’.

If the Egyptian Parliament follows through, as it should, Egypt will join the gorwing number of countries that are not willing to sacrifice their environment, their animals, the public health, and food security so that Monsanto can continue to make huge profits! The last country Hungary banned Monsanto crops, and burned 1,000 acres of crops contaminated by Monsanto GMOs.

Ironically, an undepublicized 2008 UN report, Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa concluded organic farming practices in Africa would substantially increase the continents capacity to feed its people!

Sources:

“Egypt Resists Monsanto’s Genetically-Modified Maize.” egypt-resists-monsantos-genetically-modified-maize

Sarant,L. “Scientists’ tests on rats suggest genetically modified foods pose health hazards.” http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/scientists-tests-rats-suggest-genetically-modified-foods-pose-health-hazards

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