Wikileaks, polit(r)ic(k)s and GMOs – Part 1
Recently, a petition was submitted to the National Bio-safety Management Agency (NABMA) in relation to Monsanto Agricultural Nigeria Limited’s application to NAMBA for the release of genetically modified (GMO), cotton and GMO corn varieties.
This petition was submitted by 100 organisations representing more than five million Nigerians, including farmers, faith-based organisations, civil society groups, students and local community groups, expressing serious concerns about human health and environmental risks of genetically altered crops.
In the wake of this submission, several misleading and quite frankly deceitful articles have come to the fore. In the article entitled “Facts, fallacies of genetically modified crops” published in The Guardian of April 8, 2016, Dr. M.B. Yerima Asserts:
“On the claim that farmers in Burkina Faso are not selling their products, the authors need to pay visit to that small country and see things for themselves. It is not good to negatively report the economic fortunes of Bt cotton in Burkina Faso which is considered the pride of Africa in terms of their ability to champion the application of modern Biotechnology in cotton farming”
Yet on Monday, April 4, 2016 Reuters news agency reported that “Burkina Faso’s cotton association is seeking 48.3 billion CFA francs ($83.91 million) in compensation from U.S. seed company Monsanto after it said genetically modified cotton led to a drop in quality, association members said on Monday.”
On April 14, 2016 Bloomberg news agency reported that “Monsanto GM Cotton Banned by Top African Producer of Crop.” Excerpts from the article:
“Burkina Faso is phasing out the production of genetically modified cotton introduced by Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed company, because growers are unhappy with the short length of its fiber.
Africa’s biggest cotton grower is reducing the acreage for genetically modified cotton this season until it’s completely phased out in 2018 and replaced by conventional cotton, the West African nation’s cabinet said in a statement published late on Wednesday.
The results of a pilot project with Monsanto that began in 2003 “aren’t favorable in the sense that the length of the fiber after ginning has degraded and no longer responds to the needs of the market,” according to the statement.
“We’ve lost years because of this cotton,” said Mana Denis, a cotton farmer in the western city of Dedougou who welcomed the announcement. “They imposed it on us, but it didn’t produce the desired effects,” he said Thursday.”
Based on these facts, it is clear that Dr. Yerima is either completely ignorant of current affairs as relates to bio-technology, out of touch with the REAL effects of this technology or more likely has actively chosen to deceive the Nigerian populace.
A similar article written to misinform as well as couch the need to accept the technology in “climate change” was published in The Guardian of April 13, 2016 entitled “Climate change, agriculture and biotechnology (1).” Excerpt from the article:
“Most obvious manifestation would be the change in weather conditions; many countries are now experiencing more heat waves, storms and floods. We will not in a hurry forget the devastating effects of hurricane Katrina in the USA or the typhoon Haiyan of the Philippines. All have their increased devastation attributed to change in climate. Coming back to Nigeria, we are losing about 350,000m2 of land mass to desert condition yearly, which is advancing southwardly at an estimated rate of 0.6 kilometre a year, all thanks to change in our climate.”
Surely if the focus is on stemming climate change, shouldn’t our brave bio-tech scientist be working at the fringes of the desert encroachment areas planting trees to stop desertification and even using this bio-technology to reverse the ecology of the huge deserts in Africa? The authors make no mention of the loss in bio-diversity due to the forced extensive mono-cropping that his technology promotes. The authors make no mention of patent right claims these companies make on our staple foods such as beans and maize, neither do they mention anything about contamination of local varieties as seen in Mexico, necessitating the ban on GMO corn.
On March 8, 2016, a court headed by Judge Benjamín Soto Sánchez upheld the permanent ban on cultivation of transgenic maize. Soto Sanchez’s sentence establishes that the collective trial showed the illicit presence of transgenes in native maize crops. The transnational companies denounced since July 2013 are Monsanto, Syngenta, Pioneer-Dupont and Dow.
The authors omit the cases of pollution of water bodies by these toxic herbicides due mainly to run-off caused by rain. They conveniently omit Syngenta’s 2012 US $105 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit brought by communities in six Midwestern U.S. states who claimed that atrazine, one of the most widely used herbicides in the nation had contaminated their drinking water. The author neglects to mention that The City of Seattle is suing Monsanto over allegations that the agrochemical giant polluted the Lower Duwamish River and city drainage pipes, becoming the sixth city to file a lawsuit against the company.
Our environmental friendly authors forgot to mention that in 2009, a French court found Monsanto guilty of lying; falsely advertising its Roundup herbicide as “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly” and claiming it “left the soil clean,” when in actuality it did the complete opposite.
The authors also ignore the fact that the landmark IAASTD report of 2008 ((sponsored by the World Bank and the UN, written by over 400 scientists and agricultural experts, endorsed by 59 countries) was highly dismissive of the potential of GM crops to benefit the world’s poor, neither did it endorse GMOs as a solution to world hunger. In fact, genetic engineering has not significantly increased U.S. crop yields, according to the USDA and controlled comparative studies. Some GMOs have lower yields than non-GMO crops.
Research by the ETC group has shown that small-holder farmers produce 75% of the world’s food, but only use about 25% of the world’s agricultural resources. The industrial agriculture chain only produces about 25% of the world’s food but uses 75% of the planet’s agricultural resources.
To be continued.
Rhodes-Vivour wrote via firstname.lastname@example.org