I came across another article (thank you IPS News Service), Outrage Over Claim that Anti-GM Campaign “Causes Hunger” by Miriam Mannak, regarding western coopting of agricultural markets in the “Global South”, in this case Southern Africa. Apparently, intellectuals, multinational food marketers, and agri-business technocrats convened at the World Congress of Food Science and Technology in Capetown, South Africa this past August to listen to people like Oxford graduate school director David King wine about how Africans don’t understand that if they’re hungry they should take just any food the western market doles out. Pause.
One clear solution to helping people feed themselves is to improve yield by improving soil and water conditions, that is, optimizing the available resources and natural bio-diversity. Last time I checked, genetically modified (GM) crops–like the Soy bean scam the Gates Foundation and Cargill are slipping on Mozambique and Zambia–promote farmer displacement thus contributing to financial dependence, contaminate clean land resources and human health due to use of associated herbi-/pesticides, and encourage clear-cutting while diminishing biodiversity. Additionally, the eye-opening film The Future of Food (which you can watch free on Hulu.com) purports that GMs are created through the implantation of pathogenic cellular material–that is bacteria, like e-coli (yeah, e-coli). The medical consequences of GM crops are yet unknown, but some people have linked a prevalence in food allergies directly to the presence of GM foods, for example Starlink corn scandal of 2000 (the corn was GM’d by Big Pharma brand Aventis).
In addition to the threat of GM crop contamination, indigenous people the world over are battling the patenting of indigenous plant species and medicinal properties associated with those plants. So it is no small feat that, early in 2010, a South African environmental advocacy group, the African Centre for Biosafety featured in the articles above, was able to push back a Swiss pharmaceutical’s “biopiracy” of the Pelargonium sidoides and Pelargonium reniforme plant extracts from a rural South African community.
Ah, but back to Gate’s biopiracy… this seed-keeper blog writer gives earlier indication of Gates involvement in agribusiness. I haven’t checked all the references so I’ll admit the tone is a lil’ conspiracy theory. Consider it a gritty layer of detail to the specter of corporate seed monopolization… and then check the facts yourself.
And to think, I never really got on the Gates hateration bandwagon. I own a MAC. Geeze, Bill, I thought we had something good…