MONTHLY REVIEW JULY 2005
from Claire Robinson, editor
+ AFRICANS NEED SAFE FOOD AND CLEAN WATER - NOT GMOs
Amadou Kanoute, Director of Consumers International Regional Office for Africa, spoke in Edinburgh on 6 July about debt relief and foreign aid, and attended the G8 in Gleneagles (7-8 July). He says: "Some companies and governments are trying to promote GM as a miracle solution to world hunger. But the long-term effects of GMOs on human health and the environment are unknown. African consumers need basics like access to clean water and safe food - not GMOs."
+ G8 CREATES "DISASTER FOR THE WORLD'S POOR
Responding to the outcome of the G8 summit, World Development Movement (WDM) Head of Policy, Peter Hardstaff said:
The deals on debt and aid fall way short of what is needed to achieve global poverty reduction targets and on trade it's business as usual as the G8 attempt to bulldoze more liberalisation out of the poor. These tiny sums of money are nothing more than a sticking plaster over the deep wounds the G8 are inflicting by forcing failed economic policies such as privatisation, free trade and corporate deregulation, on Africa."
+ WAMBUGU'S 'AFRICA HARVEST' GETS $16.9 MILLION
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is to pour $16.9 million into a consortium headed by Africa Harvest, of which Florence Wambugu is the CEO. The consortium includes Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a subsidiary of DuPont.
One African activist commented, "These guys really know how to waste money!" Wambugu previously headed the disastrous Monsanto GM virus-resistant sweet potato project. Three years of field trials showed the project, which has cost over $6 million, to be a total failure, delivering lower yields than conventional crops and no virus resistance!
+ AFRICA NEEDS NON-GM AGRICULTURE
In a typically incisive article, Dr Colin Tudge, Research Fellow at the London School of Economics, spells out why Africa can only flourish by building on traditional agriculture.
EXCERPT: The notion that [African countries] actually need GMOs to provide sufficient yields is simply a misunderstanding, or a straightforward lie... their introduction suppresses local production and increases the dependency of poor countries on those who supply the new technologies. The argument in favour of GMOs, supported not least by Tony Blair, rests on the assumption that they are necessary. If they are not needed, there is no point in taking any risk at all.
+ GHANA STOPS IMPORTATION OF GM FOODS
Ghana's Food and Agriculture minister Ernest Debrah said that the country would reject, without hesitation, the importation of any GM foods, crops and materials into the country.
+ BT AND ORGANIC COTTON IN AFRICA
Paul Desmarais, director of the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre in Zambia, reports: "We have successfully grown organic cotton for two years now at Kasisi. We have good control of insects and there is not resistance built in the system as there is even with Bt cotton. Our yields are double the national yields.
"Farmers using the conventional route are barely ekeing out an existence with the price of cotton dropping and the price of inputs climbing up. We have just had the seed cotton tested for fibre length, micronair, etc. and our cotton did very well on all the scores. Let us pursue the growing of organic cotton. It is possible and it is sustainable."
Meanwhile, Andrew Taynton reports: "There are allegations circulating in South Africa at the moment that where NGO's have taught organic and sustainable methods of farming, government officials come in and tell these farmers they will never make money that way and distribute chemicals and GM seeds."
+ US PROMOTING GM IN AFRICA
For an interesting commentary + links on how the US is pushing Africa to accept GM on American terms:
+ U.S. BRINGS GMOs AND NUKES TO INDIA
In a new US-India move to increase scientific cooperation, the US has pledged to provide India with nuclear reactors and materials and technology to deal with crop pests and diseases and food storage problems. That translates as GMOs.
+ INDIA: GOVT STUDY SHOWS GM COTTON FAULTS
Indian government scientists have acknowledged flaws in the GM Bt cotton plants under commercial cultivation, endorsing what NGOs have long claimed and contradicting Monsanto's hype.
In a study released 25 July, scientists at the Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur said the amount of protein varies across different varieties and, in some plants, decreases to levels inadequate to protect the plants 110 days after sowing.
Their experiments also revealed that production of the protein is lowest in the bollworms' most favoured sites of attack - the plants' ovaries found in the flowers and the thick green peel of the cotton boll from which cotton blooms.
Because the findings have been kept under wraps and apparently not passed on to regulators, a series of fresh releases of Bt cotton in India have been made possible.
One of the researchers at the CICR commented, "The decline in resistant power means that the farmer has to apply more chemical pesticides to save his crop. Already, the cost of Bt cotton seeds are high and added to this, he incurs additional costs on pesticides. Eventually, he lands up in heavy debts."
+ BT COTTON PROBLEM FOUND IN CHINA AND U.S. TOO
The recent research from India's Central Institute of Cotton Research showing the Bt protein in GM cotton is not always enough to kill insects has been presented in some quarters as a problem that is peculiar to Bt cotton in India.
But in fact, the Indian research on Bt cotton isn't the only one to show these Bt expression problems - it i
Go to a Print friendly Page
Email this Article to a Friend
Back to the Archive