Avery's rave from the grave (12/12/2007)

NOTE: Of late Dennis Avery has been concentrating on denying climate change science and so has had less time for his more customary tasks of promoting GMOs, pesticides and plastics, or trashing 'killer' organics. And we're missing the old fraud so much we've decided to dig him up and give him one more outing.


Biotech Holds The Solution to Africa's Food Woes / Biotech crops do aid world's poor, says Dennis Avery

Here's Dennis Avery at his rollicking best, co-authoring a piece on how GM crops are transforming the lives of the world's poor - item 1.

You can forgot all the evidence of the failure of Bt cotton to outperform conventional cotton economically in India, and of emerging Bt pest resistance and other problems in China.

According to Dennis:

'In China and India, more than 5 million small cotton farmers have doubled their incomes thanks to the lower costs and higher yields of pest-resistant biotech cotton.'

And it's not just the farmers whose lives have been transformed:

'The benefits of the pest-resistant cotton carry over to the millions of Indian and Chinese textile workers.'

Without GM cotton, Avery suggests, they would be out of business!

And GM's benefits don't stop there:

'There's also a benefit to the farmer who no longer has to carry a backpack sprayer as he sprays in front of himself and walks barelegged through his own pesticide spray patterns 20 times a season.'

This compassionate concern over the dangers of pesticides comes, of course, from the author of the infamously titled book, 'Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic'.

But as well as enjoying Avery's latest fantasy in support of the current sales pitch of the agrochemical industry, why not check out the second item below, his earlier piece, 'Biotech Holds The Solution to Africa's Food Woes: The New Technology, By Deliverying Virus-Resistant Crops, Is Starting To Provide Food Security for Africa'.

In this Avery recounts how Florence Wambugu produced African sweet potatoes with the assistance of Monsanto that 'resist the feathery mottle virus-thus yielding 20 percent to 80 percent more food. This one breakthrough will improve food security and health for millions of African families.'

In fact, as we recently noted in awarding Wambugu a PANTS ON FIRE award, the actual results of the trials on Monsanto's GM sweet potatoes showed that far from out-yielding the non-GM sweet potatoes by 20-80 per cent, as Avery claims: 'non-transgenic crops used as a control yielded much more tuber compared to the transgenic'! The GM crop was also found to be susceptible to viral attack - the very thing it had been designed to resist.

So how this 'breakthrough' will 'improve food security and health for millions of African families' remains unclear but in the meantime, thanks to the likes of Avery and Wambugu, there's been great PR value for Monsanto.

Avery, whose work at the Hudson Institute is supported by Monsanto, DuPont, Novartis, ConAgra, DowElanco and others who profit from the sale of products prohibited in organic production, has also famously claimed that organic farming if widely adoped would lead to mass starvation. Organic farming is also more likely to poison you. Avery's claims have given rise to such newspaper headlines around the world as 'Organic food -- It's eight times more likely to kill you'.

In a well-received speech at a biotech conference in London in 2002, Avery claimed anti-biotech activists 'sided with terrorists' and formed 'human shields for Arafat, leader in chief of the suicide bombers.' In a newspaper article that same year he claimed that the rest of the world would soon be so grateful to the US for its GMOs that the terrorists would turn their anger exclusively on GMO-resistant Europe.

Dennis certainly knows how to smoke out a good story!

For Wambugu's pants http://www.lobbywatch.org/p2temp2.asp?aid=59&page=1&op=2

For more on Avery http://www.lobbywatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=15&page=A

Bogus Research from Avery http://ngin.tripod.com/averylies.htm

Avery's comic highlights / Avery over London http://ngin.tripod.com/291102b.htm


1.Biotech crops do aid world's poor
June 11, 2004
The Star-Tribune
Rudy Boschwitz and Dennis Avery

The Star Tribune's May 22 editorial 'Biotech crops / Little benefit for world's poor' included this complaint about the development of genetically modified crops:

'The crops that have come into production since 1987 -- corn, cotton, canola and soybeans -- are important chiefly to agriculture on an industrial scale. There has been comparatively little interest in genetically strengthening the crops most significant to the world's agriculture-dependent poor, such as cassava, millet, sorghum and rice.'

It's not surprising that costly early biogenetic seed research be directed at crops earning a return on that investment.

The editorial also said that providing biotech's benefits to poor countries would require 'massive investment in public research and development.'

We would love to see more public investment in biotech for the Third World -- but if we had depended on public dollars spent through a bureaucracy, neither rich nor poor would have yet realized any benefit from this revolutionary technology.

Despite the assertion of the Star Tribune headline, it is remarkable how much genetically modified benefit has already accrued to poor countries from even the early stages of biotech.

In the Philippines, insect-resistant biotech corn varieties are yielding up to 80 percent more grain than farmers' non-biotech varieties because the tropical pests are vastly more voracious than those in Minnesota.

In China and India, more than 5 million small cotton farmers have doubled their incomes thanks to the lower costs and higher yields of pest-resistant biotech cotton. There's also a benefit to the farmer who no longer has to carry a backpack sprayer as he sprays in front of himself an

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