Africa's leaders "gullible and ill-informed" says former US president (5/9/2003)

The headline says it all:

"Ex U.S. President Carter Says Africa Needs GM Crops".

Africa's own leaders, who may think otherwise, are dismissed by Carter as "sometimes gullible and ill-informed". They're dupes, apparently, who've been lied to or otherwise misled.

According to another media report:

Carter also 'said there was nothing wrong with using GM food with "a reasonable precaution and proper labelling" '

But none of the GM food delivered as food aid had any labeling!

And where is the "reasonable precaution" in the U.S. dumping GM food in Africa to form the major part of the diet of food aid recipients, when it was only approved, under the U.S.'s notoriously light regulatory regime, for animal feed and food-processing purposes? It was never assessed on the basis that it would form the bulk of someone's diet.

Carter also tells us, "With more people adequately fed, there would be less disparity between rich and poor."

But there is no evidence that GM crops can more adequately feed us - the evidence of reduced yields suggests, if anything, the opposite.

And even ignoring this, Carter still turns reality on its head.

In India, which has a third of the world's hungry, there are massive grain surpluses that fail to get distributed because the hungry are too poor to buy the grain they so desperately need.

So just how, Mr Carter, are the patented products of US multinationals going to ameliorate the disparity between rich and poor at the root of so much hunger?
Ex U.S. President Carter Says Africa Needs GM Crops
Fri September 5, 2003 02:41 AM ET
TOKYO (Reuters) - Former U.S. president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter said on Friday that genetically modified (GM) crops could be of huge benefit to Africa and it was grievous that the idea had spread that such crops were dangerous.

Carter said in a speech in Tokyo that biotechnology offered the chance to produce crops that were almost immune to disease, helping to meet "the most basic human right of all--food to eat."

"It has been very grievous to me... to hear some either misguided or deliberately lying people in Europe, to propagate the idea that somehow genetically modified seeds are poisonous," said Carter, himself a peanut and cotton farmer.

"This is not true at all and has never been proven in any way," said he added. "This has resulted in misleading sometimes gullible and ill-informed African, and other leaders, that we cannot accept these seeds," he said.

With more people adequately fed, there would be less disparity between rich and poor, he said.

"The results of this disparity are the root causes of most of the world's unresolved problems...including violent conflict, often causing the threat of terrorism," he said.

Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, won acclaim during his four years as president from 1977 by brokering a peace deal between Egypt and Israel.

Since leaving office he has worked to improve life in developing countries and as a crisis negotiator.

He was in Tokyo for events sponsored by the privately funded Nippon Foundation and the Sasakawa Africa Association, an Africa-linked non-governmental.
The USAID website candidly states: "The principal beneficiary of America's foreign assistance programs has always been the United States. Close to 80% of the USAID contracts and grants go directly to American firms. Foreign assistance programs have helped create major markets for agricultural goods, created new markets for American industrial exports and meant hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans."

"It is important to get prior consent from a country rather than imposing GE contaminated food grain on a nation." Dr Lewanika, a scientific advisor to the Zambian government

"If the US insists on imposing this genetically modified maize on our people, we will be justified in questioning their motive." Editorial, Dignity in hunger, The Post, Zambia, July 30, 2002

"Asked if people were going 'too far' by saying that gene-altered humanitarian exports were part of a strategy to spread the crops around the world, [Neil E. Harl, a professor of economics at Iowa State University] said: 'I'm not sure that is going too far.' "

"It is unconscionable that the U.S. administration would use the threat of mass starvation as means to promote products that potentially carry a wide range of health and environmental risks... Yet all some folks in the U.S. government and business communities can think of is how to make even more money off their suffering,"
James Clancy, president of Canada's National Union of Public and General Employees, "NUPGE condemns famine exploitation to sell GM foods", NUPGE, October 9 2002

"The USA wants to see its corporations control life's most basic resources, including seeds, food crops and water. Unfortunately for southern Africa, the drought plays right into this unprincipled strategy."
Dr. Lawrence J. Goodwin of The Africa Faith & Justice Network, a USA-based NGO comprised of Catholic religious and social justice groups, quoted in AFJN DENOUNCES IMPOSING GM FOOD AID ON AFRICA

"It's wicked, when there is such an excess of non-GM food aid available, for GM to be forced on countries for reasons of GM politics... if there is an area where anger needs to be harnessed it is here." UK Environment Minister, Michael Meacher, speaking at a briefing of British parliamentarians, November 27, 2002

"[UK Prime Minister] Blair's chief scientific adviser denounced the United States' attempts to force the technology into Africa as a 'massive human experiment'. In a scathing attack on President Bush's administration, Professor David King also questioned the morality of the US's desire to flood genetically modified foods into African countries, where people are already facing starvation in the coming months." The Observer, UK, Sep 1, 2002

"..there is no shortage of non-GMO foods which could be offered to Zambia by public and private donors. To a large extent, this 'crisis' has been manufactured (might I say, 'engineered') by those looking for a new source of traction in the evolving global debate over agricultural biotechnology. To use the needs of Zambians to score 'political points' on behalf of biotechnology strikes many as unethical and indeed shameless. "
Dr Chuck Benbrook, a leading US agronomist and former Executive Director of the Board on Agriculture for the US National Academy of Sciences

All quotes taken from FORCE-FEEDING THE WORLD


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