Big Po (Son of Prak) struts his stuff for Big Norm (24/3/2004)

Prakash, Avery & co. are busy milking Norman Borlaug's 90th birthday - and how!

1.Rohan Prakash - Big Po, 11-year-old rapper
2.The Norman Borlaug Rap (Thank You, Norman)
3.GM WATCH Profiles: Norman Borlaug
4.GM WATCH Profiles: Big Po's dad - CS Prakash

1.Rohan Prakash - Big Po
11-year-old rapper

My name is Rohan Prakash. I am 11 eleven years old, and live in Auburn, Alabama, USA. I have been rapping since about a year now.

I am a hip-hop artist and very much committed to being a rap singer. I have made several demo songs of my rap music and hope to post them soon on this website. Right now, I am proud of making 'The Norman Borlaug Rap" as a tribute to this great scientist, whom my dad admires very much.

My music producer is DJ Redd of Tuskegee, AL. Many of my songs are written by Rick Sanders, my daycare instructor although I write my own songs and also collaborate with Rick on many. Both have inspired very much and I am really thankful that I have such good mentors who help and encourage me.

2.EXCERPT from The Norman Borlaug Rap (Thank You, Norman)

 [To listen to the song (MP3):
For a picture of the artist:]

Norman Borlaug, you may be
the greatest man in history.
Using science and your brain
to stamp out hunger, woe and pain.

Creating new varieties
of plants with new technologies.
You're the man we look up to.
That is why we're thanking you.

But then some people started to panic,
telling the farmers to go organic.
Technophobes started making a mess
of Norman Borlaug's great success.

Green groups thought they found the cure
in stinky piles of cow manure

3.GM WATCH Profiles: Norman Borlaug
[for all the links:]

Norman Borlaug still teaches at Texas A&M university where he is Distinguished Professor in the Soil and Crop Sciences Department. Through his work on breeding a high-yielding dwarf wheat, Borlaug became a key player in the Green Revolution, for which he was awarded a Nobel prize in 1970. Plants bred to increase yields when used in combination with chemical fertilizers proved highly effective in increasing food production. Borlaug has always been an aggressive defender of intensive agriculture, describing Rachel Carsen, the scientist whose book Silent Spring gave birth to the environmental movement, as 'a force for evil'.

Borlaug is a keen supporter of the 'gene revolution' and of CS Prakash and his AgBioWorld Foundation. Like a number of key Prakash  supporters, Borlaug serves on the board of directors of the American Council on Science and Health which crusades against "health scares" and the "toxic terrorists" who it says promote them and which derives its funding from extensive corporate backing (e.g. Monsanto, Dow, Cyanamid).

He sees the publication of research which raises concerns about genetic engineering, like that of Dr John Losey on the effects of Bt corn pollen on monarch butterfly larvae, as symptomatic of the politicization of science, 'There's an element of Lysenkoism all tangled up with this pseudoscience and environmentalism. I like to remind my friends what pseudoscience and misinformation can do to destroy a nation.' (Billions served, Forbes Magazine)

Borlaug's emphasis on technological solutions for increased production ignores the broader social context and economic realities that determine hunger. A third of the world's hungry live in India - a country which has a surfeit of food with which to feed its population; yet nutritional norms have actually worsened for those below the poverty line since the Green Revolution. Borlaug ackowledges the problem but offers no solution other than the fixation on high yield production, 'The problem is to get it into the stomachs of the hungry. There's a lack of purchasing power by too large a part of  the population... The grain is there in the warehouses, but it doesn't find its way into the stomachs of the hungry.' (Billions served)

4.EXCERPT from a profile of CS Prakash

Prakash is reported as having told a Tanzanian audience that GM 'doubles production' (The Express, Tanzania, Aug 21, 2002). In fact, as University of Minnesota economist Vernon W. Ruttan has noted: 'Thus far, biotechnology has not raised the yield potential of crops'. There is also some evidence for yield losses rather than gains, particularly with the main GM crop in global production.

Aaron deGrassi at the Institute of Development Studies, at the University of Sussex, provides another striking example of the unscientific nature of some Prakash claims. In his report  Genetically Modified Crops and Sustainable Poverty Alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa deGrassi notes, 'Another surprising example of advocacy trumping facts is C.S. Prakash, the influential biotechnology advocate who has advised the US Trade Representative. Prakash has repeatedly cited [GM] sweet potatoes [in Kenya] as a positive example of the benefits of GM for African countries, but has confessed to  having no knowledge of the results of scientific trials in Kenya.'  


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