Truth traders over Africa:
1.African Debt - Getting to the Heart of the Matter
2.Junk Science Report - Rock Stars' Activism Could Be Put to Better Use
Florence Wambugu is not the only one using the focus on the G8 to punt biotech.
The second item (from the Junkman, Steve Milloy) went out last night on CS Prakash's AgBioView. It suggests that anything the G8 are pressured into doing over Africa will be of little consequence in comparison with the harm Africa could be saved from if only rock star pressure tactics were applied against Greenpeace. Why? Because this is the organisation, thanks to its policies on biotech etc., responsible for much of the misery in Africa.
The first article is by Dean Kleckner of Truth about Trade, whose contact with the truth is pretty much on a par with that of the Junkman.
In a speech to CropLife America, Kleckner warned, "Whenever we seem to make some progress - such as a figure of Tony Blair's significance coming down firmly on the side of science - we also have to endure the agonizing experience of watching millions of Africans starve because their political leaders can't make reasonable and humane decisions."
Other similarly emotive but equally unsupported claims have been made on the Truth about Trade website, eg "Did you know that thousands of children starve every day? ...it isn't because of a worldwide shortage of food. It is because of a worldwide shortage of trade and technology."
Needless to say, opening up Africa to American products, and in particular GMOs, will pretty much solve the problem - something George and Tony can probably be relied upon to understand.
For more on the Junkman
For the truth about Truth about Trade
1.African Debt - Getting to the Heart of the Matter
Truth About Trade and Technology, 06/30/2005
"If you owe the bank $100, that's your problem," said the late industrialist J. Paul Getty. "If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem."
And if you owe the bank $40 billion, apparently that's everybody's problem.
So goes the logic behind the push to write off $40 billion in debt owed by 18 of the world's poorest countries to global lenders. The effort will generate plenty of fanfare this Saturday when rock stars such as Paul McCartney participate in Live 8, a group of international concerts whose purpose is to demand that leaders of the G8 nations cancel loans, increase aid, and deliver "trade justice" to the developing world.
It's not hard to sympathize with the motives behind all this. Who doesn't want poor countries to improve their lot? Africa is home to more than two-thirds of the world's 50 most impoverished countries. Eleven percent of humanity lives there--yet they account for only 1 percent of global economic output. Over the last two decades, their food production has actually fallen.
Confronted by such grim facts, President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and their G8 colleagues are likely to finalize some kind of relief package at next week's meeting in Scotland .
Let's not kid ourselves, however. The world's poorest countries aren’t poor because of unfair lending practices, but primarily because of the political instability. Debt is not the problem it is a symptom. Will any of the Live 8 performers mention the fact that Zimbabwe confiscates land from property owners, including farmers, and shuts down its critics in the press? I hope so. Behavior such as this--rather than G8 usury--lies at the heart of Africa's poverty crisis.
There are no easy solutions to this dilemma, which won't go away anytime soon no matter how sincerely we commit ourselves to them. Improvement will require a mixture of bold political reforms, measures to fight the spread of AIDS, and integration into the global economy. Another critical piece of the equation, I believe, involves biotechnology.
A generation ago, the Green Revolution improved farming practices on every inhabited continent. Today, we're in the midst of a "Gene Revolution" that promises even greater transformation.
But not everybody is taking advantage of it. Consider the case of cotton. A new report released by Rabobank Groep claims that within two years, more than half of the world's cotton output will be grown from genetically-enhanced crops. This is already the case in the United States . In Australia and China , more than three-quarters of the cotton farmers now use biotechnology. Their peers in Brazil and India are racing to catch up.
And what about Africa? Tragically, it's been left in the dust. But, that may be changing. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing a grant of $16.9 million to Africa Harvest (one of the 43 announced as part of the $436 million Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative) to support a project that will improve sorghum for human consumption. R esearchers with Pioneer / DuPont will take the scientific lead, using biotechnology to develop a more nutritious and digestible sorghum.
African farmers will benefit enormously from biotechnology - increasing yields, lowering costs and improving nutrition. Yet many of their political leaders have taken cues from the European Union and rejected the innovative techniques that the rest of the world is scrambling to adopt. The situation is so severe that several nations suffering from drought recently refused to accept emergency assistance that came in the form of donated corn - some of which might be biotech enhanced.
South Africa is an exception to this predicament. It has chosen to take advantage of biotechnology, and increasing numbers of its farmers plant biotech corn and cotton. "Agricultural biotechnology feeds and keeps South Africans warm," says Koot Louw of Cotton South Africa . Small-time farmers are some of the biggest beneficiaries of this trend, according to research by the University of Pretoria . In a four-year period, their use of biotech cotton seeds grew from 7 percent to 90 percent."The global biotech train has left the station and South Africa is firmly on board," says a government official in the latest issue of Africa Harvest.
The challenge is to make sure that other African count[r]ies get the train tickets they deserve. Without them, their food production will continue to suffer--and the economic inequality separating rich nations from poor ones will widen.
Biotechnology is, of course, no panacea for the problem of global poverty. But neither is the foreign-aid cash that so many activists are now vigorously pursuing. Failure to confront the actual causes of economic misery in a sophisticated and comprehensive way--and refusing to let biotechnology realize its full potential--means that everybody's problem will only grow worse.
After the world writes off that $40 billion, let's never have to do it again
2.Junk Science Report
Rock Stars' Activism Could Be Put to Better Use
by Steven Milloy, www.junkscience.com
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Bob Geldof's Live 8 concerts scheduled for July 2 will spotlight the problem of global poverty ahead of the July 6-8 G8 summit in Scotland.
But like Geldof's 1985 Live Aid concert, Live 8 it is a noble idea that, unfortunately, isn't likely to make any significant or lasting progress toward reducing poverty in Africa.
What Africa needs is genuine economic development that can be sustained over time, a goal that has been continually thwarted by the environmental policies forced upon developing nations by groups such as Greenpeace ”” an organization publicly supported by many of the Live 8 performers.
One necessary step toward economic growth in Africa, for example, is eradicating the continent's crippling famine and perpetual epidemics of disease. Yet, Greenpeace's successful campaign against the use of pesticides such as DDT has resulted in millions of deaths from diseases like malaria that pesticides could have prevented.
If Geldof and the other Live 8 performers really wanted to help Africans, they would rock-and-rail at their Greenpeace friends rather than at the G8 leaders.
Live 8 consists of rock concerts in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Toronto and Philadelphia and features dozens of mega-stars including U2, Elton John, Sting, Paul McCartney, and Madonna.
Geldof's vision is that the Live 8 shows will enable "ordinary people" to "show [the G8] that enough is enough" and to "demand from the 8 world leaders at G8 an end to poverty."
"The G8 leaders have it within their power to alter history," says the Live 8 Web site. "By doubling aid, fully canceling debt, and delivering trade justice for Africa, the G8 could change the future for millions of men, women and children," it states.
Despite the rhetoric, it's not at all clear how staging pop concerts to pressure G8 leaders on policy options of debatable merit will solve Africa's problems.
But many Live 8 performers ”” including Geldof, U2's Bono, Sting and Elton John, to name a few, have long and close associations with Greenpeace, from participating in protests to providing much-needed financial support. Greenpeace often uses rock stars and other celebrities in an effort to mainstream its anti-development, anti-technology - and, consequently, anti-Africa - agenda...
Greenpeace... campaigns against the use of agricultural biotechnology, including "Golden Rice," which could help with the severe Vitamin A deficiency that afflicts hundreds of millions in Africa and Asia - including 500,000 children who lose their eyesight each year.
Scientists developed Golden Rice using the gene that makes daffodils yellow. The gene makes the rice rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.
But as pointed out by Greenpeace co-founder and former President [???] Patrick Moore, now a vociferous critic of the activist group: "Greenpeace activists threaten to rip the biotech rice out of the fields if farmers dare to plant it. They have done everything they can to discredit the scientists and the technology.
"A commercial variety is now available for planting, but it will be at least five years before Golden Rice will be able to work its way through the Byzantine regulatory system that has been set up as a result of the activists' campaign of misinformation and speculation, " Moore said. "So the risk of not allowing farmers in Africa and Asia to grow Golden Rice is that another 2.5 million children will probably go blind."
Twenty years ago, Geldof's Live Aid concert raised $100 million for Africa, but he acknowledges on the Live 8 Web site that "poverty, famine and disease are still major problems in Africa." That result isn't surprising. Although the $100 million raised by Live Aid sounds like a lot of money, given the scope of the problem in Africa, it was a futile drop in the bucket.
Perhaps Geldof, Bono, Sting and other celebrities could make a dent in that problem by pressuring Greenpeace to stop its mindless campaign against DDT and agricultural biotech.
Steven J. Milloy is the publisher of JunkScience.com, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and a columnist for FoxNews.com.
Since April 1, 1996, JunkScience.com has had a discernible impact in the fight against junk science and garnered numerous awards.
Junkscience.com has also been spotlighted by the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Detroit News, The Times (UK), Financial Times (UK), Daily Telegraph (UK) Forbes, MSNBC and many other popular media outlets