The Prince and the GMO profit monster
2.GMO profit monster
3.Prince Charles right on target - an African perspective
4.Feeding the world
1.Prince Charles seen as 'guardian of countryside' by Country Life readers
By Martin Beckford, Social Affairs Correspondent
The Daily Telegraph, 20 August 2008
The Prince of Wales is seen by many as the saviour of Britain's countryside, a survey has found.
He was rated the best individual guardian of rural areas by readers of Country Life magazine [which is pro-GM!], ahead of his mother the Queen and the celebrity chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver.
It comes just days after the prince warned in a Daily Telegraph interview that genetically modified crops risk causing the world's biggest environmental disaster, and that small farmers could be driven to the wall by "gigantic corporations" taking over food production. [shortened]
2.GMO profit monster
The Guardian (Eco soundings), 20 August 2008
Memo to environment minister Phil Woolas, who wants evidence that GMOs are a disaster. Monsanto, which now has a virtual monopoly of US transgenic soya, cotton, and corn seed sales, has just made record profits in the middle of a world food crisis. That has not stopped it writing to US farmers saying that its "competitive challenges" have "forced" it to increase its herbicide prices more than 50%, and the price of its corn and soya seeds by 35%. Twelve states, and 35 farm and citizen groups, are calling for an investigation into Monsanto's competitive practices.
3.Prince Charles is right on target - an African perspective
Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth Nigeria
The issues raised by Prince Charles in his interview coincide with our concerns over GMOs and the push for the so-called African Green Revolution.
Agribusiness and philanthropic pushers of industrial agriculture -- such as Bill Gates/Rockefeller's AGRA (Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa) -- are insisting that since Africa missed the first Green Revolution train she must not miss this new opportunity. Prince Charles has said what governments do not like to hear: questioning the disastrous outcomes of that so-called Green Revolution. The first Green Revolution was double-tiered. It began in 1943 in Latin America where the success in Mexico inspired a similar effort in Asia (India, etc) by the 1950s and reached its plateau in the 1980s.
African agriculture is predominantly small-holder-family based. This thrives on crop biodiversity and mixed cropping. The biotech industry has sold so many myths to governments in the North and in Africa. Besides health issues and our weak healthcare framework, GM seeds bring in the issue of patents that will prohibit our farmers from saving and sharing seeds. This is not the African way. GMOs would completely destroy and overturn the agricultural patterns that have fed Africa and that hold the key to the future everywhere.
GMOs are often presented as the solution to hunger in Africa, but researchers show that these genetically modified varieties do not have higher yields than the local varieties. GM crops have also not reduced the use of pesticides and other farming inputs. In fact, in some cases, the GMOs do not provide new answers to the problems they claim to solve. For example, genetically modified cassava is supposed to fight against cassava leaf mosaic disease, but there are non-GM varieties that already have that ability.
GM crops are simply the means by which agribusiness seek to take control of African agriculture, overturn culturally developed farming patterns and tie farmers to industrial apron strings. The strong attempt to contaminate Africa¹s environment can also be seen by what has happened through food-aid channels where GM foods are being sneaked into the continent. We suspect another channel will be through agrofuels plantations (targeting African staple crops like cassava) where local farmers will be become mere farm hands or out growers to agribusiness. All these spell more poverty, environmental degradation and disruption of livelihoods.
African farmers who have heard about GMOs are emphatically opposed to their introduction. Prince Charles¹ comments should be a wakeup call to remind those who are ravaging our environments that they will one day be called to account.
4.Feeding the world
The Scotsman, Letters, August 20 2008
Hugh Raven, director of Soil Association Scotland:
Dan Buglass (Scotsman, Aug 18, p. 32) states that 'the fact is that if the world went totally organic, then there would be even more hungry people around' - He doesn't give any evidence for this personal opinion, and my guess is that he'd struggle to do so.
Conversely, there's increasing evidence to the contrary - such as the report recently from an international group of over 400 scientists, published by the UN (full title - the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development. This concludes that organic farming has real potential to help feed the world in an era of increasing oil prices and urgent need to cut greenhouse gases, because organic farming systems use the sun's energy and clover to fix Nitrogen in the soil, not oil and gas. This confirms the conclusions of an earlier Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) conference.
By contrast, the role of GM - a technology advocated by Mr Buglass - in feeding the world is much less clear. In 2006, the pro-GM US Department of Agriculture observed that 'currently available GM crops do not increase yield potential' - a point already made by the 2004 FAO's report that acknowledged that 'GM crops can have reduced yields'."