By Teresa Anderson
Why are US funded food aid agencies putting pressure on African governments to accept Genetically Modified food? Teresa Anderson investigates.
Up to 15 million people in six countries in Southern Africa are currently facing famine. Aid agencies desperately need assistance to source and deliver food. So why has the US donation of 500,000 tonnes of maize been rejected by Zambia, and only accepted with reluctance by the other nations?
The answer lies in the possible effects that the US Genetically Modified (GM) grain could unleash on African agriculture, economies and health. And the increasing suspicion that US food donations are being used as a tool to force GM on to the African market. African nations have so far refused commercialization of GM crops, but could be forced to accept the inevitable if local stocks become contaminated with modified genes.
When food shortages became imminent back in June, the World Food Programme (WFP) and US Agency for International Development (USAID) refused to respond to Southern African nations' requests for GM-free food aid.
The United Nations' own figures show that there are hundreds of thousands of tonnes of GM-free sources of food available around the world. But the WFP and USAID spent those valuable months trying to force recipient nations to accept the GM grain donated by the US, instead of looking to source elsewhere. Only now, nearly half a year later, are they starting to respond to Zambia's needs, while publicly blaming the Zambian government and green groups for the hunger that Zambians now face.
Critics of the USAID/ WFP position suspect that there may be another agenda behind the offer of food aid, and this is essentially threefold:
1. Surplus Problems
The US is increasingly desperate to sell off its massive surpluses, produced through heavily industrialised, subsidised and genetically modified agriculture, and rejected by the rest of the world. By offering these unwanted goods as aid, the US manages to look generous, while still supporting their own farmers.
The claim that WFP-distributed food is the same as that consumed by Americans may not be accurate. In an open letter to James Morris, Director of the WFP, The Network for a GM-Free Latin America writes: "Results found in Colombia with testing samples taken from the soy used in the Bienesterina programme proved to be 90% transgenic [GM]. This high percentage suggests that transgenic food is being kept apart in the US and that most of this is being sent abroad as gifts or aid to the poor countries of the world, like Colombia in this case."
This allegation is supported by a 2001 survey by the American Corn Growers Association showing that over 50% of US grain elevators segregate GM and non-GM grains. Unfortunately, the effects of long-term human exposure to a diet of mostly GM food have never been scientifically researched. Any potential problems could be aggravated in a population with compromised immune systems caused by hunger and HIV/ AIDS.
2. Securing Export Markets
Donations in the form of direct food aid damages domestic economies and secures the future of US imports. Food aid has the effect of flooding recipient nations' markets with cheaper subsidised products. This allows US products to dominate when local producers go under, unable to sell their own produce at comparable prices. Local production disappears, and farmers lose their livelihoods.
Wilma Salgado, former consultant to the WFP in Ecuador is now highly critical of the way that "food assistance", particularly from the US, is used to the benefit of the donor country rather than the recipient.
"The food products received as donations, or through concessionary credits, are sold on the local market, thus negatively impacting the capacity for local production. This has been the history of wheat in Ecuador, a product for which Ecuador was self-sufficient a few decades ago, and of which 96% is now imported. A similar situation is now occurring with soya."
3. GM Through the "Back Door"
African nations are presently united in their rejection of commercial growing of GM crops, with the exception of South Africa. Small farmers can better feed themselves and their families with low-input, locally appropriate agricultural techniques. But they represent a huge potential market for the biotechnology companies, who are desperate to find new markets for their products. Companies like Monsanto are facing massive financial losses, due to rejection from most countries, and know that if they do not manage to sell seed commercially in Africa, they may well go under.
African seed stocks could well become contaminated through the import of GM maize. Despite their present hunger, farmers will almost certainly set aside and plant grains that are distributed as aid, in preparation for next year. The propagation of these could lead to mixing of GM seed into local stocks, as well as possible cross-pollination. Countries would find that protecting their GM-free status may be impossible, and might be persuaded to accept the "inevitable" commercialisation of GM crops. It is because of this possibility that Zimbabwe and Malawi have only accepted the GM aid if it is milled before distribution, so that the grains cannot be planted.
Saliem Fakir, director of the South Africa office of the World Conservation Union, says "Africa is merely a pawn in a global game of chess. By forcing Southern African governments to take a decision on genetically modified (GM) foods, a precedent will be set. The next time around, US corporations will roll out their grand plan for agricultural rejuvenation in Africa founded on GM-based production. African governments will be hard pressed to resist given that they have subverted their own policies in the face of a food crisis."
GM Funding? GM Agenda!
As the struggle over GM food aid became increasingly heated, NGOs began to wonder why USAID and WFP were so resolutely sticking to their pro-GM line. Surely they were meant to respect the sovereignty of recipient nations? But investigations by Greenpeace discovered that there were many links between the food aid agencies, the biotechnology companies and the US government, which could be responsible for an underlying agenda.
The USAID website puts it pretty clearly. "The principal beneficiary of America's foreign assistance programmes has always been the United States. Close to 80% of the USAID contracts and grants go directly to American firms. Foreign assistance programmes have helped create major markets for agricultural goods."
Greenpeace's report suggests that "USAID does not act like a conventional foreign development agency. Instead it is at the forefront of a US marketing campaign designed to introduce GM food into the developing world. USAID is a vehicle for the GM industry."
Andrew Natsios of USAID accused environmental groups of endangering African lives by encouraging rejection of GM food aid. "They can play these games with Europeans, who have full stomachs, but it is revolting and despicable to see them do so when the lives of Africans are at stake."
But the UN human rights envoy Jean Ziegler says "I'm against the theory of the multinational corporations who say if you are against hunger then you must be for GM. That's wrong, there is plenty of natural, normal, good food in the world to nourish double of humanity. There is absolutely no justification to produce genetically modified food except the profit motive and the dominion of multinational corporations."
USAID is the only aid agency that provides aid in the form of food. Other countries donate economic aid to enable more efficient, flexible and regional sourcing that supports local markets. There are hundreds of thousands of tonnes of non-GM food available, much of it in the Southern and East African region. But tellingly, USAID refused to give its donation as the financial equivalent of the food aid offered. Neither would it offer its segregated non-GM maize.
Aid in the form of GM food could be Africa's undoing, and could compromise her ability to feed herself forever. For this reason, Africa should rightly beware of the US claiming to bear gifts, for they could turn out to be a modern day Trojan horse.
God will not be mocked. The Bible teaches that everything God made “was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Evil scientists think they know more than God and can improve on God's creation. By playing God, men are destroying the earth. Who do you think God is talking about in Revelation when He says that He's going to destroy those who destroy the earth?
Revelation 11:18, “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”
Scientists are destroying the earth!!! Geneticists are destroying earth. Last year mad scientists release 6,000 GM mosquitoes into the wild. We haven't seen anything yet. This year they created monster ants. Where will this tampering with nature lead? How will the laws of nature rebel against man's insanity. God has set the laws of nature in motion. If man wants to destroy and alter God's creation, He will allow men to do so, but only at their own peril. Man will suffer the consequences. I was reading recently about Rainbow Bombs (one hour video), where dozens of thermonuclear nukes detonation in the earth's upper atmosphere, creating beautiful rainbow-like colors. How has this destructiveness affected our planet?
The same wicked society that strips its clothes off, indulges in sexual immorality, aborts its babies and supports same-sex marriage will also tamper with genetic life, destroy the earth and support a Police State. In short, people are nuts!
“If you think normal today, you're considered a nut! If you have any common sense today, you're considered some kind of weirdo!... if you give them truth from the Word of God, you're almost considered a cult.” —Dr. Max D. Younce (from the excellent sermon, John the Baptist - Part One)
Transgenics: The Coming Genetics Nightmare!
Coming Gene Wars | Got Spider Goat Milk? | Spider Goats
Mad Scientists! | Human Cows! | Transgenics and Transvestites
Making Genetic Monsters | Transgenic Cats | Transgenic Pigs
BIOCOLONIZATION | Playing God with Chimeras | Human Mice!
Outrage at "Frankenstein" Animal Experiments | The Thing!
Transgenic Pigs End Up as Chicken Feed
Genetic Engineering: Playing God? | The Coming Genetics Nightmare
The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity (stem cell research, cloning, etc.)
Transgenic Chickens | Transgenic Sheep
Molecular Trojan Horses | Kluwer Transgenic Research
The Stanford Transgenic Research Facility
'Trojan Gene' Could Wipe Out Fish!
Transgenic Research Reagents
Disturbing Possibilities - A Human Cow!
The Biotech Harvest | The Coming Food Shortage!
Controlling the World's Food - Seeds of Deception!
Chimeras, Cloning and Freak Human-Animal Hybrids (mutants)
A Spinach Pig | Vegetable (edible) Vaccinations | Designer Babies
End of the World?
This will be every transgenic cat's dream, glow in the dark mice. Don't think for one moment that fluorescent humans aren't around the corner, mark my words...you'll see it, along with spider humans and every other godless monstrosity of mad scientists. Man's good intentions are often a Pandora's box. Even so, come Lord Jesus!
Every single transgenic animal of any species born so far has had genetic defects that scientists admit they cannot predict and that seem to adhere to no pattern. Transgenic animals are being born with lungs that don't inflate, for example. Others can't stand up. Most—98 percent—abort their fetuses. Researchers are driven by money, not ethics. They have no idea what will happen to cats if they remove the genes that cause sneezing in people. Those genes are there for a reason, and tinkering causes physiological and immune system problems that researchers admit they can neither anticipate nor control.
God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and
creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after
their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind:
and God saw that it was good.”