Private agriculture giants have a vital stake in converting the traditional cultivation practices based on natural seeds into a GM food based regime where they can off load their Hi-Tech seeds at prices far higher than that of the traditional ones. While claiming that cultivation of GM foods are more profitable, they incessantly infiltrate into government organizations and quasi-government agencies in many countries to influence the policy making process in their favor. Look at the latest instance where under the garb of a scientific endeavor, a set of wide ranging recommendations was made to popularize GM foods among the farmers of the poor countries. Here is a take on this dubious strategy being orchestrated from the US involving unwittingly some of the well known agricultural scientists around!
'A group of agricultural policy experts assembled by biotech giant DuPont is calling for both the private sector and governments to invest more money in boosting food production in poor countries. "The urgency of this challenge demands concerted efforts from all stakeholders, beginning now," said the experts, who included two World Food Prize laureates. Their ideas, included in a report released today in Washington, included a recommendation that companies create "science-based" regulations to speed commercialization of genetically engineered crops and other products. DuPont is parent company of Pioneer Hi-Bred, one of the top producers of biotech of seeds. Other recommendations include boosting research and extension services and breeding higher yielding, more nutritional versions of crops such as yams and cassava that are of little interest to seed companies since there is little potential for profit. Private companies also should work with governments to offer credit to small-scale farmers so they can buy seed, fertilizer and chemicals, the experts said".
It was not long ago that the US Government tried to tie its food aid to Africa to use of modern agriculture technology ( read GM Technology) by the recipient countries under the pretext of developing native capabilities. Imagine allowing some of the GM food giants into this aid matrix and what would have happened as a consequence. The aid money would have gone in buying the seeds and paying royalty to the private players year after year while the native agricultural skills are destroyed systematically. The recommendations by the conference above sponsored by the MNC DuPont, a leading player in GM Technology, include calling for more investments in agriculture by the governments and aid agencies to evolve GM versions of staples like Tapioca and yams and obviously such investments will eventually end up in the pockets of these private companies with no institution building possible ever. It is a pity that scientists with some conscience become gullible to the devious strategies of highly profit oriented companies like the DuPont so easily.