Sunday, November 13, 2011


A hungry world is definitely not a place for peace and harmony and the the origin of the so call economic aid from rich countries lies in this irrefutable fact. while tall promises are made from time to time in multilateral meetings and conferences, the follow up action invariably never matches the rhetoric. True, the people in poor countries owe a lot to the developed countries for food aids which serve the purpose of keeping starvation away from the doors of many famished families but the situation can be improved further if the promised aid is delivered as per the commitments made and without any strings attached. Unfortunately a country like the US, considered the most powerful in the world, has a "stingy" and "with strings attached" policy in releasing its aid as reflected by the following critique by dispassionate observers: 

"In March 2009, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed its Global Food Security Act (SB 384). The legislation, known as the Lugar-Casey Act, aims to focus on longer-term agricultural development, and restructure aid agencies to better respond to crises. Funding for agricultural development - some US$7.7 billion worth - would be directed in large part to genetically modified crop research.[1] In other words, food aid policy for the first time mandates the use of genetic modification technologies. Engineered crops will need engineered seeds - seeds that are no longer a result of natural cross-pollination. The Lugar-Casey Act represents the biggest project in agriculture since the original Green Revolution in the 1950s and 1960s. Fifty years ago, developing countries had yearly agricultural trade surpluses of over US$1 billion. Today the Southern food deficit has grown to over US$11 billion per year,[2] helping create dependency on the volatile international markets that led to the 2008 food crisis.[3] The first Green Revolution increased global food production by 11 per cent in a very short time, but per capita hunger also increased equally as much.[4] How could this be? Green Revolution technologies are expensive. The fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, and machinery needed to cash in on productive gains put the technology out of reach of most small farmers, increasing the divide between rich and poor in the developing world. Poor farmers were driven out of business and into poverty-stricken urban slums. The new Green Revolution highlighted in the Lugar-Casey Bill suffers from all these same problems. This time, however, the genetically-engineered seeds will be under patent and privately owned by the biotechnology corporations that monopolise the seed industry, and farmers will have to buy new seed each year.[5] R&D dollars in the millions go to engineered climate-smart seeds as a solution to food security under climate stress. DuPont, Monsanto, Syngenta and Limagrain control 29 per cent of the world market in seeds, with Monsanto controlling almost all of the genetically engineered seed. The Gates and Rockefeller foundations' partnership with Monsanto to bring an Asian-type Green Revolution to the African continent will invest US$150 million into the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). On its website, the Alliance describes itself as a 'dynamic partnership working across the continent to help millions of small-scale farmers and their families lift themselves out of poverty and hunger ... focusing on key aspects of African agriculture: from seeds, soil health and water to markets, agricultural education and policy'."

While as a country the US has every right to adopt GM foods for its citizens, it is nothing but travesty of justice that this donor country tries to export its GM technology from the monopolistic MNCs to the impoverished countries in African continent. As rightly pointed out by the critics, the farmers in Africa are being pushed from the "frying pan to the fire" because as it is they find it difficult to replicate even the proven but input intensive Green Revolution of Asia. The GM technology, if forced on them, will make them perennial slaves of the exploitative seed suppliers based in the US for generations to come. World must resist this neo colonism and find sustainable alternatives to solve the hunger crisis of the continent.


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