It should be noted that GM crops do nothing to increase nutritional value, and do nothing to increase productivity. GM crops have but one mainline purpose: they are resistant to a certain pesticide -Roundup - which is procured by the same company which patents most of the GM seeds: Monsanto. They can also insert a terminator gene into the seed, so that the crop grown from the seed will not produce viable seeds that can be harvested and replanted. Almost anything can be done to GM crops, but Monsanto obviously has no interest in increasing crop yields or nutritional value. Among the capabilities of GM foods is what's known as pharming, the creation of pharmaceutical drugs from the crops themselves. One of the drugs that can be "grown" is spermicide and other sterilants. And on top of all that, GM foods are toxic.
A push for GM crops in Africa, coming from a man obsessed with wiping out the population of Earth in the name of "sustainability" should give us all pause.
- Reuters -
The fight to end hunger is being hurt by environmentalists who insist that genetically modified crops cannot be used in Africa, Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of software giant Microsoft, said on Thursday.
Gates said GMO crops, fertilizer and chemicals are important tools -- although not the only tools -- to help small farms in Africa boost production.
"This global effort to help small farmers is endangered by an ideological wedge that threatens to split the movement in two," Gates said in his first address on agriculture made during the annual World Food Prize forum.
"Some people insist on an ideal vision of the environment," Gates said. "They have tried to restrict the spread of biotechnology into sub-Saharan Africa without regard to how much hunger and poverty might be reduced by it."
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in recent years has turned its focus to helping poor, small-holder farmers grow and sell more crops as a way to reduce hunger and poverty.
The foundation, which has committed $1.4 billion to agricultural development efforts, announced on Thursday nine new grants worth a total of $120 million aimed at raising yields and farming expertise in the developing world.
Funding will go to legumes that fix nitrogen in the soil, higher-yielding varieties of sorghum and millet, and new varieties of sweet potatoes that resist pests, Gates said.
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) will get $15 million to help train analysts and encourage farmer-friendly policies on seeds, markets, land tenure and women's rights in five countries that have made strides in developing agriculture.
"Externally imposed solutions do not necessarily work," AGRA President Namaga Ngongi told Reuters, noting "people who are likely to live with the consequences of the decisions if they do not work" need to be more involved.
Gates told the World Food Prize forum, which honors people who make major contributions to reducing hunger, that farmers need training and access to markets, not just new seeds.
"People are always telling me not to be too naive about the path from the trials to the breakthrough advance to how that will get out to the small-holder," Gates said.
The World Food Prize was established by Norman Borlaug, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist known as "the father of the Green Revolution" for his work with rice and wheat.
Gates acknowledged the first Green Revolution had negative impacts on the environment as it dramatically raised yields.
"The next Green Revolution has to be greener than the first," Gates said. "It must be guided by small-holder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and the environment."
The Gates Foundation is working with research partners on drought-tolerant maize using both conventional crop-breeding techniques and biotechnology, Gates said, noting he hopes seeds will be available in two or three years. Continued...