Is Bill Gates Trying To Hijack Africa's Food Supply?

Page 1 of 3  
http://countercurrents.org/dixon070607.htm
Is Bill Gates Trying To Hijack Africa's Food Supply?
By Bruce Dixon
07 June, 2007 Black Agenda Report
Genetically altered crops will rescue Africa from endemic shortfalls in food production, claim corporate foundations that have announced a $150 million "gift" to spark a "Green Revolution" in agriculture on the continent.
Of course, U.S.-based agribusiness holds the patents to these wondercrops, and can exercise their proprietary "rights" at will. Are corporate foundations really out to feed the hungry, or are they hypocritical Trojan Horses on a mission to hijack the world's food supply --- to create the most complete and ultimate state of dependency.
"Poor-washing" is the common public relations tactic of concealing bitterly unfair and predatory trade policies that create and deepen hunger and poverty with clouds of hypocritical noise about feeding the hungry and alleviating poverty. It's hard to imagine a better case of media poor-washing than the hype around the recently announced $150 million "gifts" of the Gates and Rockerfeller Foundations to the cause of reforming African agriculture, feeding that continent's impoverished millions and sparking an African "Green Revolution."
For ADM, Cargill, Monsanto and other agribusiness giants farming as humans have practiced it the last ten thousand years is a big problem.
The problem is that when farmers plant and harvest crops, setting a little aside for next year's seed, people eat, but corporations don't get paid. That problem has been so thoroughly solved in U.S. food production that chemical fertilizers and pesticides create a biological dead zone of hundreds of square miles in the Gulf of Mexico where the Mississippi, draining much of the continent's richest farmland, empties into it. U.S. law requires the registration all crop varieties, and makes it extraordinarily difficult for farmers to save and plant their own seed year to year without paying royalties to corporations who "own" the genetic code of those crops.
But until recently in the developing world, farmers still planted, plowed and harvested without paying American agribusiness anything. The first attempt to "monetize" food production took place a generation ago in Southeast Asia and India. Called the "Green Revolution" its public face was a masterpiece of pious poor-washing.
A thin layer of native academic, "experts" and local officials were bought off, and slick ad campaigns were told local farmers the road to prosperity was the use of vast quantities of pesticides, herbicides, and high-yield crops grown for international markets instead of feeding local populations.
The "Green Revolution" in India worked out well for the middlemen who sold the chemicals and lent poor farmers money to buy them, and for its wealthiest farmers. But when millions of farmers, on the advice foreign and domestic "experts" produced cotton, sugar and export crops for the world market instead of food to feed their neighbors, several nasty things happened. The prices for those export staples went down, so poor farmers wound up without the cash to repay loans for the year's seed and chemicals. Food which used to be abundant and locally grown became scarce, expensive and had to come from other regions or overseas. The chemicals killed many beneficial plants and insects, and promoted the emergence of newer, tougher pests and diseases.
Export crops needed more water than traditional ones, so wealthy farmers monopolized what water there was to feed their export crops. Man-made famines occurred. People starved or became dependent on imported foreign grain. Millions of farmers were forced to sell their land (or sometimes their children) to pay off their debts, and move to the cities.
In the tradition of the European explorers unleashed on the rest of humanity with letters from their kings entitling them to claim and seize the lands, treasure and inhabitants of all places not under the rule of white Christian princes, the U.S. patent office began in the 1990s, granting American corporations exclusive "patents" for varieties of rice produced in Asia for thousands of years, for beans grown in Mexico centuries before Columbus, and for all the products which were or might be made from trees, plants, roots and molds growing in the rain forests of Africa and Asia.
Indian courts, under pressure from their citizens, rebuffed for now American attempts to collect royalties for the production of basmati rice, which farmers in India and Pakistan have cultivated for centuries. But every developing country can't bring to the table against the U.S. the power that India, with a fifth of the world's population can.
In the U.S. media this privatization of nature is called "the biotech industry". Most of humanity outside the U.S. call it biopiracy.
In the last decade, corporate "life scientists" in the biotech industry have invented, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has patented a perverse but profitable technology which prevents a current year's crop from producing usable seed for next year's planting. These "terminator seeds" will force farmers to return to corporate seed suppliers every year.
For the last 20 years, the U.S. has, with varying degrees of success, bullied, bribed and threatened governments on six continents to enforce its skull-and-crossbones patent laws through bilateral trade agreements --- think NAFTA and CAFTA --- through World Bank and International Monetary Fund dictates, and the World Trade Organization.
Today UN bodies and dozens of individual countries are under pressure to allow the introduction of genetically modified crops and terminator seed technologies into their food chains. Despite their poverty and need for development aid, African countries, informed by the world media (outside the U.S.) have been forced by their own citizens, scientists and farmers to stoutly resist Western efforts to undermine their food security. But the slick and shiny PR campaign around the Gates and Rockerfeller initiatives, supposedly addressed at alleviating world hunger seem to mark a new stage in the continuing scramble for African resources.
Last year, the Gates Foundation hired former Monsanto VP Robert Robert Horsch as senior robert_horschprogram officer for Africa. Monsanto is the company that invented "biotechnology" and the patenting of life forms by corporations. This is the context for the "philanthropy" of the Gates and Rockerfeller Foundations, and their expressed concern for foisting a "Green Revolution" upon Africa.
Will African farmers and their governments be forced to pay American corporations to cultivate the crops they have for centuries? Global capital and competition to control the world's remaining energy have put Africa's oil resources in the sights of America's strategic planners.
If the Gates and Rockerfeller Foundations, along with Monsanto, Cargill, ADM and other agribusiness and biotech and "life science" players have anything to say about it, Africa's food supply is up for grabs too.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charlie expounded:

It's already been proven (in Mexico, Guatamala, etc) that this is exactly what they want (to create the most complete and ultimate state of dependency) . The question is how can they be stopped?
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Write to your elected slob and tell him or her to start paying for their own golf games and vacations. They're all on the take. Personally, I think we should authorize the NSA to monitor every phonecall, e-mail and financial transaction connected with elected officials. If they buy as much as a pack of gum and we can't track where the money came from, they should be waterboarded until we have answers.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
love your way with words and the message. political systems are owned and operated by big business, no doubt about that. Ingrid
On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 12:45:34 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Perhaps not stopped, but an end run is eminently doable: Look up the Seed Saver's Exchange, and a host of smaller groups like them. Sort of like Fahrenheit 451, but with plants.
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Seeds Savers is invaluable in that, as a member, you have access to thousands of varieties and also access to thousands of other members who are preserving the old lines.
Watch out for this practice to become outlawed, as in Iraq.
Charlie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Seed Savers Exchange? Never heard of them, but looked them up and am at their website right now. I think I should start saving seeds from my plants now(well when they start producing them that is, already plan to let one onion plant go to seed for just that reason).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 15:04:03 GMT, "Lilah Morgan"

If you aren't up on seedsaving, not saying you aren;t of course...
Sauzanne Ashworth "Seed to Seed", is great. It is a little more complicated proposition than I had realized until I got this book, but not hard at all. There is a wealth of info online, Im sure. The book describes cross pollination issues, techniques, distance from other crops of the same genus, many rootcrops are bienniel in seed production, etc....lists the whatfors for schloads of different crops.
She also describes a technique for proper drying and storage. Properly dried seeds can be stored nearly indefinitely in the freezer. Humidity and heat are a not good thing on stored seeds.
Care and luck Charlie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<Charlie> wrote in message

I really don't know much about gardening, I usually have been lucky in that what I planted in the ground grew, but I never really knew about the 'science' behind it, as in when to plant what, blah blah blah, I just assumed it would grow. But now that we have just over an acre and 'livestock' that provide us with compost manure and such, I'm learning alot fast. Not fast enough to save all of my plants I started, but I'm glad I started my 'gardening' years ago with mint, because you can't really mess that up as long as you water it. I believe my chocolate mint that I have now, it's been the same one that's made it through 3 moves and at least 7 years...

Will see if the library has that book. That reminds me, I need to go to their site and see if I can renew my current books. I really need to just buy a copy of the Encyclopedia of Country Living.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 15:27:17 GMT, "Lilah Morgan"

Phooey.....make that Suzanne.....
sometimes typos don't matter, sometimes they does!
Charlie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<Charlie> wrote in message wrote:

I thought it was Suzanne anyways, but library didn't have anything by her(I searched by Ashworth just in case you did mean Sauzanne)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Charlie wrote:

At the risk of offending the hyper-religious, Ashworth's book is the Holy Writ of seed saving. You can get less technical (and less useful), or go into the PHd level stuff we really don't need, but that's the book I reach for when I wonder "now, just how far apart do theze gazillions of pepper varieties need to be."
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at home.earthlink.net/~garygarlic Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Amen!! ;-)
I'm using the 1st edition, but I see the second edition listed...an extra one hundred pages. Do you know if it is worth "upgrading"?
Just checked your website and I guess this fall I won't need to quiz you too much.... looks like good info about garlic. I haven't raised any yet, I will this fall.
I've been wanting to run up to Decorah for years now, but seems like something always takes precedent. It's about a six hour drive for me.
Seedsavers and BakerCreek, among others, are so very important. We've started our own mini-vault (reference to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault).
Doin' what we can Charlie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<Charlie> wrote in message

A book this thread reminded me of is called Rainforest In Your Kitchen(don't remember the author cause it's been quite a few years, sorry). It's about how we can make food purchases that are better for the environment in the long run and such, by not only encouraging biodiversity(like for example not buying white eggs since the statistic the book gives is that 95% of eggeries all use the same breed of hen, so something wipes out that breed, big problem...), and some more simple logic suggestions, like only buying fresh produce that's in season, cause then it really doesn't need to be messed with to make it grow when it's not supposed to, things like that. Was an interesting read, first time I was introduced into how the agriculture business is getting screwed...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 09 Jun 2007 00:07:53 GMT, "Lilah Morgan"

Thanks Lilah. I did a lookup and it sounds like a great book to introduce people to the issues that are being tossed around.
Here's the author and full title.
Rainforest in Your Kitchen: The Hidden Connection Between Extinction and Your Supermarket By Martin Teitel. 1992. Island Press
Wow...cool....he was ahead of the curve! Martin Teitel also serves on the Council for Responsible Genetics. Good find and thanks for the heads up.
http://www.gene-watch.org /
Care Charlie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<Charlie> wrote in message

You're quite welcome...I gotta find the info I got out of it before I returned it(was a library book)...it's gotta be in a box somewhere...I got only about 20 to look through ;-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Rain Forest in Your Kitchen: The Hidden Connection Between Extinction And Your Supermarket (Paperback) by Martin Teitel, 29 used & new available from $0.01, amazon.com
Editorial Reviews From Publishers Weekly Teitel here assesses the loss of "biodiversity" in our food sources and the potential cost to ourselves. By biodiversity, he means the various available species of seeds or livestock. He cites statistics that show how the growth of large corporate farms has narrowed our choices to those species that ship well or reproduce quickly. The subsequent loss of diversity, he points out, is risky, as it reduces the available gene pool. It is possible that future generations may not have enough genetic resources to call on for survival. Consumers, however, have more clout than they realize, Teitel asserts, and they can make small but significant changes. Instead of buying greenhouse vegetables year-round, he advises, opt for jicamas, cabbages and dried tomatoes. Teitel also urges us to look for food sources besides the usual supermarkets; roadside stands and health-food stores are options. Others include organizations dedicated to preserving historical or organic seed sources and livestock. This book is a good resource for anyone who wants to learn more about how we've damaged the food chain--and what we can do about it. Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. -------
That's a helluva book list at http://www.gene-watch.org/ . You trying to bring back literacy boy? Good on you.
- Billy Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

farmer, who had his crop contaminated by a neighbor's GMO crop and when he planted his seeds, was sued and lost to Monsanto because of copy right infringement? Mexican indians growing traditional crops in the boonies are finding GMO genes in THEIR corn. The Borg are here.
- Billy Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The Schmeiser case makes me crazy. How could they rule for Monsanto? It defies all logic. Never mind charging those Mexicans for their own seeds :::shaking head::::
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't really understand the legallities here. Wasn't Mr Schmeiser equally able to sue his neighbour, or, indeed, Monsanto, for contaminating his crops?
Gill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.