Tagged with "FOOD"
Avaaz’s Global ‘Ebay of Seeds’ – How Did They Get It So Wrong?
Category: GMO food
Tags: Activism Big Corp globalist agenda GMO food take action

by Julian Rose

What happens when a major internet campaigning organisation gets it 100% wrong?

Answer: tens of thousands of people end up pledging donations for something that can’t be put into effect – and the NGO’s motives are called into question.

Such is the position of Avaaz at this time.

In a controversial communication to its supporters the internet campaigns group, on behalf of the Center for Food Safety (CFS, a non profit US public interest and environmental advocacy organization) calls for support for an international ‘eBay’ style portal that will circulate seeds to wherever they are needed, as a counteraction to monopolization of the seeds market by the Monsanto corporation.

Already over 56,000 people have donated or pledged to do so.

A Noah’s Ark to sink Monsanto?

Under the title “Let’s build a Noah’s Ark to stop Monsanto” Avaaz claims to have been asked by farmers to back their desire to establish this”first ever, non-profit ‘eBay’ of seed” as an online marketplace where “any farmer, anywhere can source a wide variety of plants cheaper than the genetically modified seeds from chemical companies.”

“This global online store could re-flood the market with with all kinds of seeds and slowly break the monopoly that is putting our food future at risk.”

They also make the claim that this would be a “legal” way of getting around current prohibitive seed laws.

At first glance this all sounds pretty worthy. It is critically important that farmers have the ability to save their seeds. Corporate lobbying has caused national governments, the EU, US and other global trading blocks – to severely restrict the free flow of seeds – increasingly outlawing ‘non registered’ seeds completely.

The Avaaz statement concurs on these dangers, but then comes up with an unworkable and downright dangerous way of getting around them.

Misusing the name of Vandana Shiva

CFS also claimed, on the Avaaz page, that renowned seed / farmer activist Vandana Shiva backed their scheme. Upon getting notice of this Vandana replied:

“Dear Friends, Dear Seed Savers and Defenders of Seed Freedom, It has just come to my notice that Avaaz has launched a campaign for fundraising for an ‘ebay of seeds’ and my name has been used in their petition without my permission or consultation.

“This is unethical. I do not endorse it. I also do not support the concept even if my name had not been used. We have all with love and solidarity built a strong movement for saving seeds and farmers’ rights on the ground and in our communities.

“Let us continue our work with full integrity and mutual trust. love Vandana.”

The offending claim has now been withdrawn and an apology has been offered by CFS, which attributes the problem to a “miscommunication of CFS’s international staff with Dr. Vandana Shiva”. Still, this is, by any account, a remarkable error – particularly by an NGO supposedly coming to the rescue of small farmers.

French seed network issues warning

The respected independent farmer’s seed network Reseau Semences Paysanne (which represents 70 seed saving groups across France) has issued an alert on Avaaz’s announcement entitled “Is Avaaz combatting Monsanto or facilitating biopiracy?” They ask:

“Do farmers need a global online store for seeds? Is this commerce with seeds over the internet going to escape the laws of world trade dictated by Monsanto and other multinationals? Isn’t what Avaaz proposes running the risk of organizing biopiracy on a global scale serving these multinationals?”

“We never asked Avaaz for anything and have never heard about an organization of small farmers in the world that could conceive of such a project.

“Small farmers practising agro-ecology need first of all to be able to select and multiply their seeds locally, in order to suit their local growing conditions and adapt to climate changes as they occur in the fields.

“They don’t need seeds selected and multiplied on the other side of the planet that would require large amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to adapt to local growing conditions, to which they not acclimatised …

“Farmers are happy when NGOs help them to organize themselves. But they do not need NGOs trying to mobilize civil society in their name for purposes that are not theirs.”

Let’s support the genuine seed savers!

I would add, that from my own perspective as an organic farmer and President of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, nothing in the Avaaz proposal looks remotely workable.

  • For a start, the majority of farmers who might benefit from access to new seeds don’t have access to the internet – let alone electricity.
  • Then what kind of quality would such seeds be? Certified organic? Or just any seeds from farms that have a surplus to home requirement?
  • How could the origin of such seeds be known – and trusted?
  • There is also a very real danger that GM proponents and mischief-makers could drop GM seeds into a storage depot and they would instantly be spread around the world.

The entire project looks logistically unstable and would be highly likely to end up causing more problems than it intends to solve.

This deeply flawed initiative should be abandoned – or reworked to support genuine bona fide local and regional seed organisations that have spent years diligently gathering, sorting, multiplying and swapping their seeds for the benefit of small and medium sized farmers in appropriate bio-regions all over the world.

Such seed organisations work against great odds in ensuring food security and food sovereignty for us all. They are outstanding examples of non profit organisations fully deserving public support.

Power without accountability

As with many ‘big ideas’ the AVAAZ proposal might look nice at first glance, but in reality it would undermine farmer’s tried and tested methods of seed saving by offering them an insecure, unrealistic and unworkable ‘easy option’.

All of which raises the question: is AVAAZ quietly operating within a world of ulterior political motives and tainted corporate interests? Is it hoping to play on the public’s ignorance of what actually goes on in the food and farming sector and thus become a vector of misinformation and weighted political propaganda?

It’s impossible not to question the motivations of an NGO capable of so misleading its supporters – for example, by fictitiously claiming Vandana Shiva’s support. I suggest people do their own research.

Meanwhile many have already lost trust in Avaaz based on inconsistencies in previous campaigns and on an often cited inability to respond to criticism and accept feedback. That tells a story in its own right.

The issues are important – and we have to get it right!

In contrast, other internet campaigning groups - 38 Degrees for example – have demonstrated what can be achieved when setting out to regularly consult their constituents and implement intelligent feedback on what they should be doing.

We need to stand united in combating the ever more insidious threats to our priceless genetic pool. Here is a big lesson in how easy it can be to destroy the trust that is absolutely essential in successfully building the real Noah’s Arks that will see us through these apocalyptic times.

 

BAYER Steps Up Deadly GMO Arms Race
Category: GMO food
Tags: Big Corp depopulation Geoengineering globalist agenda GMO food Monsanto

Spread some KEYCODE BAYER 588 on your “I wonder bread” freaks! ( pukes  …SiNeh~)

BAYER is launching GM Soy

Usage of toxic pesticides continues to increase / “high meat consumption contributes to pesticide poisoning”

Bayer CropScience has launched a new soy product range. The corporation has started selling glyphosate and glufosinate resistant GMO soy seed under the brand name Credenz. Other varieties which have added resistance against so called HPPD herbicides are to follow at a later date.

Dirk Zimmermann of Greenpeace criticised the launch, saying “after the failure of glyphosate tolerant plants BAYER is now ramping up pesticide production. Having joined the arms race of global GM soy cultivation, the corporation has outed itself as an irresponsible war profiteer. The introduction of further GMO plants with a host of new herbicide resistances has unmasked the whole concept as a one way street serving only as a vehicle to sell more and more toxic agrochemicals.”

Forests, fallow land and small-scale farms in South America have been displaced by massive soy plantations. The crop is not used to feed the local population but instead is largely exported to Europe and the USA, due to the huge demand by the meat industry. On the other hand, production of staple foods is being undermined by the soy boom.

Philipp Mimkes of the Coalition against BAYER Dangers (CBG) said: “High meat consumption is causing major ecological and health damage in South America. We demand a conversion to ecological farming, even if this leads to a decrease in meat production. Toxic herbicides such as glyphosate and glufosinate must be banned!”. Glyphosate and glufosinate are sold in combination with genetically modified seed, particularly soy and maize. Since the seed market is controlled by just a handful of corporations, many farmers are only able to buy GMO seed.

Glyphosate (“Roundup”), developed by Monsanto, is the top-selling agrotoxin worldwide. As the patent has expired, the active ingredient is now also sold by Bayer and other companies. Glyphosate is suspected of causing birth defects, damaging the DNA and promoting diseases including Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer.

Glufosinate is even more toxic. A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluation states that the substance poses a high risk to mammals. Glufosinate is classified as reprotoxic, with laboratory experiments causing premature birth, intra-uterine death and abortions in rats. That is why the substance must be withdrawn from sale in the EU by 2017 at the latest. This has not prevented BAYER from announcing in May 2013 that it would build a huge new glufosinate factory in the USA. In this way the corporation seeks to close the gap caused by the increasing inefficacy of glyphosate against weeds.

GM crops do not solve the hunger problem, contrary to the claims repeatedly made by lobbyists. About 80 percent of GM crops are used as animal feed. GM crops are neither drought-resistant nor more high-yielding. Their cultivation on ever larger areas is pushing back the production of food crops, making it more difficult to feed local populations.  MORE>

Genetically modified ‘super banana’ to be tested on Americans
Category: WORLD-NEWS
Tags: Africa Australia Food GMO Science USA

AFP Photo / Seyllou Diallo

A vitamin-enhanced ‘super-banana’ developed by scientists is to be tested on humans. The trials are to take place in the US over a six-week period. Researchers aim to start growing the fruit in Uganda by 2020.

The bananas are ‘super’ because they have been genetically engineered to have increased levels of vitamin A – a deficiency of which can be fatal. 

Hundreds of thousands die annually worldwide from vitamin A deficiencies, while many others go blind, the project's leader told AFP. 

“The consequences of vitamin A deficiency are dire with 650,000-700,000 children worldwide dying...each year and at least another 300,000 going blind,” Professor James Dale stated. 

“Good science can make a massive difference here by enriching staple crops such as Ugandan bananas with pro-vitamin A and providing poor and subsistence-farming populations with nutritionally rewarding food,” Dale said. 

The project was created by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

“We know our science will work,” Dale said. “We made all the constructs, the genes that went into bananas, and put them into bananas here at QUT.” 

Dale added that the genetically modified banana flesh is more orange than a usual banana, but otherwise looks the same. 

The highland or East African cooking banana is a dietary staple in East Africa, according to the researchers. However, it has low levels of micronutrients, particularly vitamin A and iron. 

If the project is given the go-ahead for Uganda after the US trials, micronutrient enriched/modified crops could also be given the green light for Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania. 

“In West Africa farmers grow plantain bananas and the same technology could easily be transferred to that variety as well,” Dale stated.

GMOs and Gates

The claim that genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) pose no risk to human and environmental health is far from settled, despite industry assertions.

In October, 93 international scientists said there was a lack of empirical and scientific evidence to support what they said were false claims made by the biotech industry about a so-called“consensus” on GMO safety. They said more independent research is needed, as existing studies which say that GMOs are safe are overwhelmingly funded and supported by biotech companies.

The Gates Foundation has a history of supporting GMO research and technology – at least since 2010, when the non-profit invested in a low amount of shares in biotechnology giant Monsanto. Gates has amped up support for GMOs so that “poor countries that have the toughest time feeding their people have a process,” adding that “there should be an open-mindedness, and if they can specifically prove [GMO] safety and benefits, foods should be approved, just like they are in middle-income countries.” Such support has resulted in criticism and suspicion of the foundation's agenda.

As for the worry that GMO seeds are increasingly consolidated in the hands of major agribusiness powers, Gates said in February 2013 – after his foundation reportedly sold the approximately $23 million in Monsanto shares it owned – that there are "legitimate issues, but solvable issues" with GMO technology and wider use. He added that one solution may be offering crops already patented but requiring no royalty dues.

Gates has supported the use of GMO crops in the developing world, as well as “large-scale farm land investments by foreign states in the developing world,” AFP wrote in 2012. Months ago, Gates stressed his support for GMO farming in Africa.

“Middle-income countries are the biggest users of GMOs...Small farmers have gotten soy beans and cotton and things like that. But we’re trying to get African agriculture up to high productivity – it’s about a third of rich-world productivity right now – and we need the full range of scientific innovation, with really good safety checking, to work on behalf of the poor,” Gates told Quartz in January.

GMO crops are now grown in 28 countries, or on 12 percent of the world's arable land, with the acreage doubling every five years. However, in the European Union, only two GMO varieties have so far been licensed for commercial harvesting (compared to 96 in the US).

In the US, an overwhelming majority of Americans say they support the labeling of GMO products – an effort that has gained traction in some states and interest in nearly all others.

Opponents of labeling – including powerful food industry and biotechnology players – are currently mobilizing their resources on the national level to stem the tide of sentiment against GMO proliferation. These groups have worked with supportive members of Congress to introducefederal legislation that would block states from passing mandatory GMO labeling measures like Vermont's, despite the right to know movement’s rising popularity.

GMOs have been in the food supply since the 1990s, and are included in roughly 70 to 80 percent of products available to American consumers, according to food manufacturers. The most widely used GMO crops in the US are corn, soybeans, and canola.

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