face-off over Africa

The industry and their devotees tell us that genetically modified crops are the way to feed Africans. Whether they truly believe it or not, they apparently see GM in Africa as the way to feed their future bottom line.

So they are using the billion hungry people as the rationale to espouse, promote and market high-tech and genetically modified food as part of US foreign policy and development agenda. Last month, they had their day in the sun as Ministers of Economy lined up next to Bill Gates to promote a new ‘Green Revolution’ for Africa. Canada too announced it will contribute $230-million (U.S.).

At least when it comes to Haiti, there is a degree of skepticism about the promises of GM technology. A colleague says she has found an article stating that the Haitian government has ensured that Monsanto can never bring GMOs into Haiti. I hope she is right. Seems Monsanto, USAID and the Haitian government knew civil society would be outraged by this.

In contrast to the hoopla in Washington, Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, of Zurich’s Institute of Integrative Biology declared the following in her excellent article about the IAASTD (find out what this important acronym is all about here):

Post-war industrialized, chemical-based agriculture and food production is coming to an end – it has to if we are to reach the millennium goals and keep the planet in a livable condition. Food (including water) and the environment are issues of global peace and justice – no more and no less.

The lines in the sand are drawn and the transgenic biotech lobbying machine is roaring around the halls of Congress at full speed. As people of faith who care deeply about impoverished people, we must stay engaged in public policy advocacy and the anti-trust hearings happening this year. In this way, we have the possibility of limiting the power of giant agribusinesses and perhaps preventing decisions from being made that may harm tens of millions of people in Africa for decades to come. Contact php@pcusa.org to learn how you can help.