U.S. using food crisis to boost bio-engineered crops
2008 05 15

By Stephen J. Hedges | chicagotribune.com


The Bush administration has slipped a controversial ingredient into the $770 million aid package it recently proposed to ease the world food crisis, adding language that would promote the use of genetically modified crops in food-deprived countries.

The value of genetically modified, or bio-engineered, food is an intensely disputed issue in the U.S. and in Europe, where many countries have banned foods made from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Proponents say that GMO crops can result in higher yields from plants that are hardier in harsh climates, like those found in hungry African nations.

"We certainly think that it is established fact that a number of bio-engineered crops have shown themselves to increase yields through their drought resistance and pest resistance," said Dan Price, a food aid expert on the White House's National Security Council.

Problems anticipated
Opponents of GMO crops say they can cause unforeseen medical problems. They also contend that the administration's plan is aimed at helping American agribusinesses.

"This is a hot topic now with the food crisis," said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association. "I think it's pretty obvious at this point that genetically engineered crops—they may do a number of things, but they don't increase yields. There are no commercialized crops that are designed to deal with the climate crisis."

President George W. Bush proposed the food package two weeks ago as aid groups and the UN World Food Program pressed Western governments to provide additional funds to bridge the gap caused by rising food prices. The aid must win congressional approval.

It would direct the U.S. Agency for International Development to spend $150 million of the total aid package on development farming, which would include the use of GMO crops.

The U.S. is the UN food program's largest donor, providing nearly half the help the group receives from governments. It gave about $1.1 billion to the WFP in both 2006 and 2007. The WFP provided $2.6 billion in aid in 2006.

In April, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested at a Peace Corps conference that "we need to look again at some of the issues concerning technology and food production. I know that GMOs are not popular around the world, but there are places that drought-resistant crops should be a part of the answer."

Some aid organizations agree that it is time to consider GMO crops.

"I think it's good, that it should be part of the package," said Mark Rosegrant, an environment and technology specialist with the International Food Policy Research Institute. "It shouldn't be the only thing in the package. It is now showing quite a bit of potential in starting to address some of the long-term stresses, drought and heat."

But Noah Zerbe, an assistant professor of government and politics at Humboldt State University in California, said that GMO crops might not be appropriate for developing countries.

"You get fantastic yields if you're able to apply fertilizer and water at the right times, and herbicides to go along with that," Zerbe said. "Unfortunately, most African farmers, they can't afford these inputs."

Africa ambivalent
The U.S. tried to introduce GMO crops to Africa in 2002, with mixed results. European Union opposition was part of the reason that several African nations that year balked at an offer of U.S. aid that included corn, some of which was genetically modified.

In a severe drought, Zambia rejected the U.S. aid altogether. Several other countries accepted the U.S. corn, but only after it was milled.

The NSC's Price said the administration is working to persuade European nations to lift their objection to the use of GMO crops in Africa. Rosegrant of the research institute said that, given current food shortages, new bio-safety measures could resolve such problems.

"There's evidence that those fears tend to be overblown," Rosegrant said.

Article from: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/
nationworld/chi-food-crops_14may14%2C0%2C7229990.story



Related Articles
Multinationals make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis
A 'perfect storm' of hunger
Kissinger's 1974 Plan for Food Control Genocide
The Windsors' Global Food Cartel: Instrument for Starvation
Exposed: the great GM crops myth
The real Good Life: An entire village turns against supermarkets and grows its own food
Most Offspring Died When Mother Rats Ate GM Soy
The World According to Monsanto (Video)
Monsanto's Government Ties
Scientists suspect health threat from GM corn
'Zombie crops' funded by British taxpayers to 'get round' GM ban
The Unethical Biopharming of America
GM food must be allowed into Europe, WTO rules
EU gives green light for cloned food to go on sale in UK shops
Cloned food on verge of FDA's OK
Burgers from cloned animals 'by 2010'
Scientists Flesh Out Plans to Grow (and Sell) Test Tube Meat
"Doomsday Seed Vault" in the Arctic
Canada's C-51 Law May Outlaw 60% of Natural Health Products; Big Pharma Pushing to Criminalize Supplements
Nutricide - Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs
Red Ice Creations Radio - Michael Coffman - Global Governance (Subscription)
Red Ice Creations Radio - Alan Watt - Surveillance, Science & The Grid of Control
Ben Stewart - Esoteric Agenda


Latest News from our Front Page

CIA Spies and Lies: CIA spied on senate investigators examining agency torture
2014 07 31
CIA confirms CIA spied on senate investigators examining CIA torture programs In March 2014, McClatchy newspaper published a bombshell story revealing that the CIA spied on Senate Select Intelligence Committee investigators looking into CIA torture. During negotiations about the preparation of the committee’s long-awaited report on CIA torture programs, the spy agency had told investigators they could only view CIA documents ...
A Look at Theories About Elongated Skulls in Ancient Peru, Europe, Egypt
2014 07 31
Elongated skulls have been found in ancient burial grounds around the world. Many are the result of a practice of intentionally deforming the skull with binding applied during the early years of a child’s life. Some may be explained by natural deformity. Yet enough mystery is left in relation to some of the skulls for various theories to arise. Could the ...
EU on high alert as Germany accepts Ebola patients
2014 07 30
A German hospital has agreed to treat Ebola patients amid widespread fears of a possible outbreak of the deadly disease in Europe. Over 670 people have already been killed by the disease in West Africa with doctors struggling to control the epidemic. A German hospital in Hamburg agreed to accept patients following a request from the World Health Organization (WHO), Deutsche ...
Bolivia declares Israel terrorist regime
2014 07 30
Bolivia has declared Israel a “terrorist state” and revoked a visa exemption agreement with Tel Aviv in protest at the ongoing Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip. The move "means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state," President Evo Morales said during talks with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba ...
Pagan Traditions: Mysteries of medieval graffiti in England’s churches
2014 07 30
Medieval graffiti of straw kings, pentagrams, crosses, ships and "demon traps" have been offering a tantalising glimpse into England’s past. What do the pictures reveal about life in the Middle Ages? A project to record the graffiti, which began in Norfolk, has now been rolled out to other areas and is gradually spreading across England. Armed with just a torch and a ...
More News »