Addis Ethiopia Weblog

Ethiopia's World / የኢትዮጵያ ዓለም

  • October 2021
    M T W T F S S
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    25262728293031
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

Posts Tagged ‘Monsanto’

Genetics Are The New Eugenics: How Gmo’s Reduce The Human Population

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on February 27, 2017

Last year, we had a series of mergers in the agribusiness’ GMO-corporations worldwide. This has created an alarming concentration of corporate power in the hands of basically three corporate groups.

The first one is Bayer AG of Germany, which made a friendly takeover of Monsanto. The reason for this was that Monsanto became identified in the public mind as pure evil and everything bad about GMO’s, which was accurate. This became a burden on the whole GMO project. So, Bayer stepped in, which has a friendly image of an aspirin, harmless, nice company, but in fact is the company that invented heroin in the 1880’s and made gas for the ovens of Auschwitz during WWII. It’s one of the dirtiest agribusiness companies in the world with a series of homicides and pesticides that killed off bee colonies and many other things that are essential to life and to nature.

ChemChina – China State Chemical giant – for some reason took over Swiss Syngenta, which makes weed-killers.

Then, Dow Chemicals and DuPont merged their GMO businesses together.

So, we have three gigantic corporate groups worldwide controlling the genetically-modified part of the human food chain. As dangerous as the GMO crops are and the more they sell, it is becoming more and more obvious that they are the chemicals that by contract must be applied to those GMO seeds by the corporations. They demand that if you buy roundup ready soybeans or corn, you must use Monsanto (now Bayer) roundup.

Therefore, this is giving more corporate power to the GMO industry than ever before and that’s an alarming trend. They are putting pressure on the bureaucracy in Brussels. One example: there was a massive public campaign against the renewal of the license of the European Commission for Glyphosate. Glyphosate is the most widely used weed-killer in the world. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s roundup. The other ingredients are Monsanto’s corporate secret, but the combination of them is one of the most deadly weed-killers.

The World Health Organization’s body responsible for assessing genetic dangers made a ruling the last year that Glyphosate was a probable cancer-causing agent.

The license came up for automatic renewal last year – a 15-year license. The EU commission for health was prepared to automatically renew it for 15 years. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which is responsible allegedly for the health and safety of European citizens, recommended approval based on a German study by the German Food Safety Agency that was simply lifted 100% from studies given by the private corporation Monsanto! So, the whole chain was corrupt from the beginning and all the information was rigged. In reality tests have shown that in minuscule concentrations, lower than in recommended levels in Europe and in the US, Glyphosate causes kidney disease, liver disease, and other illnesses that are potentially fatal.

Now, Glyphosate has shown up in urine tests, in urban drinking water, in gardens, in ground water and so forth. And that gets into the system of childbearing women, for example, with embryo. It’s all in this!

The EU commission, despite a million petitions – this is a record setting – and despite recommendations from leading scientists around the world to not renew the license, made a compromise under huge industry pressure and renewed it for 18 months. Why did they renew it for that time? Because at the end of 18 months, they were told by Bayer and Monsanto that the takeover of those two giant corporations will be completed and Bayer is going to replace Glyphosate with another, likely more deadly toxin, but not so well-known as Glyphosate. So, they simply bought time. And that is just one example.

This agenda of GMO is not about the health and safety; it’s not about increasing crop yields – that’s a lie that has been proven in repeated tests in North America and all around the world. Crop yields for farmers, using GMO plants, may increase slightly for the first 1-2 harvest years, but ultimately decline after 3-4 years. And not only that! We’ve been promised by Monsanto and other GMO giants that the use of chemicals will be less, because of these “wonderful” traits that GMO plants resist. In fact, the weeds become resistant and you have super weeds, which are 5-6 feet in a height and choke out everything. It’s a catastrophe. So, farmers end up using added weed killers to kill the super weeds. This whole mad playing around with the genetic makeup of nature is a disaster from the beginning.

The real agenda of GMO, which I have documented in great detail in my book “Seeds of Destruction”, comes from the Rockefeller Foundation. It comes out of the 1920s-1930s Eugenics movement. The Rockefeller Foundation during the 1930’s, right up to the outbreak of World War II when it became politically embracing too, financed the Nazi Eugenics experiments of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin and in Munich. Why did they do this? Their goal was the elimination of what they called “undesirable eaters”. That is called population reduction.

After the war, the head of the American Eugenic Society, who was a good friend of John D. Rockefeller, at the annual conference of the American Eugenic Society said: “From today, the new name of eugenics is genetics”. Moreover, if you keep that in mind – genetic engineering, the Human Genome Project and so forth – they all are scientific frauds. Russian scientists have proven that the entire Genome Project utterly disregarded 98% of the scientifically valuable data in favor of 2% that was completely nonsense and a waste of billions of dollars.

Therefore, they have been obsessed with the idea of how to reduce human population in a way that would not be so obvious as simply going out and carrying out mass-sterilization.

Actually, they have done that in Central America together with the World Health Organization by giving certain vaccines that they cooked-up to have abortive effects. Therefore, the women of child-bearing age in Central America were given these vaccines against tetanus. The organization of the Catholic Church became suspicious because the shots were given only to women, not to men. And they found that there was buried in the vaccine an abortive effect that made it impossible for women to conceive and bear children. This is all covert population reduction.

These are the Western patriarchs who believe they are the gods, sitting on the throne with great dignity, controlling mankind. I think they are a bunch of fools, but they have this agenda of genetic manipulation. It’s against nature, it’s chemically unstable. And I have to congratulate the Russian Federation that they had the courage and the moral concern for their own population to ban GMO cultivation across Russia. That was a step forward for mankind. I would hope that Russia will use its influence to get China to do the similar thing, because their agriculture is in dire need of some healthy Russian input. But this step by Russia to make a GMO-free agriculture is a great step for mankind.

Source

__

Posted in Conspiracies, Health, Infos | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Behind the Mask of Altruism: Monsanto and The Gates Foundation in Africa

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 8, 2014

MonGMSince 2006, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to the tune of almost $420 million. Activists from Zimbabwe,Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Ethiopia recently attended the US-Africa Food Sovereignty Strategy Summit in Seattle to argue that the Foundation’s strategy for agriculture in Africa is a flawed attempt to impose industrial agriculture at the expense of more ecologically sound approaches.

Daniel Maingi works with small farmers in Kenya and belongs to the organization Growth Partners for Africa. The Seattle Times reported him as saying that while the goal of helping African farmers is laudable, the ‘green revolution’ approach is based on Western-style agriculture, with its reliance on fertilizer, weed killers and single crops, such as corn [1].

Maingi was born on a farm in eastern Kenya and studied agriculture from a young age. He remembers a time when his family would grow and eat a diversity of crops, such as mung beans, green grams, pigeon peas, and a variety of fruits now considered ‘wild’.

The Seattle Globalist reported him as saying:

In the morning, you make porridge from maize and send the kids to school. For lunch, boiled maize and a few green beans. In the evening, ugali, [a staple dough-like maize dish, served with meat]… [today] it’s a monoculture diet, being driven by the food system – it’s an injustice.” [2]

As much of Africa is so dry, it’s not suited for thirsty crops, and heavy use of fertilizer kills worms and microbes important for soil health. Maingi argued that the model of farming in the West is not appropriate for farming in most ofAfrica and that the West should invest in indigenous knowledge and agro-ecology.

Growth Partners Africa works with farmers to enrich the soil with manure and other organic material, to use less water and to grow a variety of crops, including some that would be considered weeds on an industrial farm. For Maingi, food sovereignty in Africa means reverting back to a way of farming and eating that pre-dates major investment from the West.

Mariam Mayet of the African Centre for Biosafety in South Africa says that many countries are subsidizing farmers to buy fertilizer as part of the chemical-industrial model of agriculture, but that takes money away from public crop-breeding programmes that provide improved seeds to farmers at low cost.

Seattle Times quoted her:

It’s a system designed to benefit agribusinesses and not small-scale farmers.”

She added that so many institutions, from African governments to the World Bank, have ‘embraced’ the ‘green revolution’ that alternative farming methods are getting short shrift.

Elizabeth Mpofu, of La Via Campesina, grows a variety of crops in Zimbabwe. During a recent drought, neighbours who relied on chemical fertilizer lost most of their crops. She reaped a bounty of sorghum, corn, and millet using what are called agro-ecological methods: natural pest control, organic fertilizer, and locally adapted crops.

Anna Goren of The Seattle Globalist reported that panelists at the Summit discussed the loss of traditional diets and ways of life and were also concerned about the increased reliance on expensive inputs and the dramatic drop in price of crops. This has resulted in poverty for the small farmer.

Goren quoted Daniel Maingi:

What the World Bank has done, the International Monetary fund, what AGRA and Bill Gates are doing, it’s actually pretty wrong. The farmer himself should not be starving”.

He added that what AGRA is doing is “out of sync with the natural process” by bringing in imported seeds, which are not adapted to the land and require excessive fertilizer and pesticides.

Maingi has every right to be concerned. While small farms produce most of the world’s food, recent reports show they face being displaced from their land and are experiencing unnecessary hardship [3,4].

AGRA is part of a global trend that is being driven by big agritech that seeks to eradicate the small farmer and undermine local economies and food sovereignty by subjecting countries to the vagaries of rigged global markets [5,6].

Giant agritech corporations like Monsanto with their patented seeds and associated chemical inputs are working to ensure a shift away from diversified agriculture that guarantees balanced local food production, the protection of people’s livelihoods and environmental sustainability.

Small farmers are being displaced and are struggling to preserve their indigenous seeds and traditional knowledge of farming systems. Agritech corporations are being allowed to shape government policy by being granted a strategic role in trade negotiations [7].

They are increasingly setting the policy/knowledge framework by being allowed to fund and determine the nature of research carried out in public universities and institutes [8]. They continue to propagate the myth that they have the answer to global hunger and poverty, despite evidence that they do not [9,10].

The Gates Foundation, Monsanto and Western governments are placing African agriculture it in the hands of big agritech for private profit and strategic control under the pretext of helping the poor [11].

Of course there is another major concern pertaining to the motives of the Gates Foundation and Monsanto in Africa and elsewhere; that of depopulation via vaccines and/or genetically modified organisms [12,13].

These two entities are not just linked together through their involvement in AGRA. Bill Gates has substantial shares in Monsanto [14]. With Monsanto’s active backing from the US State Department [15] and the Gates Foundation’s links with USAID [16], together they comprise a formidable geopolitical strategic force.

Given that the Gates Foundation is about to be hauled through the Indian legal system for its vaccination programme in that country [17] and Monsanto has a decades’ long track record of deception and criminality [18], it is important for everyone (not least the mainstream corporate media) to question why agriculture is being handed over to such entities.

“… take capitalism and business out of farming in Africa. The West should invest in indigenous knowledge and agro-ecology, education and infrastructure and stand in solidarity with the food sovereignty movement.” Daniel Maingi, Growth Partners for Africa.

Source

__

Posted in Curiosity, Ethiopia, Infos | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Depopulation Agenda: Genetically-Modified Orange Bananas Ready for Human Testing

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on June 16, 2014

orange-bananaA 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.
 
It’s been nearly a decade in development, but a genetically modified breed of bananas that’s designed to combat starvation will soon enter human testing. The bananas are rich in beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A in the body. For the children in Africa suffering from vitamin A deficiencies, this is a godsend. Also these banana are orange.
 
The specific research is happening at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia thanks, in part, to nearly $10 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The idea, however, is to pass off the seeds for these super bananas to farmers in Uganda, where there’s a huge food shortage and 70 percent of the population survives on the fruit. Vitamin A deficiencies are not only killing children but also causing them to go blind, so the research moving forward is a very good thing.
 
These are no ordinary bananas. They’re grown in far north Queensland to boost the beta-carotene levels. The flesh of the super bananas is also orange which provides a visual clue to their genetically-modified otherness.
 
He said once the genetically modified bananas were approved for commercial cultivation in Uganda, the same technology could potentially be expanded to crops in other countries — including Rwanda, parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Tanzania.
 
Researchers involved in the scheme claim that the GMBs would help “reduce death and blindness rates in Uganda” and could begin a trend for the biotech industry to genetically modify other fruits and vegetables for the sake of enhancing nutrient rich foods naturally produced. Journalist David Rotman, writing for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Review claims that because of man-made climate change threatening crop production, “genetic engineering could be a solution for making the most of limited space and resources.”
 
In May, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have conducted a study which asserts that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are “stripping important food crops of their nutrients”; however the crops they focused on in the research were genetically modified organisms (GMO) that were created to be nutrient deficient.
 
These crops measured in the study include wheat, barley and soybeans which are GMO crops created by Monsanto.
 
The U.S. National Institutes of Health  (NIH) concluded in a study that GM foods contain pesticide residue has shown to produce human cellular endocrine disruptors were measured at 1000 times below necessary levels for optimal human health. Corroborating the NIH, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) found that “GM foods pose a serious health risk.” 
 
…now we know why…wake up Africa…say NO to GMO
 

__

 

Posted in Curiosity, Ethiopia, Infos | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How/Why The Luciferians Caused The Ethiopian Famine

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on June 2, 2013

famine-in-Ethiopia

My Note: This article, which describes how genetically modified seeds granted as “food aid” was instrumental in triggering famine. It was first published in The Ecologist in September 2000.My previous post on the subject Here

Ethiopia’s Famine courtesy of GM seed Laundering

The “economic therapy” imposed under IMF-World Bank jurisdiction is in large part responsible for triggering famine and social devastation in Ethiopia and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, wreaking the peasant economy and impoverishing millions of people.

With the complicity of branches of the US government, it has also opened the door for the appropriation of traditional seeds and landraces by US biotech corporations, which behind the scenes have been peddling the adoption of their own genetically modified seeds under the disguise of emergency aid and famine relief.

Moreover, under WTO rules, the agri-biotech conglomerates can manipulate market forces to their advantage as well as exact royalties from farmers. The WTO provides legitimacy to the food giants to dismantle State programmes including emergency grain stocks, seed banks, extension services and agricultural credit, etc.), plunder peasant economies and trigger the outbreak of periodic famines.

Crisis in the Horn

More than 8 million people in Ethiopia – representing 15% of the country’s population – had been locked into “famine zones”. Urban wages have collapsed and unemployed seasonal farm workers and landless peasants have been driven into abysmal poverty. The international relief agencies concur without further examination that climatic factors are the sole and inevitable cause of crop failure and the ensuing humanitarian disaster. What the media tabloids fails to disclose is that – despite the drought and the border war with Eritrea – several million people in the most prosperous agricultural regions have also been driven into starvation. Their predicament is not the consequence of grain shortages but of “free markets” and “bitter economic medicine” imposed under the IMF-World Bank sponsored Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP).

Ethiopia produces more than 90% of its consumption needs. Yet at the height of the crisis, the nationwide food deficit for 2000 was estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at 764,000 metric tons of grain representing a shortfall of 13 kilos per person per annum.1 In Amhara, grain production (1999-2000) was twenty percent in excess of consumption needs. Yet 2.8 million people in Amhara (representing 17% of the region’s population) became locked into famine zones and are “at risk” according to the FAO. 2 Whereas Amhara’s grain surpluses were in excess of 500,000 tons (1999-2000), its “relief food needs” had been tagged by the international community at close to 300,000 tons.3 A similar pattern prevailed in Oromiya, the country’s most populated state where 1.6 million people were classified “at risk”, despite the availability of more than 600,000 metric tons of surplus grain.4 In both these regions, which include more than 25% of the country’s population, scarcity of food was clearly not the cause of hunger, poverty and social destitution. Yet no explanations are given by the panoply of international relief agencies and agricultural research institutes.

The Promise of the “Free Market”

In Ethiopia, a transitional government came into power in 1991 in the wake of a protracted and destructive civil war. After the pro-Soviet Dergue regime of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam was unseated, a multi-donor financed Emergency Recovery and Reconstruction Project (ERRP) was hastily put in place to deal with an external debt of close to 9 billion dollars that had accumulated during the Mengistu government. Ethiopia’s outstanding debts with the Paris Club of official creditors were rescheduled in exchange for far-reaching macro-economic reforms. Upheld by US foreign policy, the usual doses of bitter IMF economic medicine were prescribed. Caught in the straightjacket of debt and structural adjustment, the new Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE), led by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) – largely formed from the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (PLF) – had committed itself to far-reaching “free market reforms”, despite its leaders’ Marxist leanings. Washington soon tagged Ethiopia alongside Uganda as Africa’s post Cold War free market showpiece.

While social budgets were slashed under the structural adjustment programme (SAP), military expenditure – in part financed by the gush of fresh development loans – quadrupled since 1989.5 With Washington supporting both sides in the Eritrea-Ethiopia border war, US arms sales spiralled. The bounty was being shared between the arms manufacturers and the agribusiness conglomerates. In the post-Cold War era, the latter positioned themselves in the lucrative procurement of emergency aid to war-torn countries. With mounting military spending financed on borrowed money, almost half of Ethiopia’s export revenues was earmarked to meet debt-servicing obligations.

A Policy Framework Paper (PFP) stipulating the precise changes to be carried out in Ethiopia had been carefully drafted in Washington by IMF and World Bank officials on behalf of the transitional government, and was forwarded to Addis Ababa for the signature of the Minister of Finance. The enforcement of severe austerity measures virtually foreclosed the possibility of a meaningful post-war reconstruction and the rebuilding of the country’s shattered infrastructure. The creditors demanded trade liberalization and the full-scale privatization of public utilities, financial institutions, State farms and factories. Civil servants including teachers and health workers were fired, wages were frozen and the labor laws were rescinded to enable State enterprises “to shed their surplus workers”. Meanwhile, corruption became rampant. State assets were auctioned off to foreign capital at bargain prices and Price Waterhouse Cooper was entrusted with the task of coordinating the sale of State property.

In turn, the reforms had led to the fracture of the federal fiscal system. Budget transfers to the State governments were slashed leaving the regions to their own devices. Supported by several donors, “regionalization” was heralded as a “devolution of powers from the federal to the regional governments”. The Bretton Woods institutions knew exactly what they were doing. In the words of the IMF, “[the regions] capacity to deliver effective and efficient development interventions varies widely, as does their capacity for revenue collection”.

Wrecking the Peasant Economy

Patterned on the reforms adopted in Kenya in 1991 (see Box 9.1 ), agricultural markets were willfully manipulated on behalf of the agribusiness conglomerates. The World Bank demanded the rapid removal of price controls and all subsidies to farmers. Transportation and freight prices were deregulated serving to boost food prices in remote areas affected by drought. In turn, the markets for farm inputs including fertilizer and seeds were handed over to private traders including Pioneer Hi-Bred International which entered into a lucrative partnership with Ethiopia Seed Enterprise (ESE), the government’s seed monopoly.7

At the outset of the reforms in 1992, USAID under its Title III program “donated” large quantities of US fertilizer “in exchange for free market reforms”:

[V]arious agricultural commodities [will be provided] in exchange for reforms of grain marketing… and [the] elimination of food subsidies…The reform agenda focuses on liberalization and privatization in the fertilizer and transport sectors in return for financing fertilizer and truck imports…. These program initiatives have given us [an] “entrée” …in defining major [policy] issues…

While the stocks of donated US fertiliser were rapidly exhausted; the imported chemicals contributed to displacing local fertiliser producers. The same companies involved in the fertilizer import business were also in control of the domestic wholesale distribution of fertilizer using local level merchants as intermediaries.

Increased output was recorded in commercial farms and in irrigated areas (where fertilizer and high yielding seeds had been applied). The overall tendency, however, was towards greater economic and social polarisation in the countryside, marked by significantly lower yields in less productive marginal lands occupied by the poor peasantry. Even in areas where output had increased, farmers were caught in the clutch of the seed and fertilizer merchants.

In 1997, the Atlanta based Carter Center – which was actively promoting the use of biotechnology tools in maize breeding – proudly announced that “Ethiopia [had] become a food exporter for the first time”.9 Yet in a cruel irony, the donors ordered the dismantling of the emergency grain reserves (set up in the wake of the 1984-85 famine) and the authorities acquiesced.

Instead of replenishing the country’s emergency food stocks, grain was exported to meet Ethiopia’s debt servicing obligations. Close to one million tons of the 1996 harvest was exported, an amount which would have been amply sufficient (according to FAO figures) to meet the 1999-2000 emergency. In fact the same food staple which had been exported (namely maize) was re-imported barely a few months later. The world market had confiscated Ethiopia’s grain reserves.

In return, US surpluses of genetically engineered maize (banned by the European Union) were being dumped on the horn of Africa in the form of emergency aid. The US had found a convenient mechanism for “laundering its stocks of dirty grain”. The agribusiness conglomerates not only cornered Ethiopia’s commodity exports, they were also involved in the procurement of emergency shipments of grain back into Ethiopia. During the 1998-2000 famine, lucrative maize contracts were awarded to giant grain merchants such as Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill Inc.

Laundering America’s GM Grain Surpluses

US grain surpluses peddled in war-torn countries also served to weaken the agricultural system. Some 500,000 tons of maize and maize products were “donated” in 1999-2000 by USAID to relief agencies including the World Food Programme (WFP) which in turn collaborates closely with the US Department of Agriculture. At least 30% of these shipments (procured under contract with US agribusiness firms) were surplus genetically modified grain stocks.

Boosted by the border war with Eritrea and the plight of thousands of refugees, the influx of contaminated food aid had contributed to the pollution of Ethiopia’s genetic pool of indigenous seeds and landraces. In a cruel irony, the food giants were at the same time gaining control – through the procurement of contaminated food aid – over Ethiopia’s seed banks. According to South Africa’s Biowatch: “Africa is treated as the dustbin of the world…To donate untested food and seed to Africa is not an act of kindness but an attempt to lure Africa into further dependence on foreign aid.”

Moreover, part of the “food aid” had been channelled under the “food for work” program which served to further discourage domestic production in favour of grain imports. Under this scheme, impoverished and landless farmers were contracted to work on rural infrastructural programmes in exchange for “donated” US corn.

Meanwhile, the cash earnings of coffee smallholders plummeted. Whereas Pioneer Hi-Bred positioned itself in seed distribution and marketing, Cargill Inc established itself in the markets for grain and coffee through its subsidiary Ethiopian Commodities.12 For the more than 700,000 smallholders with less than 2 hectares that produce between 90 and 95% of the country’s coffee output, the deregulation of agricultural credit combined with low farmgate prices of coffee had triggered increased indebtedness and landlessness, particularly in East Gojam (Ethiopia’s breadbasket).

Biodiversity up for Sale

The country’s extensive reserves of traditional seed varieties (barley, teff, chick peas, sorghum, etc) were being appropriated, genetically manipulated and patented by the agribusiness conglomerates: “Instead of compensation and respect, Ethiopians today are …getting bills from foreign companies that have “patented” native species and now demand payment for their use.”13 The foundations of a “competitive seed industry” were laid under IMF and World Bank auspices.14 The Ethiopian Seed Enterprise (ESE), the government’s seed monopoly joined hands with Pioneer Hi-Bred in the distribution of hi-bred and genetically modified (GM) seeds (together with hybrid resistant herbicide) to smallholders. In turn, the marketing of seeds had been transferred to a network of private contractors and “seed enterprises” with financial support and technical assistance from the World Bank. The “informal” farmer-to-farmer seed exchange was slated to be converted under the World Bank programme into a “formal” market oriented system of “private seed producer-sellers.” 15

In turn, the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute (EARI) was collaborating with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in the development of new hybrids between Mexican and Ethiopian maize varieties.16 Initially established in the 1940s by Pioneer Hi-Bred International with support from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, CIMMYT developed a cosy relationship with US agribusiness. Together with the UK based Norman Borlaug Institute, CIMMYT constitutes a research arm as well as a mouthpiece of the seed conglomerates. According to the Rural Advancement Foundation (RAFI) “US farmers already earn $150 million annually by growing varieties of barley developed from Ethiopian strains. Yet nobody in Ethiopia is sending them a bill.”

Impacts of Famine

The 1984-85 famine had seriously threatened Ethiopia’s reserves of landraces of traditional seeds. In response to the famine, the Dergue government through its Plant Genetic Resource Centre –in collaboration with Seeds of Survival (SoS)– had implemented a programme to preserve Ethiopia’s biodiversity.18 This programme – which was continued under the transitional government – skilfully “linked on-farm conservation and crop improvement by rural communities with government support services”. 19 An extensive network of in-farm sites and conservation plots was established involving some 30,000 farmers. In 1998, coinciding chronologically with the onslaught of the 1998-2000 famine, the government clamped down on seeds of Survival (SoS) and ordered the programme to be closed down.

The hidden agenda was to eventually displace the traditional varieties and landraces reproduced in village-level nurseries. The latter were supplying more than 90 percent of the peasantry through a system of farmer-to-farmer exchange. Without fail, the 1998-2000 famine led to a further depletion of local level seed banks: “The reserves of grains [the farmer] normally stores to see him through difficult times are empty. Like 30,000 other households in the [Galga] area, his family have also eaten their stocks of seeds for the next harvest.”21 And a similar process was unfolding in the production of coffee where the genetic base of the arabica beans was threatened as a result of the collapse of farmgate prices and the impoverishment of small-holders.

In other words, the famine – itself in large part a product of the economic reforms imposed to the advantage of large corporations by the IMF, World Bank and the US Government – served to undermine Ethiopia’s genetic diversity to the benefit of the biotech companies. With the weakening of the system of traditional exchange, village level seed banks were being replenished with commercial hi-bred and genetically modified seeds. In turn, the distribution of seeds to impoverished farmers had been integrated with the “food aid” programmes. WPF and USAID relief packages often include “donations” of seeds and fertiliser, thereby favouring the inroad of the agribusiness-biotech companies into Ethiopia’s agricultural heartland. The emergency programs are not the “solution” but the “cause” of famine. By deliberately creating a dependency on GM seeds, they had set the stage for the outbreak of future famines.

This destructive pattern – invariably resulting in famine – is replicated throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. From the onslaught of the debt crisis of the early 1980s, the IMF-World Bank had set the stage for the demise of the peasant economy across the region with devastating results. Now, in Ethiopia, fifteen years after the last famine left nearly one million dead, hunger is once again stalking the land. This time, as eight million people face the risk of starvation, we know that it isn’t just the weather that is to blame.

Source

Biodiversity22May2

Million Belay: Ethiopia doesn’t need or want Bill Gates

Ecological campaigner Million Belay talks about why protecting Ethiopia’s biodiversity is so important and why he opposes the intervention of philanthropists like Bill Gates

Ethiopia’s culture and forests are gradually being eroded. The younger generation is taught to admire western consumer-driven culture and to ignore the traditional heritage of their birthplace.

As director of the Movement for Ecological Learning and Community Action (MELCA) Million Belay works with local communities to protect their local biodiversity and lifestyles

Continue reading…

Two Million March Against Monsanto in Worldwide Protest of GM Foods

On Saturday, May 25, an estimated two million protesters turned out in 436 cities in 52 countries to protest genetically-modified (GM) foods and their primary developer, Monsanto Company, Inc. This far exceeded anything Tami Canal could have imagined when she created a Facebook page entitled “The March against Monsanto” back in February.

__

Posted in Ethiopia, Infos | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: