Food security & food aid as alibi, GMO being massively pushed into Ethiopia, Africa

3 Nov

Editor’s Note:

    Do you recall, when Meles Zenawi took out brief time to serve as the genetically modified organisms (GMO) Ambassador to Africa? It was a short-lived stint; when Meles heard the strong criticisms from Ethiopians in the diaspora and other African experts, he swiftly changed tack.

    His interest was not in what or how crops are modified; he simply wanted US protection and friendship and also to befriend its big multinational companies. Surely, he was successful in getting what he wanted. After all, the crucial point was staying in power as long as possible, for which the support of the US establishment and its companies was crucial.

    This does not mean that the US did not know or was not troubled by his bloodthirsty activities, or what a power-crazed dictator he had been. They kept their noses between their two fingers, so long as the cooperation in the economic and security spheres were satisfactory. Since the US was in competition with China in Africa, they have removed their eyes with the Africa-US ball.

    Nor was Meles’s concern the food security of Ethiopians. When he spoke in praise of GMO technology, he was already being hounded by the West for his massacre of hundreds in Gambela. He was worried that he might end up being tried for crimes against humanity.

    As a matter of coincidence, the media was abuzz with the Rome Statute that had just come into force, i.e., as of July 1, 2002. Shortly after, the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) was established, which ever since has been in the TPLF teeth in Ethiopia.

    What was the content of Meles’s promotional in support of GMOs in 2004? He timidly argued, “Should we rule out GM crops or biotechnology as a weapon in our arsenal? No. Why should we rule out any technology? GM technology is like every [other] technology … It could be used well, or it could be misused. The issue is how to use it well. I think it can be used well if is used safely and if it does not increase the already big power of huge multinationals at the expense of the small-scale farmer.”

    Of course, there was Jeffery Sachs of Columbia University was on hand next to him to lend him his support stating: “I think agro-biotechnology is an important tool that can add a lot to the food security and incomes of African farmers.”

    Recall that the most formidable opponent of GMOs in Ethiopia, who especially pissed the US, Canada and UK was Dr. Tewolde B. G. Egziabher. He later became the first director-general of Ethiopia’s Environmental Protection Authority. On January 21, 2003, at the end of Earth Summit in Johannesburghe was quoted stating:

    “American plans to force genetically modified crops and food on to Third World countries were unexpectedly frustrated at the Earth Summit last night. After an impassioned plea from Ethiopia, ministers rejected clauses in the summit’s plan of action which would have given the World Trade Organisation (WTO) powers over international treaties on the environment … Originally, the only resistance to the proposals came from Norway and Switzerland but after the Ethiopian delegation made its intervention the rest of the Third World swung against it, followed by the European Union which had originally been pushed into adopting it by EC officials. The US was left isolated.

    “I have never seen so many environmental ministers hugging each other as when the proposal went down,” said one British negotiator early this morning.”

    Tewelde Berhan must have persuaded Meles not to take TPLF politics that commercial route. He must have convinced him that he would lose his domestic Ethiopian and African support, which would deny him the international limelight as Africa’s spokesperson that he so much loved. That role has now presumably become a preserve of Ethiopian officials at the G-8, G-20, climate change, environment, sustainable panels and on matters related to African development.

    Unfortunately, the regime in Ethiopia has the habit of being sneaky and surreptitious. Therefore, while by law opposing GMO, today the regime is waggling to exchange favors with GMO companies. This has encouraged persistence of GMO dealers. They are using less and less of their diplomatic lever that we saw between 2000-2010.

    They are now trying to be more discreet, but still as they keep on pushing GMOs into Ethiopia and other African countries. In Ethiopia, these foreign companies are encouraged and protected by some senior TPLF members in party and government for the same reason Meles showed interest in becoming the GMO Ambassador to Africa.

    Ethiopians need to keep their eyes open to see that the country, its interests and the future of our children is not endangered merely to keep the TPLF in power.

 
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by Ethan A. Huff Staff Writer
Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory

(NaturalNews) When Wikileaks first dropped the bomb on the U.S. Department of State’s active involvement in pushing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on Africa back in 2010, subsequent reports affirming that the corporate cabal of predatory biotechnology was also busy conniving with corrupt government agencies to make inroads into the otherwise untapped agricultural markets of Africa quickly surfaced. But now this sinister scheme has apparently been shifted into overdrive, as the biotech industry and its many front groups grow increasingly desperate in their attempts to conquer Africa and claim it for their own.

As compiled and reported by GMWatch.org, new information gathered from multiple sources reveals that biotech companies have now infiltrated the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe, which is right now actively advocating what it ridiculously claims is the proven safety and efficacy of GM crops. This is, of course, in addition to the many other biotech-backed lobbying groups, non-profit foundations and developmental organizations that continue to tour the nations of Africa and aggressively blitz them with endless pro-GMO propaganda.

Though such activity has been taking place in Africa for years, it is only continuing to intensify, say experts, as the patience of biotech companies like Monsanto and DuPont grows thin. Europe has all but banned GMOs, with the exception of imported animal feed, and the U.S. is growing more and more resistant to GMOs with each passing day. So the biotech industry is shifting its focus to Africa, much of which is stricken with poverty and drought — in other words, Africa is ripe for exploitation by multinational seed corporations.

“While Africa has long been intransigent in its stance against introducing genetically modified crops, cracks are forming in the opposition, and the world’s leading biotechs — DuPont, Monsanto, and Syngenta among them — are poised to take advantage of the weakening stance and flood the market with seed, fertilizer, and pesticides,” writes Rich Duprey for The Motley Fool about the situation. “With Europe effectively closed off to GM crops, the seed and chemical giants are looking to Africa to be their next growth market.”

Corporate lobbyists shamelessly use poverty, hunger as cover story to pillage African agriculture

According to GMWatch.org, former State Department communications expert-turned-Monsanto public relations lobbyist Jay Byrne, for instance, has been actively meeting with lobbying front groups in Africa to advocate for more acceptance of GMOs. Other so-called “biotech ambassadors” are engaged in similar lobbying efforts, including pro-GMO activist Mark Lynas, who, as we previously reported, spends much of his time touring Africa and giving speeches about how GMOs can save Africa.

All this corporate pandering in promotion of GMOs has nothing to do with ending hunger and poverty in Africa, of course. This is just the front story that the biotech industry and its lackeys in the federal government are using to advance their agenda of enslaving African farmers into a system that will require them to purchase seeds from Monsanto every year rather than save and reuse them. It is about power, control and greed — an incessant bloodlust for agricultural dominance in every corner of the globe.

“If Africa does succumb to the siren song of GM crops, control of the food chain will be taken from the hands of the family farmer and placed into those of the agri-giants,” adds Duprey. “For farmers who wished to go back to the old ways, their fields would have to lie fallow for years before the chemicals poured onto them were gone, a practical impossibility when the harvests are used for subsistence … A new era of agricultural colonialism will be born where the local farmer ends up becoming enslaved to the global profit demands of corporate agriculture.”
 

Source: Natural News. This article first was published on Sept 24, 2013 on Natural News.
 

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