Theres nothing more refreshing than standing in a cool, summertime rain shower. Or bathing in the warm sunlight on a crisp spring day. Or inhaling the cool autumn air, fresh with the scent of turning leaves and pine needles. These things — rainwater, sunlight, air — have long been assumed to be not only free, but un-claimable. You cant claim to own the sunlight that falls on my front yard, for example. A corporation cant claim intellectual property ownership over the air that you breathe and demand you pay a royalty for inhaling.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is once again busy funding efforts to promote the spread of the agricultural cancer that are genetically-modified GM crops, this time in the form of a $10 million grant it recently issued to a group of British scientists working on new GM crops that require no fertilizer. According to the U.K.s BBC, the justification behind the need for such research is that the GM crops will supposedly benefit African farmers that are unable to afford fertilizer.
A new plan forged by the Obama administration to help end hunger in Africa relies heavily on investments from large-scale agribusiness while disregarding contributions from organic and small farmers, critics contend. President Barack Obama announced this week that it had garnered $3 billion in commitments from companies like DuPont, Monsanto and Cargill aimed at increasing food supplies to malnourished African regions.
Antipoverty advocates complained that relying on these producers was the wrong strategy. Lamine Ndiaye of Oxfam said the objective of giant agribusiness “is not to fight against hunger; their objective is to make money.” Ronnie Cummins, director of the Organic Consumers Association, warned that Obama’s belief that hunger can be alleviated through corporate investments was “misguided.” “To help the world’s two billion small farmers and rural villagers survive and prosper we need to help them gain access, not to genetically engineered seeds and expensive chemical inputs; but rather access to land, water, and the tools and techniques of traditional, sustainable farming: non-patented open-pollinated seeds, crop rotation, natural compost production, beneficial insects, and access to local markets,” Cummins told Commons Dreams.
The stated goal of Obama’s food program is to promote sustainable agriculture and reduce the number of people worldwide living in poverty by 50 million over the next decade.
To Learn More:
Hedge Funds Muscle into African Agriculture (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
via AllGov – News – Obama Africa Food Aid Plan Opens Door to Biggest Agribusiness Companies.