Bonum Certa Men Certa

Reader's Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods

Crops



Summary: The role of the Gates Foundation in GMO, or multinationals' crops

SUFFICE to say, especially for those who have already been reading on this subject [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], the Gates Foundation is similar to what Rockefeller achieved with the Rockefeller Foundation. It is a self-serving establishment which to the public seems like it's all about goodwill.



“It is just too convenient to dismiss critical views of Gates Foundation as "jealousy".”Microsoft deserves credit for mastering PR -- that is, being very able to perpetually deceive the public, especially the more mentally-feeble or those who have neither time nor desire to research for themselves. Here is a new case of sentimental blackmail in a Microsoft press release and here is another new example from the PR machine (this latter one comes from Children International). To an outsider it would seem innocent and characteristic of this big company's self-acclaimed innocence.

There is a lot more to the Gates Foundation than the mainstream press permits people to know (to a high degrees it is a matter of press ownership), but professors have become more outspoken in their criticism of the Gates Foundation in recent years. This only gets scarce coverage, if any at all. It is just too convenient to dismiss critical views of Gates Foundation as "jealousy". One of our readers did some studying on a particularly important subject, so we present it as follows for readers to take further interest in and maybe contribute more information. The narrative below is the contributing reader's, not mine.




I've been looking today into food and GMO and found something that BN can perhaps use. First, let me quote this article. It is well written and contains cites to a couple of academic articles under the heading "The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science". The two articles are:

1. The Development of a Flawed Enterprise [PDF]

2. Academic Capitalism and the Loss of Scientific Integrity [PDF]

I haven't fully read these yet, but what struck me is that multinational corporations are promoting GMO as a way to solve world hunger even though it is still unproven science. Also, the biogenetics field is largely corporate funded and speaking against it entails a risk for those in that field. The author of the above two peer-reviewed articles, Don Lotter, has decided to take the risk even though he isn't on a tenor track and it may damage his career prospects. It also struck me that, while some multinationals are campaigning for us to stake the food chains of the future on their unproven science, other multinationals are pointing to the "unproven science" of climatologists to paint them as "untrustworthy politicians" and to promote skepticism of global warning.

Going back to the Huffington Post article, I noticed something very similar to what I've seen frequently on Boycott Novell. That is, someone posts an article critical of multinational corporations and ad hominem or FUD attacks on the articles quickly arrive in the comments. It's worth reading Don Lotter's response to this.

Finally, there is a link between Monsanto, GMOs and the Gates Foundation. I found the following article from 2008 cited in the Huffington Post article:

From the article:

The Gates Foundation made its first foray into agriculture in 2006 with a $100 million grant to create an initiative with the Rockefeller Foundation called the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Based in Nairobi, AGRA took as its model the original Green Revolution, which helped relieve widespread famine in the 1940s through the 1960s by boosting production of maize, wheat and rice in Latin America and Asia. Part of the controversy lies in the Gates Foundation's choosing that approach.

Using strains of crops that required fertilizer, pesticides and irrigation, the Green Revolution methods increased yields. But they also damaged the environment, favored wealthier farmers and left some poorer ones deeper in debt.


Also:

The situation was further complicated when former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, now chairman of AGRA's board, made a statement that African journalists interpreted as rejecting the use of genetically modified seeds.

The Gates Foundation later said Annan was misquoted.


And:

The Gates Foundation, whose science-and-technology efforts are led by a former Monsanto researcher, is helping African governments develop biosafety standards and regulations and training local researchers in the latest plant breeding.


While the article says that "it will be a decision for African governments and farmers" whether to use GMOs, I won't be surprised to see the Gates Foundation promoting their use. I have started to read the first Lotter paper and already I have found a juicy quote on page 5:

Illustrative is the Monsanto Corporation's global marketing vision from a 2005 company document: "full adoption of GM crops globally would result in income gains of US$210 billion per year within the next decade, with the largest potential gains occurring in developing countries at a rate of 2.1 percent gross national product per year" (Lopez Villar et al., 2007).

Much of this push is being done with the help of US foreign aid agencies such as the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as well as well-endowed nGos such as the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations (African Centre for Biosafety, 2007; Ho, 2007; Lopez Villar et al., 2007). USAID is mandated to partner with US biotechnology corporations to promote the companies' crops in developing countries (Brenner, 2004).


I think that's more evidence for my speculation that the Gates Foundation is helping to spread GMO foods to developing countries. What they do now seems very consistent to me: I know that they like to "donate" Microsoft software to libraries and schools, they like to donate pharmaceuticals to developing countries and now I find that they like to spread GMO foods there as well. Whatever they do seems to have the side-effect of encouraging or spreading dependencies on multi-national corporations.

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