Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bill Gates Says We Can Alleviate World Hunger With Genetically-Engineered Seed

Bill Gates gestures during the IFAD meeting in Rome
Bill Gates: We Need Genetically Modified Seeds, Common Dreams, 23 February 2012
At a forum of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates pressed the need for genetically modified seeds in the developing world, and the need for a "digital revolution" to meet the needs of the world's farmers.

Gates' claims that genetically modified crops double or triple smaller farmers' yields have been challenged by recent research.

Gates announced $200 million in new grants from his foundation to finance research on a new type of drought-resistant maize.
"Genetic engineering has failed to increase the yield of any food crop but has vastly increased the use of chemicals and the growth of "superweeds", according to a report by 20 Indian, south-east Asian, African and Latin American food and conservation groups representing millions of people."
- GM Crops Promote Superweeds, Food Insecurity and Pesticides, say NGOs, John Vidal, the Guardian
“Bill Gates may be a smart guy in terms of computer programming, and an expert on how to become a billionaire, but he obviously knows nothing about agriculture other than what Monsanto and the biotech industry have told him.

Eighteen years after the introduction of the first genetically engineered crops, there is no evidence, including data from the pro-biotech USDA, that these energy and chemical-intensive crops increase yield, improve nutrition, or provide greater yields under adverse weather conditions of drought or heavily rains.

On the contrary hundreds of studies, including those by peer-reviewed scientists and the U.N.’s FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) indicate that organic crops provide significantly higher levels of vitamins, nutrients, and cancer-fighting anti-oxidants; that organic crops have significantly higher yields during periods of drought and torrential rain; and that agro-ecological or organic farms produce 2-10 times great yields than industrial-scale chemical and GMO farms.

In others words, not only can organic farming and ranching feed the world, but in fact it is the only way that we will ever be able to feed the world.”
- Ronnie Cummins, International Director of the Organic Consumers Association, to Common Dreams
How does he come to these conclusions? It's like he's living in a bubble.


Bix said...

It would be nice to see those millions spent on something less controversial. said...

Instead, maybe we could develop Genetically Engineered People who could do more while eating less food.

You know, people who stand 3 feet tall, weigh 50 pounds, reach reproductive age at 6, have 5 kids at a time, and can live in 6' by 6' rooms.

And of course, a big multinational corporation would own the patents for the Genetically Engineered People.

Bix said...

omg, you're so right. This is how citizens existed in the 1900s! At least in Chicago, probably on farms in the south too.

Let me see if I can find a quote...

Bix said...

"What they wanted from a hog was all the profits that could be got out of him; and that was what they wanted from the workingman, and also that was what they wanted from the public. What the hog thought of it, and what he suffered, were not considered; and no more was it with labor, and no more with the purchaser of meat."

From The Jungle

And today ... what regard is given to factory livestock? Raised in crates and cages and pumped with drugs.

What regard for people who work in food? Some of the lowest-paid people in the country.

What regard for those who live adjacent to factory farms?

What regard for the environment? Left parched from poor water management and polluted by animal waste and greenhouse gases.

And what regard for the people who eat the flesh of these sorry animals? Littered with the dross of their feed and handling?

Laurie Endicott Thomas said...

The more control the big seed companies get over the seed supply, the less genetic diversity there will be among the plants that are grown, and the more likely we are to see an emerging plant disease wipe out an entire crop, thus leading to massive starvation.

If you want to alleviate world hunger, educate and empower the world's poor, especially the girls and women.

Dr. Mel said...

Brilliant post, Bix, and a string of brilliant comments too. That quote from Sinclair Lewis is astounding.

Bix said...

That Jungle quote was from 1906. The rest, about how little we regard animals, workers, and consumers, were my comments from today. It's striking how little has changed in 100 years!

Jim got me started ... thinking how business would genetically engineer workers if they could. For heaven's sake, Indians are killing themselves because they can't afford to buy Monsanto's genetically engineered suicide-seed every year. This comes precariously close in concept.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if he'll eat any of his GE food?

sciatic nerve pain said...

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (The Doomsday Vault) in the northernmost island of Norway at Svalbard, is financed by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer Hi-Breed, and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). It is administered and run by the Norwegian government. It was opened in 2008 and will keep up to 3 million seed in the permafrost inside two vaults 120 meters into a mountain.

Anonymous said...

If only the comment near the bottom of the article wasn't made by a promoter of Organic foods I would actually give a crap what he said.

You choose one outlook at the story. Not a collaborated effort to find the truth. I come from a farm and the newer genetically modified seeds increase yield. The proof is growing in a field near you...

Bix said...

When someone gets on my blog, anonymously, criticizes me personally instead of the content, and makes it apparent that they benefit financially from Monsanto, a company that has several times in the past sent commenters to ridicule my GMO posts, I think they are a seed.

I would be willing to listen to an argument that supports the notion of GMOs increasing yield. But the only argument here is an ad hominem one, not only towards me, but to Mr. Cummins.