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Wikileaks, polit(r)ic(k)s and GMOs – Part 2


PHOTO: Youtube

PHOTO: Youtube

Continued from yesterday
Lastly, the authors completely ignored the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Prof. Hilal Elver, who speaks not just with the authority of her UN role, but as a respected academic. As a research professor and co-director at the Project on Global Climate Change, Human Security and Democracy in the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Aside from her 2013 report titled ‘Wake up before it is too late’, here are some excerpts from her speech on agriculture and climate change.
“Food policies which do not address the root causes of world hunger would be bound to fail.”
Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using ‘agro-ecological’ methods.’
“Agro-ecology is a traditional way of using farming methods that are less resource oriented, and which work in harmony with society. New research in agro-ecology allows us to explore more effectively how we can use traditional knowledge to protect people and their environment at the same time.”
“Empirical and scientific evidence shows that small farmers feed the world. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), 70% of food we consume globally comes from small farmers”.

Neither can the authors wish away the huge list of countries that have banned GMO cultivation such as Austria, Belgium for the Wallonia region, Britain for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.

Nor can the authors wish away the determination of governments to protect the interest of their people, as seen below. On Monday, August 24,2015, the German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidit announced that in addition to its existing bans on GMO cultivation, it will make use of the “Opt-out” rules to stop GMO crop cultivation even if varieties are approved by the EU.

So with all this misdirection, misinformation and deception, one must ask who are these people and whose interest do they serve? I got my answer in the Wikileaks (Wikileaks is an international, non-profit, journalistic organisation that publishes leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct).

The following are excerpts from leaked cables between the US Embassy in Nigeria and Washington.
Filed under – Nigeria and Biotechnology public diplomacy -2004 February 24, 13:33 (Tuesday)

“1. Summary. The U.S. Mission in Nigeria would like to propose several projects to expand biotechnology awareness and acceptance in Nigeria; all are consistent with the Mission’s biotechnology collaborative efforts with the National Agency for Biotechnology Development and Assistance (NABDA) and broader USG (United States Government) objectives in the sector of economic development. We propose three workshops for legislators, government officials, and journalists in Nigeria and a press tour in the United States for Nigerian journalists. Total financing requested is $110,000.”
Filed under – Nigeria: WTO biotech public diplomacy efforts classified by Ambassador Howard f. Jeter. 2003 February 5, 10:02 (Wednesday)
“Many agricultural experts in both the private and public sectors have close professional connections to Europe and are sympathetic to European opinions. This is particularly true of Nigeria’s limited agricultural export sector, which exports mainly to Europe (though sometimes through Third World countries – such as India – where processing takes place) and could face the dilemma of having to chose between biotechnology and continued access to European markets.

In Nigeria, biotechnology is not generally viewed as a tool used by the developed world to keep developing countries impoverished. However, the WTO is often perceived in that light and is publicly criticised as an arm of the developed world. The Embassy, therefore, recommends that any biotechnology outreach initiative focus on the positive impact that biotechnology could have in Nigeria. The outreach should not focus primarily on the WTO case against Europe. Such a focus might obfuscate the issue by causing Nigerians to believe that support for biotechnology and WTO are one in the same, and such belief would not advance our interests.

4. (U) The Embassy’s ongoing efforts in support of biotechnology include a proposed U.S. press tour for Nigerian journalists who cover biotechnology issues and a comprehensive USAID proposal to support GON biotech efforts through a Nigeria Agriculture Biotechnology Program. In 2002, a large delegation from Iowa, led by the Governor, visited Nigeria and extensively discussed biotechnology issues. The University of Iowa expressed interest in doing work here, but there has been little follow-up. Monsanto has also been a frequent visitor to Nigeria.

However, constraints include the realities of Nigeria’s current (primarily European) export markets, institutional and bureaucratic conflict, lack of scientific capacity, and a need to dispel myths related to genetically engineered foods. End Comment.”
Filed under – Nigeria: Funding request for FY09 biotechnology outreach. 2009 January 20, 15:07 (Tuesday)
“Under its policy reform project, USAID currently provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Environment on drafting, passage and implementation of a comprehensive bio-safety law.

Post proposes a speaker program on bio-safety using a U.S. and Nigerian expert to build support for the passage of the draft Nigerian Biosafety Bill among key Nigerian constituents. The U.S. speaker will discuss biotechnology from a legal perspective, benefits to farmers and consumers, environmental benefits, and current international trends. The Nigerian speaker will address the benefits of biotechnology and its role in helping Nigeria achieve food security.

Impact of project on USG objectives: Will advance USG’s (United States Government) objective”
Filed under – Nigeria: Status of biotechnology regulations. 2003 October 21, 14:36 (Tuesday)
“Comment: Nigeria’s Director General (DG) of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently told the AgAttache that “after attending a biotech conference in Europe, she agrees with a mandatory labeling for biotech food products.”

• To be continued
• Rhodes-Vivour wrote via


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