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Feeding You – The Nation – The World

January 23, 2009


Industrial agriculture has been irrationally propagated as a system to feed the world. It suggests that if we were to turn to any other method of growing food our yields and efforts would fail to supply the food for world hunger or aid struggling countries. In an international report from a study dealing with current agricultural policies and methods, scientists did not find results matching claims from biotech companies: 
Delegates from 20 African Countries to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN also responded sharply to Monsanto’s PR campaign, issuing a joint public statement in which they declared: “We strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly nor economically beneficial to us.”

But a decade later, in the face of massive food price inflation affecting some of the poorest countries in the world, claims that GM crops are the silver bullet that can deliver cheap and abundant food for all are once again being made. The evidence to support such claims, however, is scant to non-existent, as noted by the recently concluded International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), a process involving 400 scientific experts initiated by the World Bank with the co-sponsorship of the United Nations.

The IAASTD process involved a thorough sifting of the evidence about agriculture and food production, and took four years to complete. Its 2500-page report, based on peer reviewed publications, concluded that the yield gains in GM crops “were highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined”. The report also noted, “Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable.” Asked at a press conference whether GM crops were the simple answer to hunger and poverty, IAASTD Director Professor Bob Watson (former director of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and as of 2008, chief scientist at Defra) replied, “I would argue, no “. The UK Government approved the IAASTD report on 9 June 2008. 
Dan Barber, a Chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, wrote in an Op-Ed for the NY-TimesOrganic fruits and vegetables contain 40 percent more nutrients than their chemical-fed counterparts. And animals raised on pasture provide us with meat and dairy products containing more beta carotene and at least three times as much C.L.A. (conjugated linoleic acid, shown in animal studies to reduce the risk of cancer) than those raised on grain.” (for more information on animals and C.L.A. see article: The Health Costs of an Industrial Diet ). In fact – from the information below – this article suggests how difficult industrial agriculture has made it for feeding the future; or, in dealing with the external harms its system has brought to our personal, economic and environmental bodies… (sorry, article not available until the spring…)

J.B. Pribanic of The Erie Wire  

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