AgroEcology blocks improvements for the poor

Eco-Imperialism Book by Paul Driessen

Uber-organic campaign enshrines primitive agriculture and malnutrition as human rights

Paul Driessen and David Wojick                   

Friday, ‎July ‎20, ‎2018, ‏‎11:11:47 PM

Not every poor person in impoverished places around the world aspires to the modern living standards they see and hear about: indoor plumbing, electricity for lights, a refrigerator and stove, a paucity of disease-carrying insects, top-notch schools and hospitals, their children living past age five. But many do.

Not every poor African, Asian or Latin American farmer wants to give up his backbreaking, dawn to dusk traditional agricultural practices, guiding his ox and plow, laying down meager supplies of manure to fertilize crops, surviving droughts, repeatedly hand spraying pesticides to battle ravenous insects – to reap harvests that often barely feed his family, much less leave produce to sell locally. But many do.

Unfortunately, they often face formidable foes. An absence of electricity, roads and other infrastructure. Corrupt, kleptocratic governments. Nonexistent property rights and other collateral to secure loans. Powerful, well-financed eco-imperialists whose policies perpetuate poverty, malnutrition and disease.

Banks and other carbon colonialists glorify limited wind and solar energy for poor villages, while denying financial support for fossil fuel electricity generation. Anti-chemical fanatics promote bed nets and narrowly defined “integrated pest management,” but bitterly oppose chemical pesticides and the spatial repellant DDT to kill mosquitoes, keep them out of homes and prevent deadly malaria.

Radical organic food groups battle any use of genetically engineered crops that multiply crop yields, survive droughts and slash pesticide spraying by 75% or more. They even vilify Golden Rice, which enables malnourished children to avoid Vitamin A Deficiency, blindness and death.

Now poor country families face even harder struggles, as a coalition of well-financed malcontents, agitators and pressure groups once again proves the adage that power politics makes strange bedfellows. Coalition members share a deep distaste for fossil fuels, chemical pesticides and fertilizers, corporations, capitalism, biotechnology, and virtually all aspects of modern agriculture.

Their growing social-political movement is called “AgroEcology.” While the concept is studiously vague, it essentially asserts that indigenous, traditional farmers must be shielded from market forces and modern technologies, so that they can continue using ancient, primitive, “culturally appropriate” methods.

AgroEcology is anti-GMO organic food activism on steroids. It rejects virtually everything that has enabled modern agriculture to feed billions more people from less and less acreage and, given the chance, could eliminate hunger and malnutrition worldwide. It is rabidly opposed to biotechnology, monoculture farming, non-organic fertilizers and chemical insecticides – and even despises mechanized equipment like tractors, and the hybrid seeds and other advances developed by Dr. Norman Borlaug’s Green Revolution.

AgroEcology advocates tortured but clever concepts like “food sovereignty” and the “right to subsistence farming by indigenous people.” It promotes “indigenous agricultural knowledge and practices,” thus excluding the vast storehouse of non-indigenous learning, practices and technologies that were developed in recent centuries – and are readily available to anyone with access to a library or internet connection.

Or as they put it: “Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies, rather than the demands of markets and corporations.” Food sovereignty also “focuses on production and harvesting methods that maximize the contribution of ecosystems, avoid costly and toxic inputs, and improve the resiliency of local food systems in the face of climate change.” (The 2007 Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty. In Mali!)

Some adherents even seek the “re-peasantization” of Latin American society!

AgroEcology has the financial backing of far-left foundations like the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, which collectively have committed more than $500 million to a raft of like-minded NGOs.

Its precepts and policies are approved and actively promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Bank and other UN agencies at their taxpayer-funded international conferences. These agencies are even beginning to demand adherence to über-organic practices as a condition for receiving taxpayer funding for agricultural development programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. (But taxpayers and legislators who provide the funding have been permitted little substantive input on any of this.)

It’s all justified – and often accepted without question in government agencies and universities – by reference to the politically correct, virtue-signaling terminology of our era: sustainability, sustainable farming, dangerous manmade climate change, social justice, indigenous rights, self-determination.

Also typical, anyone opposing these ideologies, policies and demands is vilified as a “willful supporter” of violence against women, “land-grabbing” by multinational corporations, peasant farmer suicides, “mass expropriation and genocide” of indigenous people, and crimes against humanity.

Imagine how intolerant AgroEcology ideologues would react if a farmer wanted to assert his or her food sovereignty and self-determination – by planting hybrid corn, using modern synthetic fertilizers or (heaven forbid) planting Bt corn (maize), to get higher yields, spend less time in the field, spray fewer pesticides, or improve the family’s living standards by selling surplus crops. And yet many want to do exactly that.

“By planting the new Bt cotton on my six hectares [15 acres], I was able to build a house and give it a solar panel,” Bethuel Gumede told the late Roy Innis, then chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, during a trip to South Africa. “I also bought a TV and fridge. My wife can buy healthy food, and we can afford to send the kids to school. My life has changed completely.”

“I grow maize on a half hectare,” Elizabeth Ajele told him. “The old plants would be destroyed by insects, but not the new biotech plants. With the profits I get from the new Bt maize, I can grow onions, spinach and tomatoes, and sell them for extra money to buy fertilizer. We were struggling to keep hunger out of our house. Now the future looks good.”

Equally relevant, how can agricultural practices that barely sustained families and villages before the advent of modern agriculture possibly feed the world? As Dr. Borlaug said in 2006: “Our planet has 6.5 billion people. If we use only organic fertilizers and methods on existing farmland, we can only feed 4 billion. I don’t see 2.5 billion people volunteering to disappear.”

AgroEcology promoters like Greenpeace, Food & Water Watch, Pesticide Action Network, Union of Concerned scientists and La Via Campesina (The Peasant Way) pay little attention to any of this. They’re too busy “saving people” from “dangerous” hybrid seeds, GMOs, agribusiness, farm machinery and chemicals. Not that any of them would ever want to toil on any of the primitive farms they extol.

Greenpeace frightens Africans by claiming “some researchers think DDT and DDE could be inhibiting lactation” in nursing mothers. So families are afraid to use DDT, and millions die from preventable malaria, while still more millions suffer permanent brain or liver damage from the disease. Would it also oppose cancer-curing chemotherapy because it causes hair loss and reduced resistance to infections?

Modern instruments can detect chemicals in mere parts per billion (the equivalent of a few seconds in 32 years) or even parts per trillion (a few seconds in 32,000 years). That’s hardly a threat to human health.

But Luddite eco-imperialists and über-organic food activists stridently oppose any manmade fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, while saying “natural” pesticides commonly used by organic farmers are safe. In reality, copper sulfate can kill humans in lower doses per kilogram of body weight than aspirin, and exposure to rotenone causes Parkinson’s Disease-like symptoms in rats and can also kill humans.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, US and EU government agencies, and real human rights advocates should challenge and denounce AgroEcology agitators and their financial enablers for advancing fraudulent claims that perpetuate malnutrition, poverty and human rights abuses in the world’s poorest countries. They should also cut off funding to any government agencies that support AgroEcology nonsense.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy, climate change and economic development. David Wojick is an independent analyst specializing in science and logic in public policy.

For original article go to Luddite eco-imperialists claim to be virtuous

Insect-resistant GMO cowpeas slated to feed West African families

Plagued by pest, African farmers may soon have access to insect-resistant GMO cowpeas—for free

A project begun nearly 15 years ago is finally coming to fruition, as Nigeria is poised to become the first country to release a genetically modified variety of insect-resistant cowpeas to farmers.

“The cowpea growers have been very supportive. They like the GM crop. They have seen it perform and they are ready to grow it,” Issoufou Kollo Abdourhamane, the project’s manager at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), told me.

Cowpeas, known as black-eyed peas in the United States, are a key source of protein for over 200 million people, mostly in West Africa. However, the destructive pod borer insect can cause yield losses of up to 80 percent, and conventional breeding methods have been unable to help.

The GMO crop has shown strong resistance to the pest in field trials so far. Scientists used genetic engineering to insert a single gene from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a soil bacterium commonly used as an approved natural insecticide and sprayed on crops by organic farmers.

Several crops now utilize the Bt technology to protect against insects, including corn and soybeans in the US, cotton in the US and India, and eggplant in Bangladesh. Monsanto developed the first Bt crop, corn, in 1996. Today, over 75 percent of the corn grown in the US is Bt.

The intellectual property for the Bt gene was provided by Monsanto to the project royalty-free. This, along with initial funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and sustained funding for the past decade from the US government’s Agency for International Development (USAID), will allow the seeds to be distributed to farmers at no cost. Monsanto has also provided Bt traits royalty-free for other development projects, such as eggplant in Bangladesh and corn in Africa.

Read more . . . Plagued by pest, African farmers may soon have access to insect-resistant GMO cowpeas—for free

Related Articles:  Young Ugandan biotech advocates push back against scare tactics of European and American-funded anti-GMO African environmental activists — Genetic Literacy Project

The Truth about GMOs: good or bad?

In boon to poor farmers, Ghana poised to introduce GMO crops — Genetic Literacy Project

 

New hope for Africa vs. Old stagnation

Africans need Investment, Infrastructure, Education, Employment and Disease Control, not Foreign Aid

https://video214.com/play/tXLpKzOOsWPjvM2HLPgPVA/s/dark

Africa is two worlds: the cities, which are growing economically at a fast pace, and the rural poor who lack infrastructure needed for raising themselves above poverty and disease. Between these are fairly prosperous market agricultural areas and unemployed job seekers who inhabit substandard housing encircling cities.

Poverty is prolonged by long-standing wrong attitudes and practices that are so entrenched in our world view that many do not see any other way.  The colonial powers failed to develop the needed infrastructure for development except marginally in the cities, so the rural poor remained isolated and stuck in poverty, disease and unemployment. Upon independence, communists or their puppets replaced colonialists in most of these countries, but continued the same bad practices and attitudes.

Foreign aid has been a disaster for these countries because of the lack of accountability and corruption of local governments. Country leaders kept/keep most of the money and grew/grow extremely wealthy, while at the same time, failing to build roads, railroads, electrical systems, education systems and health facilities, and to develop job opportunities by encouraging investment. Corrupt leaders were/are only accountable to donor nations/organizations and unaccountable to the people. Relying on foreign aid and not the tax base of the country meant there was/is no incentive to encourage investment and to develop infrastructure that would support business expansion and job opportunities.

Communist attitudes toward free markets and propaganda against foreign investment only deepen the tendency to keep these countries poor and under top-down control.  At the same time, this situation has fostered violent resistance by factions not favored by the government, which had to be strictly controlled and squashed as it arose. Violence and unrest in any form and government corruption serve to discourage foreign investors as well as charitable organizations that could help raise the health and economy of the rural poor.

Investment and infrastructure are key to economic development and ending extreme poverty. Government to government foreign aid should be stopped immediately except for short-term emergency assistance during disasters, and only with  complete accountability about how the money is spent, as well as assurances that the distribution is done fairly.  Any foreign assistance for infrastructure projects should involve paying engineering firms directly, not funneling funds through corrupt officials who might pocket most of the money and promise but never deliver results.

African economies have historically been based on agriculture and extraction industries.  Most of Africa’s agricultural businesses have been based on small to medium farms, but are profitable only in areas where transportation infrastructure permits access to markets. Development of roads and railroads is important to expand agricultural opportunities and markets.  With improved crop varieties and modern agriculture Africa can provide much needed food for the world, but only if markets and ports are accessible.

The exploitation of natural resources by colonial powers without just compensation has been used as an excuse to discourage foreign  investment in mining and extraction activities.  It is only exploitation if the country and its people do not benefit and profit from the activity.  Communist propaganda confuses the two approaches, so that businesses that could benefit the economy are discouraged.  Agricultural and extraction industries with their associated infrastructure development can help to raise economies and standards of living by providing jobs and putting an end to high rural unemployment.

In the cities, manufacturing, banking, service, technical and communications industries are rapidly developing in areas where governments have improved business opportunities and practices. Ease of doing business, stable governments with low corruption levels and adequate infrastructure encourage investment that can raise economies.  Opportunities and workforce availability make African countries a good place to invest and open new businesses.

Long Term Solutions to Raise Developing Countries out of Extreme Poverty

Mass Sterilization in India – after care for botched sterilizations

Long Term Solutions for Developing Counries

  1. End Population Control Campaigns
  2. End DDT Bans to reduce Malaria, etc.
  3. Implement Hygiene Education Programs
  4. Aggressively Treat All Worm Infestations
  5. End Insistence on Subsistence Farming
  6. End the European Union Ban on Importing GMO Crops
  7. End Insistence on Solar and Wind Power Only
  8. Provide Electricity and Clean Water Systems for City Slums and Rural Villages
  9. Encourage Foreign and Domestic Investment
  10. End foreign aid without full accountability

 DETAILS

  1. End Population Control Campaigns.
    • We need to work to stop these campaigns by groups such as UNFPA, USAID, WHO, World Bank, International Planned Parenthood, Population Council, and Club of Rome. A few ways to do this are to Expose the lies about overpopulation, their sources, and their aim. The overpopulation myth is all about socialist control, racism, elitism, and misguided environmentalism. Poverty, not overpopulation is harmful to the environment. Raising people out of extreme poverty will benefit the environment.
    • Defund all programs that promote involuntary or forced sterilizations, birth control, or abortion. Promote voluntary, informed choices only. President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which withholds funds from foreign aid programs that promote or perform abortions. He also defunded UNFPA through the Kemp-Kasten amendment, which prohibits funding for any organization supporting coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. Unfortunately, some other population control advocacy groups have stepped in to fill the gap. The US must pressure the UN and member countries to end this practice worldwide. The US must also defund Planned Parenthood.
    • End overstocking population control drugs, devices and sterilization supplies in hospitals and clinics. Use the funds from this and other population control activities to stock medical facilities with medicines and supplies for endemic diseases such as malaria, TB and parasites. Medical facilities need supplies for treating injuries, surgical supplies and vaccination sera to save children’s lives.
      • Provide sanitation, clean water and soap for handwashing for all clinics and hospitals.
      • Train local people as medical assistants in the tradition of the field medic as a first line of defense.
    • End Western values-based sex education in schools that encourages abortion, multiple partners, and thus sexually transmitted diseases. These practices are contrary to local cultural and religious beliefs and practices. We must respect their cultural and religious beliefs, which value children and family above all else. Imposing Western values on them destroys families and results in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Encourage monogamy and fidelity in marriage to one sexual partner as one of the best ways to reduce sexually transmitted diseases.
  2. End DDT bans to reduce Malaria, etc.
    • Begin widespread spraying in homes and medicate victims to cut the cycle of malaria and other insect-borne diseases.
    • The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC,  and other agencies that regulate possible toxins must change their regulations to allow DDT to be used for control of mosquitos and other insects.
    • India is a good example of how effective this approach can be. In several government facilities, India manufactures DDT and other insecticides that can be purchased by people in African and other developing countries. India sprays DDT on interior walls of homes twice a year in malaria prone areas. This practice is a good first step in ending the malaria cycle and has greatly reduced the deaths from malaria in India. Africa could reduce theirs accordingly with DDT on interior walls as well as use of bed nets. Bed nets alone are not a good substitute for DDT spraying.

 

Figure 27: Global Malaria Deaths[1]

India is included in the South-East Asia group.

 

  1. Implement Hygiene Education Programs.
    • Focus on educating all people, especially rural poor, about microbes and hygiene.
    • Teach skills needed to provide clean water
      • How to filter and purify water
      • How to make soap and set up handwashing stations
      • How to dig wells and latrines
      • Safe use of composted wastes for fields
      • How to keep waste and other contaminants out of streams.
  2. Aggressively Treat All Worm Infestations. Alongside treating for worms it’s important to provide shoes for all children to prevent re-infestation.
  3. End Insistence on Subsistence Farming as a more sustainable method. Encourage modern agricultural methods and improved varieties that are better suited to their environment, with higher nutrition and higher yields. This also ends or reduces slash-and-burn deforestation.
  4. End the European Union Ban on Importing GMO Crops. This and other protectionist philosophies, stagnate development in European countries and cause African countries to reject improved crops.
    • Educate the people and the leaders of developing countries about modern agricultural methods and the benefits of GMO and other high yield varieties.
    • Educate European leaders and farmers about the potential market for their goods in developing countries. This can be accomplished through advertising campaigns to the general public, not just entrenched government leaders.
  5. End Insistence on Solar and Wind Power Only.
    • Encourage large and small electricity projects by all means possible, including fossil fuel, hydroelectric, geothermal, and nuclear.
    • Fund large and small hydroelectric and fossil fuel power plants and transmission lines into rural areas through loans.
    • Until larger projects and grid systems can be implemented, promote local mini and micro hydroelectric, geothermal and fossil fuel systems. These small systems can be incorporated into a wider grid when that becomes available.
  6. Provide Electricity and Clean Water Systems for All City Slums.
    • Improve housing, sanitation, and clean up standing water and wastes that breed insects and disease.
    • Spray insecticides regularly to reduce insects that carry diseases.
    • Cleaning up the slums can go a long way toward encouraging investments.
  7. Encourage Foreign and Domestic Investment.
    • It is important to encourage investment in all sectors including agricultural, natural resource extraction, manufacturing, service sector and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
    • It is time to re-examine the company town concept. Historically used for extraction industries in isolated areas, company towns can be useful for other businesses such as manufacturing, service and STEM in order to attract, train, and house employees and their families.
    • Encourage building of company towns with homes, hospitals, schools, and markets for employees in remote areas that provide electricity, clean water, latrines or sanitation systems. These company town projects should include progressively extending roads beyond the town over time to help others not directly employed by the companies, but that could market agricultural products to town inhabitants. Such road extensions over time can provide the basis of a larger transportation system that can encourage further foreign investment in newly opened business centers. Inhabitants of shanty towns (city slums) can be employed and live in new company towns near cities.
  8. End foreign aid without full accountability
    • Any foreign aid needs to be tied to full accountability and transparency by governments about how the money is used and its impact on the people.
    • Free ride foreign aid to governments must be ended to make leaders more accountable to the people, not just their foreign donors. This can lead to free and fair elections as well as economic development that builds the tax base.

Corruption is still an issue in many of the developing countries in Africa and elsewhere. Corruption, along with domestic unrest, are major barriers to attracting foreign investment. This corruption is encouraged, supported, and prolonged by foreign aid given to the governments, not directly to the people or to infrastructure contractors. Many government leaders have fat bank accounts by skimming most of the aid that is intended to help the poor and build infrastructure. Even when aid is given in the form of goods, not money, a similar picture emerges. The people may get very little of it as the goods filling warehouses are either sold on the black market to the highest bidder or are left to rot for political reasons.

The future of Africa looks bright and development is booming in the cities and in more developed agricultural areas. The average GDP growth rate for sub-Saharan African countries is 6.2 percent. Cote d’Ivoiri, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have GDP growth rates over 7 percent. This is great, but somewhat misleading since a percent of a smaller economy is a smaller amount of growth in real numbers. However, if these growth rates continue as they have been, it will result in real economic progress.

Although, historically, agriculture and extraction of natural resources have been the mainstays of African prosperity and development, half of all foreign investment in recent years has been outside natural resources. Of the countries that have this profile, a group of countries called the African Lions, which include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia, have led the way. Rwanda has had a growth rate of 9 percent since 2001 because of its favorable business creation policies.

  • In Rwanda child mortality has been reduced, nearly all children have access to education and 98 percent have access to healthcare.
  • Ethiopia has a growth rate of 10 percent but 20 percent of the population are still in extreme poverty with nutritional issues.
  • Botswana has become a leader in online banking due to its low corruption levels and secure business environment.

[1] WHO, 2016

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