A leading Ugandan economist is warning of heavy financial losses among banana farmers if they don’t soon adopt a genetically modified (GM) variety that can resist the devastating bacterial wilt disease. Farmers growing one hectare of GM bananas would likely earn an extra US$300 per year, while those who do not adopt the improved varieties […]
For the first time in a decade, investment expenditure rather than consumption accounts for more than half of GDP growth; report calls for urgent investment in education and infrastructure for good returns in long-term GDP; “Youth unemployment must be given top priority. With 12 million graduates entering the labor market each year and only 3 […]
Equatorial Guinea has kicked off a year-long investment campaign aimed at driving capital investment into the country’s bankable projects; Major U.S. firms have pledged to increase their investment in Equatorial Guinea in 2020, along with Nigerian banking and financial institutions; Notable investment-ready projects include the construction of two modular oil refineries, an ammonia plant, a […]
GMO: Hero or Villian?
Let me explain a few things about the GMO myth/ scam, since a few strong, emotional reactions against GMO crops were brought out by a previous post, Edible GMO cotton could supply protein to 600 million people daily — Genetic Literacy Project . The “NonGMO” food packaging label implies that GMO crops are somehow dangerous, but are they? Most of the fear is based on propaganda by anti-technology advocacy groups such as Green Peace and “Big Organic” organizations. Many companies that sell agricultural produce have been intimidated by these groups into adding the “NonGMO” label to their products for fear of bad publicity, protests and reduced sales. Even products such as salt and water sometimes bear the label, even though they could not possibly have used or contain any GMO crops. This intimidation strategy was adopted by activists when they failed to get the government to require “contains GMO” labels.
What is GMO and why are people afraid of it? Genetically Modified Organism, GMO, means that gene editing bio-technology has been used to insert or remove a specific gene in the DNA of an organism, (plant, animal or microbe) to enhance or add favorable characteristics, such as added vitamins or protein, insect and disease resistance, enhanced yield or drought resistance; or to remove genes for unfavorable traits such as bitterness or toxins. The previous post cited above is about removing a gene that produces a toxin in cotton seeds in order to make them available as a much needed high protein food source for man and animals alike.
For example, if a plant lacks a certain needed vitamin, a gene can be added so it produces the vitamin. None of the other characteristics of the plant are changed. Unlike conventional breeding, which crosses or irradiates entire genomes, sometimes with unexpected negative results, GMO only affects the specific trait needed. It’s the difference between a shotgun approach and a precision insertion.
Conventional breeding has been used for centuries to produce the food supply we have today. Cross breeding over generations changed corn from a plant with a few seeds to one yielding the robust ears we know today. Wheat, by similar method has increased yields, reduced time to harvest and improved disease resistance from the original tall, low yield, disease prone, area-and-season-specific original plant, so that multiple crops can be harvested each year in a variety or environments. Rice has been improved in similar ways. These improved high yield varieties (HYV) have saved millions of lives. Beginning in the 1950s this Green Revolution changed countries like India, Pakistan and Mexico from near-starvation, foreign aid crop importers into net exporters. None of the rights to these high yield varieties have been controlled or retained by “Big Ag” companies or nonprofit organizations.
So, why are GMO improved crops needed? Precision agriculture, (a better term than GMO), can go beyond conventional means to produce specific changes while leaving the other characteristics untouched. One special advantage of GMO is that genes from a different species can be inserted to add nutrients or other traits not present in the original varieties. Golden Rice is a good example of this. By inserting a gene for beta carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A, from corn or similar species, the much needed but absent Vitamin A can be produced in rice. This is very important because Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness and death in people who use rice as the staple foundation of their diets. An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A deficient children go blind each year, half of whom die.
Source: Black, Robert E, “Maternal and child undernutrition: global and regional exposures and health consequences,” Maternal and Child Undernutrition Study Group, Lancet, January 17, 2008
Why Do People Fear GMO? Unfortunately, anti-technology groups, led by Green Peace, have opposed these improvements that could save the lives of millions, against any logical reasoning. They claim that Big Ag companies, specifically targeting Monsanto and later Bayer, retain the patent rights to these crops as a way to control farmers. Stories of low yields, crop failures, suicides of farmers and law suits by corporations against farmers abound; as are tales of serious allergies, health effects and GMO pollen “infecting” other crops. When investigated, they are all found to be false, unproven and irreproducible anecdotes aside. GMO crops are the most thoroughly researched and certified as safe plants on the planet. Any that are found to cause even mild health reactions are quickly weeded out and rejected.
At present, there are over 40 companies and nonprofit organizations producing precision biotech enhanced plants around the world. Over 40 countries have approved genetically enhanced crops as safe, including the US Food and Drug Administration, FDA.
The rights to most these seeds are freely given away to impoverished peoples, without any strings attached. The seeds can be saved from year to year, so that even control through economic means is false. Only hybrids require purchasing new seed from the producer each year. Hybrids are crosses between dis-similar varieties that do not breed true in subsequent plantings. GMO crops are not hybrids, and neither are the Green Revolution high yield varieties, which were originally crosses of very similar varieties, that breed true in subsequent plantings.
Environmental groups such as Green Peace have adopted this anti-GMO rhetoric as a cause celebre to cripple modern agriculture, which they oppose on questionable environmental grounds. The European Union has also taken up the banner in order to block agricultural competition to their subsidized farmers by agricultural imports from other countries like the USA, as well as by poor South and Central American, Asian, and African countries that grow any GMO crops. The internet is awash with outrageous half-truths, outright lies, and conspiracy theories so that the average person doesn’t know what to believe. Most people will choose the cautious approach and avoid GMO products without really understanding why. Remember, it’s all about economics and ideology, not science or actual harm. Meanwhile, it serves to keep impoverished countries poor, thus furthering the overpopulation and genetic inferiority myths.
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” —Mark Twain
“… shake off all Prejudice, nor harbor any favorite opinions: for, if you do, it is not unlikely Fancy will betray you into Error, and make you think you see what you would wish to see. Remember, that Truth alone is the Matter you are in Search after; and if you have been mistaken, let no Vanity reduce you to persist in your Mistake.
From chapter XV of Henry Baker’s Of Microscopes and the Discoveries Made Thereby, 1785.
Saving Africa from Lies that Kill, Chapter 11, “The Green Revolution and Precision Agriculture …,” has more information that could not be included here for brevity.
Over 110 Nobel Laureates sent a letter to Green Peace re: their support of Precision Agriculture in general and particularly Golden Rice. See “Laureates Letter Supporting Precision Agriculture (GMOs)”
My new book, Saving Africa from Lies that Kill: How Myths about the Environment and Overpopulation are Destroying Third World Countries is now available at bookstores and online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, in print and eBook. If you like the book, please review it at any of the above online sites. Thank you.
Updated from original post Nov. 15, 2018
The Board of Directors of African Development Bank Group (https://www.AfDB.org) has approved an €8 million grant drawn from the European Union’s Africa Investment Platform (EU-AIP) to support the preparation of the Ruzizi IV Hydropower Project. The plant will be situated on the Ruzizi River between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and will supply […]
via African Development Bank approves €8 million technical assistance grant to support preparation of Ruzizi IV Hydro Power Project in the Great Lakes region — Database of Press Releases related to Africa – APO-Source
African Development Bank caves to UN and Environmentalist Pressure and abandons electrification goals.
See excerpts from this TownHall.com article below. Read the full article by clicking here.
Climate Alarmist Banks Go Carbon-colonialist
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Source: AP Photo/Stephen Wandera
Determined to transform the “dark continent,” the AfDB launched a $12-billion New Deal on Energy in 2017 and a Light Up and Power Africa initiative in July 2018. It frequently emphasized that access to sufficient supplies of reliable, affordable modern energy – including fossil fuels – is critical for the continent’s social and economic development. Without energy, it is impossible to create jobs, increase productivity, reduce inequality, improve people’s health and wellbeing, or end poverty.
The bank’s lofty goal for its energy New Deal is 100% access to electricity in urban areas, and 95% in rural areas, by 2025. In July 2017, Mr. Adesina told the African Union Summit he was excited that “Japan has answered our call” to “adopt a balanced energy mix” that includes “its ultra-super critical clean coal technologies” that remove sulfur, nitrogen oxides and particulates, while greatly reducing CO2 emissions.
But then Mr. Adesina and the AfDB caved in to carbon colonialist pressure. The bank now says almost nothing about coal or even natural gas. Its new themes include: responding to global concerns about climate change, gradually adopting a “low-carbon and sustainable growth path,” significantly reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and transitioning to “green growth” and “clean renewable energy,”
In September 2019, the bank announced that it planned to begin scrapping coal-fired power plants all across Africa, build “the largest solar zone” in the world, and pull funding for the Lamu power plant. “We’re getting out of coal,” Mr. Adesina said. “Coal is the past, and renewable energy is the future.”
So the AfDB has joined the World Bank, Goldman Sachs and other Multilateral anti-Development Banks in caring more about climate alarmism and avoiding criticism from the likes of Greta, the perpetually aggrieved and angry Grinch of Christmas 2019 – than they do about safeguarding the lives, livelihoods, health and living standards of hundreds of millions of electricity-deprived Africans.
This 180-degree flip-flop is delusional, dysfunctional and disingenuous. For many, it will be lethal.
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Finally, banishing fossil fuels (and nuclear), and focusing on pseudo-renewable energy will mean millions of children and parents will continue to suffer and die needlessly every year from diseases of poverty and energy deprivation. This eco-manslaughter at the hands of climate activists and banks must not continue.
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Read the full article here.