Feature Article of Saturday, 16 June 2012
Columnist: Kofi, Nana
Part 1 By Nana Kofi
Frequently we are asked by both the Black in the Diaspora and White people how, and why, in good conscience, Africans SOLD their Brothers, Sisters, Sons and Daughters to the white man; and continued to do so for TWO HUNDRED YEARS. We make up answers such as (a) they really did not know the cruelty awaiting their sold kinfolks on the other side of the Atlantic, (b) they were Uneducated, and therefore did not understand the transactions, (c) Our ancestors and Chiefs were not complicit in this trade. We try to whitewash with these flimsy excuses for our Chiefs’ and Elders’ involvement in an inhuman, sordid, exploitative and degrading phenomenon ever perpetuated on mankind. These horrible acts occurred over 600 years ago!! So we thought!!
Today, we know what the white man thinks of, and means for the Black man. We are “EDUCATED” with Masters’ and PhD’s from their own universities, and among their brightest students. But then we come home, hold their hands, lead them through the corridors of our institutions and power, and with wide grins, hand them on silver platters what their countries protect, develop and utilize for the advancement of their people. Unfortunately, just as our Chiefs and Elders of the 15th century traded their kinsfolk for beads and schnapps, so do our modern day governments (from the Presidents, his appointees, Ministers down to the Parliaments) trade away our wealth for pittance, usually with a little “something in their overseas bank account.
Ghana’s (generally Africa’s) food problem HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LOW YIELD, OR NON-NUTRITIOUS CROPS. Lack of road network, leading to inefficient, and sometimes non-distribution of our abundant harvest is the problem.
The world generally accepts that mankind started in Africa, and that the “Garden of Eden” was actually in Africa. This is because the foods that mankind needs to live abound in Africa; the seeds for these foods are naturally available, are self-perpetuating and in plenty.
SO WHY ARE WHITE CORPORATIONS SO BENT ON FORCING ON AFRICA THEIR GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD SEEDS? IS IT JUST FOR A WIDER MARKET, OR IS THERE A MORE SINISTER AGENDA? THE SAD PART IS THEY ARE USING OUR GHANAIAN GOVERNMENT, SPONSORED PhD’S, AND “TRUSTED” FRIEND, PRESIDENT OBAMA TO EXECUTE THIS AGENDA, JUST LIKE THEY USED NKRUMAH’S AMERICAN FRIEND TO OVERTHROW HIM, RESULTING IN THE COLAPSE OF THE AFRICAN /BLACK RENAISANCE.
This link describes President Obama’s efforts at supposedly addressing the hunger problem in Africa, by inviting Corporate heads, as well as leaders of Ghana, Tanzania, and Ethiopia to a Camp David G8 meeting. Even some of the participants are skeptical of the end results, as evidenced by their statements below.
“---But the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Rajiv Shah, acknowledged there will be fears of “a multinational takeover of African agriculture.”
“-- according to U.S. estimates only about 58 per cent of $22-billion in 2009 has been spent so far Moreover, some of the spending was on traditional food handouts, rather than the long-term projects that were promised.”
Mr. Obama’s emphasis on multinational corporations is the wrong focus, since most of Africa’s food is produced by small farmers, especially women, Mr. Fox noted.
“If you want to make progress where the needs are greatest, it’s not in industrial agriculture or high-tech solutions.”
Cargill and Monsanto, the largest genetically modified (GM) seed/food companies, were there. You can bet your last cedi/dollar that they were NOT at this meeting with pledges to expand /improve our road network, for efficient distribution of our abundant harvests. Rather, their motive will be to force on Africa, GM seed/food using Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia as guinea pigs, and with President Obama as a blind conspirator.
Recently, well-meaning FARMERS from East Africa and Scientists from Europe came to warn us ABOUT THE TRAPS AND DANGERS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GM) FOOD FROM THE US. .
DID OUR PRESIDENT, MINISTERS AND PARLIAMENTARIANS LISTEN TO THEM? A BIG NO!!.
IF OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ARE TO BUSY TO RESEARCH THE MERITS AND PITFALLS OF GM FOODS, WHY NOT EMPLOY SOME OF THE TEEMING UNEMPLOYED GRADUATES TO DO THAT?
This link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food#Method reveals these facts among others:
1. Destruction of Trial crops:
Within the UK and many other European countries many trial crops are frequently destroyed. The primary concern of the protestors is that contamination of existing crops could destroy existing markets. (organic produce) Scientists take many precautions to minimize the risks as much as possible and admit the risk of contamination is small. However, campaigners counter with examples of widespread contamination that has already occurred despite assurances and promises from scientists.
2. Crop yields (the much touted marketing gimmick of GM Companies) :
? A 1999 study by Charles Benbrook, Chief Scientist of the Organic Center, found that genetically engineered Roundup Ready soybeans did not increase yields.
? 2008 Soil Association report found that some scientific studies claimed that genetically modified varieties of plants do not produce higher than normal plants.
? In 2009 the Union of Concerned Scientists summarized numerous peer-reviewed studies on the yield contribution of genetic engineering in the United States. This report examined the two most widely grown engineered crops—soybeans and maize (corn), and concluded that yield did not increase at the national aggregate level. The study concluded that in the United States, other agricultural methods have made a much greater contribution to national crop yield increases in recent years than genetic engineering.
3. International Disputes and Bans
? In 2002, Zambia cut off the flow of Genetically Modified Food (mostly maize) from UN's World Food Programme. This left a famine-stricken population without food aid.
? In December 2005 Zambian changed its mind in the face of further famine and allowed in (Milled) GM maize. However, the Zambian Minister for Agriculture Mundia Sikatana has insisted that the ban on genetically modified maize remains, saying "We do not want GM (genetically modified) foods and our hope is that all of us can continue to produce non-GM foods."
? In April 2004 Hugo Chávez announced a total ban on genetically modified seeds in Venezuela.
? In January 2005, the Hungarian government announced a ban on importing and planting of genetic modified maize seeds, which was subsequently authorized by the EU.
? On August 18, 2006, American exports of rice to Europe were interrupted when much of the U.S. crop was confirmed to be contaminated with unapproved engineered genes, possibly caused by cross-pollination with conventional crops.
? On September 28, 2008, Ecuador prohibited genetically engineerd crops and seeds in its 2008 Constitution, approved by 64% of the population in a referendum (Article 15).
? On February 9, 2010, Indian Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, imposed a moratorium on the cultivation of GM foods.
? In recent years, France and several other European countries banned Monsanto's MON-810 corn and similar genetically modified food crops. In late 2007, the U.S. ambassador to France recommended "moving to retaliation" against France and the European Union in an attempt to fight the French ban and changes in European policy toward genetically modified crops, according to a U.S. government diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks. 
? California, the leader in GM food experimentation, is now voting to control and restrict GM foods.
See 1. http://organicconsumers.org/monsanto/index.cfm
4. Intellectual property
Traditionally, farmers in all nations saved their own seed from year to year. Allowing this practice to CONTINUE with genetically modified seed would result in seed developers losing the ability to profit from their breeding work. Therefore, genetically-modified seed is subject to licensing by their developers in contracts that are written to prevent farmers from following this practice.
5. What are some of the criticisms against GM foods?
Environmental activists, religious organizations, public interest groups, professional associations and other scientists and government officials have all raised concerns about GM foods, and criticized agribusiness for pursuing profit without concern for potential hazards, and the governments for failing to exercise adequate regulatory oversight. It seems that everyone has a strong opinion about GM foods. Even the Vatican19 and the Prince of Wales20 have expressed their opinions. Most concerns about GM foods fall into three categories: environmental hazards, human health risks, and economic concerns.
5a. Environmental hazards
Unintended harm to other organisms: Last year a laboratory study was published in Nature21 showing that pollen from B.t. corn caused high mortality rates in monarch butterfly caterpillars. Monarch caterpillars consume milkweed plants, not corn, but the fear is that if pollen from B.t. corn is blown by the wind onto milkweed plants in neighboring fields, the caterpillars could eat the pollen and perish. Although the Nature study was not conducted under natural field conditions, the results seemed to support this viewpoint. Unfortunately, B.t. toxins kill many species of insect larvae indiscriminately; it is not possible to design a B.t. toxin that would only kill crop-damaging pests and remain harmless to all other insects.
5b. Human health risks
Allergenicity: Many children in the US and Europe have developed life-threatening allergies to peanuts and other foods. There is a possibility that introducing a gene into a plant may create a new allergen or cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.
Unknown effects on human health: There is a growing concern that introducing foreign genes into food plants may have an unexpected and negative impact on human health.
5c. Economic concerns: EXAMPLE OF THE RECENT SUNFLOWER FIASCO
Agri-biotech companies wish to ensure a profitable return on their investment. Many new plant genetic engineering technologies and GM plants have been patented. Seeds for initial and subsequent plantings have to be purchased at GM companies’ prices, which can be so high that small farmers and third world countries will not be able to afford seeds for GM crops, thus widening the gap between the wealthy and the poor.
Recently a company came to Ghana to sell GM sunflower seeds with a promise to purchase the harvests. In the end the poor farmer could only sell his harvest to that same company at the company’s price. Worse of all, the farmer cold not replant the seeds from his crops, but had to GO BACK AND BUY NEW SEEDS FROM THE COMPANY.
6. Ghana is largest export market for US rice in West Africa, GM food crops on market – WikiLeaks
? Our Parliament HAS PASSED a GM food/Seed Bill, allowing GM food and Seeds into our Agricultural landscape. NOTE: THEY DID NOT PASS THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT BILL!!,
? President Mills, after hobnobbing with President Obama, Cargill and Monsanto CEO’s, is about to unleash 75 tons of GM seeds to equally gullible and unsuspecting Ghanaian farmers.
FOR THESE ABOVE CONCERNS, WE MUST DO THE FOLLOWING AS A MATTER OF URGENCY:
1. ALL our government officials, including the President, must read this article, follow the links, and understand the PRO’s and CON’s of GM foods in our agriculture.
2. Our government officials, including the President, must thoroughly examine the outside AND INSIDE of the US government’s offer as a possible Trojan horse.
3. The government should FUND INDEPENDENT STUDIES by at least 4 of our Universities, KNUST, LEGON, CAPEVARS, and ASHESI.
4. The District Assemblies and their subjects must be EDUCATED as to the implications of GM seeds.
5. The airwaves’ public for a must discuss this topic to sensitize our citizens.
6. THE 75 tons of GM seeds already in the country MUST BE DESTROYED (BURNED). WE DO NOT NEED GENETICALLY MODIFIED SEEDS FOR OUR FOOD SUPPLIES. WHAT WE NEED ARE (a) MORE AND BETTER ROADS FOR EFFICIENT DISTRIBUTION, AND (b) PROCESSING OF OUR EXISTING BUMPER HARVESTS FROM OUR NATURAL PLENTIFUL AND AMPLE ORGANIC SEEDS.