Business News of 2014-06-12

African countries urged to resist GM foods

An agro-ecologist, Dr Vandana Shiva, has urged Africans to resist any attempt to entice them to accept Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).

Addressing a cross-section of activists against GMOs in Accra, Dr Shiva, who is the Founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, also called for a global movement that would focus on seed legislation to prevent the introduction of genetically engineered seeds.

The Indian agro-ecologist has since completed a two-day working visit to Ghana. The visit formed part of a three-African nation tour, under the auspices of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa. The other countries she would visit are Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

Dr Shiva, a known activist against GMOs, called on African countries to unite in solidarity, “with the kind of solidarity with which our countries fought for freedom and independence, we will win. We have to become one again, not just countrywide, but the world over”.

Seed slavery

Dr Shiva said accepting GM foods would amount to, “seed colonisation and seed slavery,” adding that legitimising seed legislation, would mean indigenous seed extinction. “We don’t need to be fooled to be colonised again. With our indigenous seeds, indigenous knowledge, agri-ecology and with solidarity, we shall win,” she declared.

Dr Shiva accused some developed countries and seed giants of creating the erroneous impression that indigenous seeds were not nutritious. “Our crops have more nutrition. Those GMO crops are nutrition deficit,” she said.

Indian experience

Sharing her country’s experience, she said most Indian farmers had been in debt since 1995 after adopting GM crops, adding that some had resorted to committing suicide.

Health implications

Touching on health, Dr Shiva linked the upsurge in certain diseases in recent times such as cancer, obesity and autism to the effect of GMOs.

She advised Africans to stick to their rich indigenous knowledge and any other things that had been labelled as “primitive”, noting , “Anytime we are told by the Western world that something is primitive, we should hold on to it because that is a way of destroying whatever that we have.”

The Coordinator of AFSA, Dr Million Belay, who accompanied Dr Shiva, said Africans had the power to either reject GMOs and be saved or accept GMOs to their peril.

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