Africa is expected to be the next target of GM food companies, as European scientists and policymakers travel to Ethiopia to boost the prospect of growing more of the controversial crops on the continent.
Anne Glover, the chief scientific adviser to the European commission, and other prominent pro-GM researchers and policymakers from European countries including Germany, Hungary, Italy and Sweden will this week meet Ethiopian, Kenyan, Ghanaian and Nigerian farm ministers as well as officials from the African Union.
The British environment secretary, Owen Paterson, who said last year that the UK would be acting immorally if it did not make GM crop technologies available to poor countries, pulled out of the conference in Addis Ababa, organised by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (Easac).
According to an Easac spokeswoman, the meeting is intended to help EU and African scientists collaborate to allow the crops to be grown more easily on the continent. “EU policy on GM crops is massively important for Africa,” she said. “A lot of countries are scared to do any research. They fear they will be punished by EU restrictions. They depend on the EU for their exports.”
Critics, however, said the meeting was a thinly disguised attempt to promote GM farming at a governmental level, whether or not it was good for local farmers.
“The meeting has the appearance of giving the European stamp of approval on GM crops, even though the majority of EU citizens oppose GM in food,” said a spokeswoman for GM Watch, a UK-based NGO.
The talks take place as industry data shows the increade in the planting of GM crops has practically halted in the US and as G8 countries, led by the US and Britain, press African states to liberalise their farming as part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition initiative.
The New Alliance is intended to accelerate African agricultural production, but farmers have widely criticised it as a new form of colonialism.
Olivier de Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, has described Africa as the last frontier for large-scale commercial farming. “There’s a struggle for land, for investment, for seed systems, and, first and foremost, there’s a struggle for political influence,” he said.
According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (Isaaa), South Africa grows GM food crops, and Burkina Faso and Sudan cotton. Seven other African countries – Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda – have conducted GM field trials. The first drought-tolerant genetically modified maize is expected to be grown on the continent in 2017, it says.
Annual figures from Isaaa show that US farmers planted 70.1m hectares (173m acres) of GM crops in 2013, less than 1% more than in 2011 and 2012. Latin American and Asian farmers grow more than half of the world’s GM crops, mostly for animal feed or cotton production.
The latest figures show that 77% of the world’s GM crops are grown in three countries – 40% in the US, 23% in Brazil and 14% in Argentina – with plantings in Europe and Africa negligible, and concern growing worldwide about the emergence of herbicide-resistant “superweeds”.
Things are so bad for Republicans the GOP had to send money to Texas
In 2016, then-anti-Trump Republican Sen. Linsey Graham proclaimed, "If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it." It seems his prediction is coming closer to fruition.
Financial reporting reveals that the Republican Party was forced to send $1.3 million to ruby-red Texas as the election nears.
It was something spotted by ProPublica developer and ex-reporter Derek Willis Sunday.
"That's never happened before," he tweeted.
He noted that the Texas GOP raised $3.3 million in August, but nearly half of that came from their national parents.
What the London ‘Blitz’ reveals about how much pain and tragedy people can handle in 2020
It's hard to imagine how 2020 could possibly get worse. "If we lose Betty White," a friend said on a drive to the Supreme Court to lay flowers.
So many Americans have lost friends or family members to COVID-19. Thousands of Americans survived the virus only to desperately needed organ transplants and forever will struggle to breathe the way they once did. Others are still suffering without smell or taste even three months after having the virus. Millions of Americans are out of work. Debt is stacking up for those trying to survive in the COVID economy. A lack of health insurance can mean hospitalizations from the virus are putting people into bankruptcy.
Stop trying to convince people you’re right — it will never persuade anyone: expert
MSNBC host Joshua Johnson noted that this year has been full of strife, with Americans having a lot to stand up about. Whether the slaying of unarmed Black men and police brutality, or healthcare, and the coronavirus, Americans are lining up to protest.
Johnson asked if people try to start tough conversations, how do they keep it productive, and when it's time to give up. In her book, We Need to Talk, Celest Headlee explains tools that people can use to have productive conversations about tough issues that help move the needle.
"Keep in mind that a protest isn't a conversation, right?" she first began. "That's a different kind of communication. The first thing is that our goal in conversations is not always a productive one. In other words, oftentimes, we go into these conversations hoping to change somebody's mind or convince them that they are wrong. You're just never going to accomplish that. There's no evidence. We haven't been able to -- through years and years of research we haven't been able to find evidence that over a conversation somebody said, 'You're right, I was completely wrong.' You've convinced me. So, we have to stop trying to do that. We have to find a new purpose for those conversations."