A major new report on the impending world food crisis was published today. While it is good to see the problems are being faced the author of the report, John Beddington, repeats the same old rhetoric that GM is the only way to solve the problem.
In an article in The Observer yesterday he is reported to have said that any objection to the use of GM is no longer valid on ethical and moral grounds. So, if we object the use of unproven and potentially dangerous products we are now unethical and immoral?
The argument is that by objecting to GM people will starve and the objectors will be responsible. Agrochemical companies, and their supporters, will use any way they can to further their cause and moral blackmail is their latest ploy.
The facts are clear; GM has never been used to ‘feed the world’ but is there to increase the profits of a very small number of multinational agrochemical companies. GM locks us into the unsustainable agrochemical industry which is part of the problem and not the solution. GM side effects are drastically played down and any opposition to the companies peddling GM products is ruthlessly eliminated.
Beddington was on UK TV today saying that we have to act now and cannot wait 20 years for a solution. On that we agree and, as I have said many times before, the answer is political. We have the means to grow huge amounts of food sustainably, now, but politicians refuse to act. We have the ability to make the UK far more self-sufficient in food but politicians choose to follow the free market model where countries grow what makes the best profit.
The same applies to the developing world. Does it make sense to import green beans from Africa rather than encourage countries to be self-sufficient? The argument is that with the money earned from exports they can buy food. How does that work when a lot of the growing is controlled by companies from the West?
The other major political step to take is to end financial speculation of food. Governments around the world cannot agree to curb banks excessive profits and bonusues so it is unlikely that they would even suggest ending profiteering from speculaion on food.
GM is not the answer and will only serve to prop up the strangle hold that the agrochemical companies have on the world food supply. Is it right that we should force a rotten system on developing countries under a smoke screen of ‘feeding the world’ when the main intent is further exploitation to make higher profits?