Give a person food and you feed them for a day, show them how to grow their own food and you feed them for life or so the adage goes in one form or another. But I would add 'force them to buy your food every year just to survive and you enslave them'.
One of the stories to come out of Wikileaks does not seem to have been given the exposure it deserves. This is that the former US Ambassador Craig Stapleton said in 2007 in response to the French ban on Monsanto's GM corn that "Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. …… In our view, Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the Commission … Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices".
I'm not sure that any retaliation plan was ever put in place or implemented, but that an ambassador felt themselves in a position to push retaliation as a trading strategy to support Monsanto's 'Mon810' is interesting. Sounds like a modern version of the Chinese opium wars to me. But the push was also not limited to France.
Mon810 corn (trade name 'Yieldgard')is a genetically modified (GM) maize grown to exude a toxin that kills some pests like the European Corn Borer.
But what really should concern people are the doubts over the safety of these types of crops and the effect they have had on farmers in such places as India.
As a hybrid, in order to grow the same crops every year the farmer has to buy a fresh lot of seeds from the supplier. And when you look at the costs of these seeds due to patents you see how easy this would be to exploit. Even Prince Charles expressed his doubt in the Mail over the issues raised in 2008. Control over a nation's food supply is a dream scenario for the unscrupulous, a real goose that lays golden eggs.
Health fears have also been raised, with tests conducted to show that it is the GM element of the crop that poses the danger, not the insecticide it naturally produces. Some tests have indicated that prolonged use causes sterility.
I consider myself to be a bit of a Luddite when it comes to food. All food should be as naturally produced as possible as far as I am concerned. All foods presented for sale to the public should be natural unless labelled otherwise. We seem to have fallen for a con that food should be labelled as organic to prove its origins, this is the reverse of what should, in my humble opinion, be the norm. Anything not naturally produced should be labelled as such.
After all, would it be acceptable to force pork into the food chain of people of certain religious persuasions because we think we know better? And if we did would that be considered a crime if we didn't tell them?
Farmers being persuaded away from traditional methods to new magic seeds, a promised huge crop, an ogre, a golden egg laying goose – just like Jack and the Beanstalk, but who's Jack?
Here are some more links and resources for you: