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(439 Posts)
nononsensemumof2 Sat 18-May-13 15:48:30

Morrisons, Siansburys, Co-Op and M&S have joined Tesco in allowing GMO fed chickens on their shelves.! This is the tip of the ice burg.!
There is an International protest against GMO on 25th May, I urge you all to organise to join in, if you value choice about what you eat, because if GMO is allowed into our food chain, we will have let the genie out of the bottle, forever.!
Cross contamination and patented law suits will be the order of the day, if we allow Monsanto to get a foot hold on our food supply.
Not only is this vile virus a health hazard to humans, but it is destroying our environment too, re bees, etc.
Plus it is attempting to own Mother Nature via its patented seeds, thereby selling us dangerous produce with a corporate stamp.!
We must all wake up to this onslaught against nature and our right to chose. Please get out in force and demand an end to this profit lead evil against nature now.

caroldecker Wed 22-May-13 22:09:59

Organic farming is fine for a world population of about 1 billion - so we'll just starve 80% of the world because you've read a pamphlet you don't understand

Uppatreecuppatea Wed 22-May-13 22:18:05

Montsano is evil. Watch the documentary: Food Inc. You'll get a lot of gen from that film.

GrendelsMum Wed 22-May-13 22:21:31

There are differences between a widely-used technology, such as genetic modification, and a company that uses that technology, such as Monsanto. Disapproving of the company doesn't mean that you need to disapprove of one of the technologies they use. Monsanto will also use a wide variety of traditional plant breeding technologies.

Takver Wed 22-May-13 22:22:18

Grendelsmum - if its a topic you're interested in, you might find some of Simon Fairlie's writing worth looking at, especially his article "Can Britain Feed Itself?" which I think is findable on the web.

Its a much more complex thing than 'organic takes more space', because in practice at the moment there are so many inefficiencies in conventional farming. In fact, small scale agriculture is typically much more productive in terms of physical output per hectare (rather than profit per hectare).

Just one good example is the separation of the dairy and beef industries - its possible to make more profit from just dairy, or just beef, but very inefficient in terms of land use.

It is true to say that probably the best theoretical way to produce the maximum amount of food from the available surface of the world is conventional farming producing only vegan food (no animals) and dependent on chemical inputs for fertility. However, even that doesn't allow for the cost in fossil fuels and long term effects on soils.

Takver Wed 22-May-13 22:24:09

Its also worth noting that there is currently no shortage of food on a world wide scale, even given the use of grain to feed animals. The problem lies in the distribution; malnutrition is a result of poverty, not an overall shortage of calories available.

GrendelsMum Wed 22-May-13 22:30:42

Takver - that's where I'm afraid I let down (what I found to be an excellent) argument by my lack of knowledge, as I knew I would when I raised it! The particular speaker I'm thinking of looks at agriculture and the environment on a world scale, and yes, does address long term effect on soils, etc. I think to some extent he's wanting to get people thinking about what they really value, and to what extent we want farmland for it's amenity value.

But yes, as I understand it, I agree with the issue that the problem is distribution of food and poverty leading to people being unable to afford food which is there. But what on earth do we do about poverty across the world? I was wondering about that as I mooched around the supermarket at lunch time today (as you do). How on earth do you enable people in rural India, for example, to buy food?

IneedAyoniNickname Wed 22-May-13 22:38:56

Have you looked at the Christian Aid IF.campaign? It's looking at world poverty. "if there is enough food in the world for everybody, why do 1 in 8 go to bed hungry?" I'll admit I don't know much about it, but it might he worth a google.

GrendelsMum Wed 22-May-13 22:54:38

thanks, Yoni Nickname! Yes, I have taken a look at it, and that's what's worrying me. I'm not seeing how their aims match up with what I'm hearing about food security across the world, and I'm concerned that their policies and work may simply be wasted.

IneedAyoniNickname Wed 22-May-13 22:59:58

Oh ok, I've not really looked into it tbh. People at my church are always talking about it,.but I've not done a lot of research myself.

GrendelsMum Wed 22-May-13 23:29:40

Well, I don't know. Because of my area of specialism I hear a lot from one point of view, and I can quite believe that these experts don't think about / know about other points of view and possibilities for action.
But if governments of developing countries have greater tax revenue , will it really result in their people earning high enough wages to afford food when shortages arise due to droughts, etc?

I guess the argument might be that with the tax revenue the governments can improve education, improve infrastructure, improve productivity, and hence raise people's incomes, but it seems a long way off.

caroldecker Thu 23-May-13 01:04:21

the real answer is not tax - but lack of tax. The eu charges high tariffs on imported agricultural goods here here and here
for example raw coffee beans have a low tariff but roasted beans have a high tax, therefore poor countries are not allowed to add value and earn money to keep European businesses subsidized by the higher price you pay in the shops.
Global free trade is the answer to getting the world's poor better and saving us money.

Takver Thu 23-May-13 07:46:25

Well, if I knew the answer to that I might not have given up economics for farming grin

I'm just about to read two books on pretty much this topic which come very well recommended: Bad Samaritans by Ha Joon Chang (you might not like him, Carol, as he's definitely a Cambridge lefty economist type!), and Stiglitz's book on globalization which I can't recall the name of right now. But whether they have any suggested answers, I don't know.

claig Thu 23-May-13 08:19:02

'Global free trade is the answer to getting the world's poor better and saving us money.'

caroldecker is right. Free trade without trade barriers will help poor countries to export their produce to us. We often have trade barriers against some poor countries and use aid to try to help them, and this does not lift them out of poverty, but instead keeps them in a state of dependency.

claig Thu 23-May-13 08:32:30

And if you really care about the poor farmers in other other countries, then read the article that I posted way up above.

You will hear things like they want to "save the planet" for you and they want to "feed the world" with GM crops.

"(A Monsanto spokesman later insisted their seed is 'only double' the price of 'official' non-GM seed - but admitted that the difference can be vast if cheaper traditional seeds are sold by 'unscrupulous' merchants, who often also sell 'fake' GM seeds which are prone to disease.)

With rumours of imminent government compensation to stem the wave of deaths, many farmers said they were desperate for any form of assistance. 'We just want to escape from our problems,' one said. 'We just want help to stop any more of us dying.'

Prince Charles is so distressed by the plight of the suicide farmers that he is setting up a charity, the Bhumi Vardaan Foundation, to help those affected and promote organic Indian crops instead of GM.

India's farmers are also starting to fight back. As well as taking GM seed distributors hostage and staging mass protests, one state government is taking legal action against Monsanto for the exorbitant costs of GM seeds.

This came too late for Shankara Mandauker, who was 80,000 rupees (about £1,000) in debt when he took his own life. 'I told him that we can survive,' his widow said, her children still by her side as darkness fell. 'I told him we could find a way out. He just said it was better to die.'

But the debt does not die with her husband: unless she can find a way of paying it off, she will not be able to afford the children's schooling. They will lose their land, joining the hordes seen begging in their thousands by the roadside throughout this vast, chaotic country.

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