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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 22:38:56

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 22:30:42

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

EdwiniasRevenge Wed 22-May-13 21:49:54

I would love to see evidence of plants (intended for any consumption) being injected with any chemicals.

Tbf if you take a scientific definition DNA is a the same way as water...oxygen....all highly hazardous...

nononsensemumof2 Wed 22-May-13 21:43:01

Organic is more harmful? You have got to be joking me.!
Oh yes of course, because plants injected with erroneous chemicals are bound to be more safe than Mother Natures own.!?

mrsminiverscharlady Wed 22-May-13 20:13:58

I would love to be able to buy glow in the dark mice in Sainsbury's <wistful>

EdwiniasRevenge Wed 22-May-13 19:57:25 brick wall.....ouch that hurt...

GrendelsMum Wed 22-May-13 19:39:39

There's a really interesting (and highly persuasive) argument than on a global scale, organic is more harmful to the environment than a more high-intensity model of farming, as more space is needed to produce the same crop, which means that more biodiverse land is ploughed up for farming. It's one of these arguments where most people's immediate reaction is against it (mine certainly was) but the speaker I've heard argue this is very thought-provoking and convincing. The interesting thing is that he himself is a conservation scientist.

caroldecker Wed 22-May-13 19:24:58

I am not an expert in this, but interested. I agree organic is probably less harmful to the environment than non-organic, but I think it cannot be more than a niche. My point was organic does not necessarily mean pesticide free and those who want GM labeling should also accept similar warnings on organic.
I personally ignore organic fruit and veg but buy organic meat for the animal welfare issue rather than any supposed health benefits.

nononsense we have yet to see any actual evidence of any disastrous GM effect - just comments that we are all doomed and will nobody think of the children.

nononsensemumof2 Wed 22-May-13 14:56:35

First let me say claig, I love you.
Second its rather irrelevant which disastrous GM effect is worse than the other, be it economic or health, the point surely is that either and both are not beneficial.!
Europe has resisted this onslaught, perhaps the only good thing to come out of it for Britain, ( but thats another issue,) yet we are now caving in, despite all the nonsense about referendums, etc.!
The world does not need this, it will not 'solve' world hunger, there are far better ways to address this question than allowing Mother Nature to be served up on a plate to these American Multi-Nationals, for their profit and our loss, not only of choice about what we eat but also the many risks to the health of future generations.

Takver Wed 22-May-13 11:18:59

OK, I found the Soil Association factsheet for growers on "Materials for pest and disease control in organic crops"

Basically all the 'permitted' options are biological controls (things like predatory mites, parasitic wasps, hoverfly pupae).

All the other options are then either 'with approval' ie, with approval given in advance by the certifying body (so they'd be looking for things like my land being low in copper, and therefore some use of copper sulphate being acceptable), or 'with permission' where this would be granted only in exceptional circumstances.

An example of that would be a one off use of ferrous sulphate slug pellets last season, when brassica transplants were literally being wiped out overnight by the slug pressure.

There aren't any systemic pesticides allowed - so no organophosphates, for example.

Takver Wed 22-May-13 09:21:50

caroldecker - I'm impressed you found the EU docs, though, finding stuff on their website is usually a nightmare. What's your background - I'm guessing you work in the trade?

I'm a seed grower, hence why I spend too much time dealing with this stuff. We're not registered organic because the benefits vs costs don't really stack up for us, and also I have an ingrained objection to people telling me what I can and can't do on my own land grin (And we have enough of it already with the seed regs without adding more!)

Takver Wed 22-May-13 08:06:09

I should note, use of copper sulphate is restricted by the Soil association, it is from that document linked allowable in small quantities in the minimum EU standards

Takver Wed 22-May-13 08:05:23

Caroldecker, using copper sulphate (ie bordeaux mixture) has long since been severely restricted, to the point of being pretty much unusable.

As I pointed out above, it is like antibiotics, use is allowed very occasionally in extremely restricted circumstances. As it happens, I would be happy to use copper sulphate on my crops as a very occasional thing, and (were I organic registered, which I'm not) could make a good case for so doing, BECAUSE my land is very low in copper, so vegetables grown there will be much lower in content of that mineral compared to those grown on a more typical soil.

Actually, the fact that I don't want to have to justify every single decision of that type to an inspector BEFORE taking action to get a derogation, and record it meticulously is one reason that I'm not organic registered.

From the link you quote, which by the way is a minimum standard for the whole of the EU, I would note:

"The use of pesticides, which may have detrimental effects on the environment or result in the presence of residues in agricultural products, should be significantly restricted. Preference should be given to the application of preventive measures in pest, disease and weed control. In addition, conditions for the use of certain plant protection products should be laid down."

It is also worth noting (won't copy here, because it is a huge list), that the allowed pesticides are noted in the document. They are things like soft soap, sulphur in minimal quantities - so yes, some chemicals that have been used since victorian times - but having taken out those which have been identified as harmful to human health.

There are also many, many techniques which would have astounded the victorians, I'm thinking of introducing predatory insects, just for example.

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