Obama opens door to Africa for Monsanto

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 by: John McKiernan
Tags: Obama, Monsanto, Africa

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(NaturalNews)Last week President Barack Obama announced a plan that puts Monsanto, as well as other large argi-businesses, in charge of increasing food supplies to malnourished regions in Africa. The Grow Africa Partnership is a part of the Obama administration's plan to end hunger in Africa.

While $3 billion dollars in commitments have already been secured by Monsanto and its peers, the local organic farmers in Africa have largely been left out of the program.

"I'm delighted to be here taking part in this conversation as I believe public and private sector commitment is necessary and able to support a transformation in African agriculture," said Monsanto Chairman, President and CEO Hugh Grant.

Letting a company like Monsanto expand their reach globally is not only irresponsible, but it sets a dangerous precedent. The problem with letting any private company fund and develop agriculture is that their primary concern will be with their own bottom line, rather than food security. Simply put, their objective is not the fight against hunger, it's to make money.

Rajiv Shah, administrator of the US Agency for International Development, made a shocking statement: "We are never going to end hunger in Africa without private investment. There are things that only companies can do, like building silos for storage and developing seeds and fertilizers."

Africa doesn't need chemical fertilizers, genetically modified crops and large monoculture plantations. Instead it needs more resources for the farmers that sustain the local economies.

Ronnie Cummins, director of the organic consumers association, calls Obama's plan "misguided" and said "To help the world's two billion small farmers and rural villagers survive and prosper we need to help them gain access, not to genetically engineered seeds and expensive chemical inputs; but rather access to land, water, and the tools and techniques of traditional, sustainable farming: non-patented open-pollinated seeds, crop rotation, natural compost production, beneficial insects, and access to local markets."

The declared goal of Obama's food program is to advance sustainable agriculture and reduce the number of people worldwide living in poverty by 50 million over the next decade. While the goal is admirable, the methods the being employed, that involve big business, may end up doing more harm than good.

Grant also stated "There is no single group or simple solution that can solve the food issues facing a growing population." In fact, the solution is very simple, it just takes time. It has been proven that medium sized organic is the most sustainable type of agriculture. Rather than doing things the right way, the Obama administration has decided to take a short cut in ending world hunger by calling in big business. The problem with shortcuts is that they always come up short.

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