According to the Owen Paterson MP, opponents of a Genetically engineered strain of rice are “Wicked”! And Patterson is the UK Government minister for the Environment so if he says that the millions of folks around the world who oppose GM crops are wicked then it’s official – we’re wicked.
Actually I thought he used the word, “Evil” and the inventor of this particular Frankenstein food, Ingo Potrykus, a German plant Biotechnologist was interviewed on BBC Radio last night and he certainly used the “E word” because I heard him!
What are we to make of this high level outbreak of outlandish insults? Is it the last gasp of GM technology in Europe? I do hope so and keenly wait further insults.
After all being called “Evil” by an expert in Frankenstein Food technology is a badge of pride for many. It is not just Europeans who have been fighting and winning against Monsanto and other multi-national GM companies. The trial field or would be paddy, of the so called “Golden” or yellow Rice was ripped up by Philippine activists.
So people are finding their voice and their power too and taking action against the tactics of patenting and therefore legally taking ownership not just of GM crops but also of traditional crops, used by many mostly American Biotech industries.
If you look at the map the areas coloured red you can see the countries with severe and widespread vitamin A deficiency.
In some of these areas people depend on a small number of foods for their nutrition and the food in question here is rice.
Rice is a superfood which I eat often but I eat it as part of my diet and do not depend on it in any way. The nutrient we are focusing on here is the plant form of vitamin A, called Beta-Carotene and is present in most vegetables such as carrots, greens and tomatoes.
What does it mean when someone in in dire need of a particular nutrient? Well it means malnutrition and here in the West many of us are over-fed and under-nourished while in Africa and some parts of India and the Far East people are under-fed and under-nourished.
There is plenty of food in the world and if anyone is hungry or malnourished it is any issue of poverty and perhaps of poor farming techniques too.
Let me put this bluntly – a serious issue of poverty in some parts of the so called third world is not solved by Genetic Manipulation of ancient and valuable foods but is solved by taking political action to fix the poverty.
If I cannot afford food then I need money or food not multi billion dollar multinationals patenting and licensing freakish laboratory genetic mutants concocted from various species and even from various Kingdoms into a “Chimera”, truly a Frankenstein food.
We can take action to help these people to grow more and better foods and satisfy their own food needs and we can contact our Governments and make it clear that poverty is not fixed by shoveling millions in tax dollars to the shareholders in these Biotech companies but with an intelligent and local campaign of social support with some aid to kick start better farming and perhaps education. Heck even giving tablets of beta Carotene away in the local clinic would be a better and more cost effective way of dealing with this unacceptable situation of 21st Century malnutrition.