Green Parties Protest Force-Feeding Africa Genetically Altered Foods.
Tuesday, September 9, 2003
Greens from the U.S., Africa, and other nations and continents will meet during the WTO conference in Cancun to highlight harmful globalization policies.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders in the U.S. joined Green officials in Africa and other global Green parties in protest against the dumping of genetically modified food on African nations. Greens will speak out against this and other globalization policies at the Fifth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Cancun, Mexico, September 10-14, 2003.
"Corporate interests, having failed to convince other continents of the safety of genetically modified food, have set their sights on Africa," said Annie Goeke, co-chair of the International Committee and a delegate to the WTO. "They're using the antidemocratic WTO to override national protections and the will of the people in African countries."
Greens accused U.S.-based corporations and organizations such as the recently founded African Agricultural Technology Foundation, funded in part by USAID, Monsanto, and DuPont, of working in tandem with U.S. officials, including Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, a former Monsanto subsidiary board member, to promote distribution of modified organisms to Africa.
"Food shortages in Africa are the result of drought, poverty, lack of transport and storage, and political instability," said Diane White, Green candidate for City Treasurer of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and an activist in the Black Caucus of the Green Party of the United States. "GE [genetically engineered] seeds will create more problems for African farmers. GE seeds are expensive, require good growing conditions, often don't increase yields, are less effective on small labor-intensive farms, and reduce seed diversity. If a GE seed has been engineered to work with a particular herbicide or pesticide, use of a different one may destroy an entire crop, endangering a whole community."
Greens note that USAID has attempted to donate GE maize to African countries facing starvation as a strategy to introduce unwanted GE foods in Africa. Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have objected and Zambia has refused GE maize out of fear of health risks and agricultural contamination.
"World hunger is best addressed by food supply independence," said Michele Tingling-Clemmons, co-chair of the Black Caucus and a member of the D.C. Statehood Green Party. "We support self-determination for Africans to choose the future course of agriculture in the ways they know best to increase food production for their communities. Since GE foods have not been properly tested, allergic reactions will be an additional health issue for people with already low immune systems. Local farming techniques should be supported, not replaced."