Last July, Common Dreams reported that the Gates Foundation awarded a $10 million grant to develop genetically modified (GM) crops for use in sub-Saharan Africa.
The grant is for the John Innes Centre, a research center involved in the biological and chemical sciences that receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
The John Innes Centre aims to engineer seeds for corn, wheat and rice that will obtain nitrogen from the air so the crops would not need fertilizers.
But GM Freeze, which campaigns against GM food, crops and patents, says that “nitrogen fixing wheat and other cereals have been promised by the GM industry for several decades” and that other, non-GM methods are the solution.
Pete Riley, campaign director for GM Freeze, adds that “GM is failing to deliver.”
As Common Dreams points out, this arrangement would be highly profitable for seed makers, forcing farmers to be reliant upon these companies to continue buying their seeds, because they would not be able to save the patented, modified seeds.
According to eco-activist Vandana Shiva, Bill Gates is wrong to assume genetically modified seeds produce more.
“In India, Monsanto came in with a claim of 1,500 kilograms of cotton per acre with their genetically engineered cotton. The average yields are 400 kilograms. Our studies show that. The government studies confirm this.”
Mariam Mayet of the African Centre for Biosafety in South Africa claims GM nitrogen fixing crops are not the answer to improving the fertility of Africa’s soils.
Mayet says African farmers are the last people to be asked about such projects. This often results in the wrong technologies being developed, which many farmers simply cannot afford.
“We need methods that we can control aimed at building up resilient soils that are both fertile and able to cope with extreme weather. We also want our knowledge and skills to be respected and not to have inappropriate solutions imposed on us by distant institutions, charitable bodies or governments.”
F. William Engdahl, author of “Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation,” has commented that when Bill Gates, the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto and Syngenta get together on a common project it’s worth digging a bit deeper.
Engdahl, who earned a degree in engineering and jurisprudence from Princeton University, and did graduate study in comparative economics at the University of Stockholm, claims the Rockefeller and Gates foundations have joined forces to promote genetically modified food (GMO) in Africa while simultaneously financing the Global Doomsday Seed Vault.
The biotech industry giants “are up to their ears” in the Svalbard project, says Engdahl, who also suggests Monsanto and the biotech industry are using The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to spread GMO seeds across Africa under the pretext of “bio-technology.”
Moreover, leaked WikiLeaks cables reveal that the U.S. has targeted African officials to accept and promote genetically modified crops in Africa.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other donors assist selected genebanks in developing countries as well as the international agricultural research centers in packaging and shipping seeds to the seed vault.
Besides the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations, other donors include GMO giants DuPont-Pioneer Hi-Bred, Syngenta of Basle Switzerland, CGIAR and the State Department’s energetically pro-GMO agency for development aid, USAID.