American farmers are crying because the price of the genetically modified crops, which now account for most of the nation’s crops, has risen and keeps rising. Did we ever want them? Many have been warning about them and the unproven eefect they will have on the environment, but when it comes to the market then there are no arguments. Big business has the power to dictate and governments fall into kine. Often we discover that the politicians have brought into the shares anyway or may have been exposed to the influential lobbyists they employ.
Meanwhile back at the ranch DEFRA among others are pressing for the advancement of GM crops here. While there\s a moral argument, seems there’s a fairly big economic one to stop this crazy idea getting out of hand too. I received the following by e-mail.
DEFRA and HGCA work with corporates to further the acceptance of GM technology in England
At the moment the prime example of the political/corporate nexus comes in the drive to introduce the growing and importing of GM crops.
The importance of ‘Precision farming’ is now being stressed and this, we are told, requires the use of GM technology.
In October 2002, a group of European companies launched EPASPA (European Precision Agriculture Service Providers Association). …
The companies involved were not named, but they are said to include John Deere, tractor and mower manufacturers, agrochemical companies Monsanto and DowElanco, pharmaceutical/biotech companies like Rhone-Poulenc, Novartis and AstraZeneca, as well as information brokering/data management firms. http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=4208
Their message is being reinforced by the government linked Home Grown Cereals Authority [HGCA] http://www.hgca.com – whose board members are appointed by the UK Agriculture Ministers.
A research & development conference held by HGCA heard that farmers and consumers are being deprived of “the most precise from of plant-breeding technology – genetically modified crops” and are “in danger of falling behind”. http://www.farmersguardian.com/news/arable/arable-news/europe-‘must-switch-to-gm-for-precision’/28657.article
HGCA is to hold workshops in eight different venues in November and December to explore different aspects of precision farming at an advanced level.
Meanwhile DEFRA has set up a jointly funded research project with Syngenta the world’s largest agribusiness and second largest GM food company, which also specialises in pest control.
The revolving door took Andrew Bennett, a former senior civil servant to the position of director of Syngenta’s charitable arm. The foundation’s website says that it enables the adoption of effective inputs and practices.
The government has committed public money to a joint research project with pesticide manufacturers Syngenta. Though this has not been completed DEFRA has already announced that it sees no evidence that pesticide sprays are killing bees – unlike the authorities in France, Italy, Germany and Slovenia [see FSC 99].
Source: VIP bulletin which early in the new year is setting up a website called “Political Cleanup”.