GM Bananas Currently Under Development

by Sarah ActivismComments: 26

On opposite ends of the world, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation are aggressively funding development of genetically modified bananas, aka GM bananas, to fight third world hunger and malnutrition.

In Australia, an iron and vitamin rich version of the humble fruit has already been created and plans are underway to share this technology with India.

GM Bananas for Anemia?

Professor James Dale of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) says iron deficiency anemia is a major cause of maternal death during childbirth in India.

“The reason that we’re targeting iron is that much of the Indian population has a high level of iron-deficiency anemia because many of them are vegetarians and it’s very difficult from a vegetarian diet to get enough iron.”

The four year agreement between QUT and India’s Department of Biotechnology is an extension of the Australian research backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This new strategy which uses genetic modification of staple crops like GM bananas to overcome micronutrient deficiency is in response to the failure of other approaches such as supplements and food fortification which local populations have typically resisted.

India is the largest producer of bananas in the world with basically all of them consumed on a local level.   Therefore, it seems probable that the cheap, targeted strategy of artificially creating an iron rich GM banana and then distributing these plants to poor and subsistence farmers will be effective.

GM Bananas Pushed in Uganda

The Australian team headed by Professor Dale is also developing an artificially nutrient dense GM banana high in beta carotene for Ugandan farmers.  Uganda grows 10 million tons of bananas each year, the largest in the world second only to India.

Bananas are everything in Uganda where they are consumed for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  There is even a local beer made from bananas.

In recent years, disease and blight have affected about 30% of Uganda’s annual banana harvest.  Scientists at the The National Banana Research Program, an arm of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, feel that genetic modification of bananas is the only way to solve the problem as traditional methods such as selective breeding and hybridization have apparently failed.

Professor Wilberforce Tushemereirwe at The National Banana Research Program says that the majority of Ugandans are skeptical of GM foods although 95% of Ugandan farmers are willing to grown them.

GM crops are currently illegal in Uganda but despite this, confined field trials of GM bananas are already underway due to the special license The National Banana Research Program has which permits them to grow genetically modified organisms for research purposes only.

Opposition to GM Bananas and other GM Crops Will Continue While Serious Health Questions Remain

Strong local opposition to GM foods threaten the outcome of the GM banana project says Professor Tushemereirwe.   He says that “voices against the scientific approach we are employing are threatening the opportunity”.

Proving that the GM banana is safe to consume is obviously the key to overcoming the barriers to its entry into the Ugandan marketplace.  This seems a difficult hurdle given the serious health implications of other GM crops.  One notable example is the worrisome problem of umbilical cord deformities in pregnant women consuming GM soy as warned by Ibu Robin Lim, 2011 CNN Hero of the Year.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Sources: India Goes Bananas for GM Fruit

Genetic Modification Used to Fight Uganda’s Banana Blight

Picture Credit

Comments (26)

  • Rachael

    Brings to mind the horrifically disastrous Green Revolution. Sad.

    September 30th, 2012 1:05 pm Reply
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  • Ivette

    OMG!, i eat these weekly they are like chips fried in coconut oil, im still searching for organic ones and now this : (

    April 11th, 2012 1:14 pm Reply
  • Bianca

    I would urge anyone concerned about the above to please, please contact Vermont politicians and urge them to stand firm in their quest.

    Share as much honest, real information you can… It’s vital ..

    April 11th, 2012 9:57 am Reply
  • chicknlil

    One of the problems is that bananas are all clones. You take a cutting from one tree to propagate another. That means that when one banana tree gets a disease, the others are also suseptable to it because they are genetically the same. They need to work on bringing biodiversity to the banana genome, not tinkering with the genes. More cultivars would mean an better chance of natural immunity. One of the reasons big ag wants in the thrid world is market share. As long as the communities save their own seeds, they’re not buying from big ag. Once you insert a gene in a seed, it is illegal to save those seeds to replant. Then they will be on a perpetual treadmill buying seeds from big ag. They will own the farmers/farms without having to buy the land. They can control the cost of seed and inputs and the farmers will have all of the weather, interest, and labor risks.

    Here is in the land of GMO’s (the midwest) most everybody grows GMO’s. However, I’ve noticed that corn is starting to pop up in the soybean fields after they’ve been sprayed with RoundUp. This means that the previous year’s crop was GM corn. It survives over winter and sprouts in the spring. This also means that farmers are not rotating between GM and hybrid crops. Lastly, it means that they are spraying Roundup on their fields each year. Roundup ties up certain nutients in the soil and lowers your yield. They are futher weakening the microbes that support the health of their soil. Poorer soil sends them back to town, to buy more chemicals to raise a crop (sounds like the same situration the 3rd world farmers are in).

    One thing we noticed immediately when GM became available, deer do not eat GM crops if they have a choice. Deer destroy many acres of crops every year and cost quite a bit of money. The deer stayed away from the GM crops and ate the hybrid crops. My neighbor, who’s organic, says he can’t plant corn. The deer eat exclusively from his fields (and nobody else’s) and ruin his crop. He now plants wheat and edible beans. I think the deer are telling us something. GM crops are a last resort to feed yourself. Hybrid is better, but organic is the best. It’s too bad that grain isn’t bought on it’s nutrient content (it’s bought on test weight, %moisture, and cleanliness). If it were, maybe more folks would have reason to change how they farm. For us who know better, we have to do better and support farms that allign with our values. We have to tell our friends and family and we have to demand fair labeling!

    April 11th, 2012 8:45 am Reply
  • June

    Pamela, here’s the real answer. Just say no!! Don’t buy GMO foods, or eat them, and try to dissuade others from buying them. If all the GMO products get left on the supermarket shelf because nobody buys them, they won’t be stocked. It’s not easy. You’ll have to do research (I’m sure you do but you’ll have to recommend to others that they do it) and totally refuse to buy or eat any of that crap. If the manufacturers can’t sell their product, they won’t order it from the farmers, and the farmers will end up not producing it.
    I never buy Canola Oil, soy anything, baked goods, general corn products, cotton clothing, and now I shall put bananas on my list. Anything I read about that is being genetically modified, I avoid it like the plague.
    The problem is getting everyone else to do the same – this is our job now!! Try to spread the word. Governments are either badly informed or in collusion with big business (what a surprise!) so we can’t rely on them any more.

    April 11th, 2012 5:52 am Reply
  • Pamela Duff

    So here’s the real question:

    April 10th, 2012 5:17 pm Reply
  • Dani

    This is off subject but check out this website article.
    In conclusion the researchers suggested that food composition (chocolate with saturated fats) may be an important factor in BMI and not just calories! I think that I will send them a link to this blog!!!

    April 10th, 2012 4:07 pm Reply
  • Sue T.

    Wow…really…here we go again! This is getting to be really ridiculous. GM Bananas…where will they stop? Kelli is right above where she stated that just add iron to the soil. If the soil is right the bananas will be nutritious. Has anyone considered the fact that Bill Gates attended the 2011 Bilderberg Meeting?

    April 10th, 2012 3:36 pm Reply
  • Linda

    They will also destroy the world. I don’t know where they think that will leave them.

    April 10th, 2012 12:32 pm Reply
  • Linda Rivera

    Highly dangerous GM foods are a curse on the world’s innocents. Along with vaccinations and flu shots filled with deadly poisons, pesticides, and highly poisonous fluoride added to our drinking/shower water, etc. it is clear that ruling elites are determined to destroy our health.

    April 10th, 2012 12:16 pm Reply
    • Kat

      Exactly, and they will always claim it’s for the betterment of Mankind, etc and pat themselves on the back while the people consuming these GM foods become more and more sick. And those of us who are able to see the truth and refuse to consume them are branded as uninformed fools. Oh really??

      April 10th, 2012 1:45 pm Reply
  • watchmom3

    It is sickening that the “elite” have no conscience about what they do to the poor in order to fund themselves. It is hard for me to understand this kind of “evil” done in the name of “good”… Ever seen “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”? In the end, the horrors of what one human does to another will touch everyone, even those who think themselves immune. Keep telling your friends and family how horrible GMO’s are and maybe there will not be enough “cover” to hide this atrocity. God made it perfect; man thinks he can improve on that?

    April 10th, 2012 11:06 am Reply
  • Persephone Raynes

    I’ve hit the point in my “real food” journey that my friends and colleagues think I’m a nut for ordering grass fed beef online and insist that the right nutrition is better than going to the pharmacy every day for pills so when I see articles like this it’s so frustrating.

    So much of the population, in the US and elsewhere will just willingly buy whatever the government sells them.

    I’m hoping that our voices continue to swell and be heard or I fear that the next generation will find it next to impossible to avoid GMO foods.

    April 10th, 2012 11:00 am Reply
  • Dawn Lane

    This, too, may be trying to fix one issue and open up a Pandora’s Box of other problems, like loss of biodiversity and health issues from other problems with the GMO plants. Marfa, they are already using GMO plants here in the US, which is why they are fighting so hard to keep from having to label them! Did you see where Monsanto now plans to sue the state of Vermont if they follow through on a bill to label any GMO’s? It really makes you wonder why they’re so afraid of us knowing. I can only assume because they know there are risks. And because knowledge is power, and they don’t want to give up one iota of power in controlling the world’s food supply.
    It is sneaky and underhanded to go after the 3rd world countries and the poor under the guise of helping them. If they’d put those billions of research dollars into direct aid, the problems would probably already be dealt with and over. If it had gone to educate the people, to help them improve their dietary diversity with healthy food, they wouldn’t need to have a crop that in the long run is bound to cost them far more than their economy can support. Look what Monsanto did to the rice farmers in India; they lost countless varieties of rice, and were supposed to continue purchasing their seed grain from Monsanto, and the chemicals it would then have to be treated with as well. At least for a while, I believe it was rice farmers in India who had the highest suicide rate in the world! They couldn’t afford to do it Monsanto’s way and were under contract so they couldn’t return to the old way (plus the soil was probably ruined by the chemicals).
    We need to continue to resist big ag’s push to indoctrinate the world with their “we know better than Mother Nature” attitude.

    April 10th, 2012 9:42 am Reply
    • D.

      Ya’ll are missing the big point of GMO’s. They weren’t designed to feed the world, as much as Bill Gates and Monsanto et al would like you to believe. GMO’s are a way of controlling the population because they will make people sick. Once people get sick, where do they usually go? To a doctor or a hospital. MORE profit to the wrong end of the spectrum because that entire medical industrial complex makes money. The doctor, the hospital workers, the phrma people who make countless pills for our ills, and eventually the undertaker who is also a part of the system, although not often mentioned. Toss in the insurance companies who make money every single month from premiums and pay out very little when someone dies, and you’ve just about finished the equation.

      In order to finish it, however, would take me several long sheets of paper, but you can do it in your head: Start with Bill Gates et al, (the investors) in Monsanto R&D; then take Monsanto buying (read: basically stealing) the land from Uganda for their projects, because you know they aren’t going to pay a fair market price; this benefits the oil companies and the communications companies (all those plane rides and phone calls to settle things) – – – and just keep putting together all the little pieces of the puzzle and it’s amazing to follow. It’s like watching dominoes fall because one small piece leads to another small piece. From the realtors to the supermarkets, every teeny little thing involves money. In the end, the only people who don’t benefit are the growers and the eaters.

      April 10th, 2012 10:13 am Reply
      • Tevah

        How do african doctors and african hospitals make more money when poor people show up ill with no insurance?

        February 4th, 2013 2:17 am Reply
  • elisssabeth

    This made me LOL…the majority of Ugandans are skeptical of GM foods although 95% of Ugandan farmers are willing to grow them.

    April 10th, 2012 9:20 am Reply
    • D.

      They Ugandan’s know that if they don’t grow them someone else will – for the $$$$. No one needs money more than the Ugandan population and the Indian population. They’d grow trees bearing prozac pills if they thought it would make them money. The trouble is, the Ugandan government is so corrupt that most of the money earned by these farmers ends up in the coffers of the already rich government. Ain’t that a kicker?

      April 10th, 2012 9:54 am Reply
  • elisssabeth

    This made me LOL…

    April 10th, 2012 9:19 am Reply
  • Marfa

    I don’t know why people seem to think they need to help the poor of other countries by introducing horrible things, supposedly to benefit them! God help those people. Do NOT eat the bananas!
    They can’t get support here in the US to use genetically modified plants, so they bribe the govt and USE the poor as an excuse…scary!!!

    April 10th, 2012 8:25 am Reply
  • Kelli

    Its very sneaky of Big Ag to carry out its research through exploitation of “third world” countries. The iron content of the bananas could probably be increased by adding iron to the soil, which is why their deficient to begin with.

    April 9th, 2012 6:37 pm Reply
  • D.

    Bill Gates, et al, seem intent on knocking off the majority of the population in one form or another (he’s a huge benefactor to the vaccine funding and the R&D ofother drugs which are being designed to control the population growth). When he’s not helping fund ways to knock us off, he’s intent on demoting those who are left to serfdom. WHY is the upper crust is so intent on doing this sort of thing? BigAG is intent on promoting GM foods as superior to what mother nature provides, and yet they want to keep their GMO foods unlabeled and secret? Why? If they’re so good for humanity why aren’t they labeling these foods in big, bright neon letters in the supermarkets? You know the answer and so do I. Hopefully, so do lots of other people.

    April 9th, 2012 3:32 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes and they can’t get the support in the Western world to do their research so they go to places like Uganda and India to get it done.

      April 9th, 2012 3:50 pm Reply
      • Stanley Fishman

        It is no secret how they get the support, as everything is for sale in those parts of the world, where bribing government officials is business as usual.

        There are all kinds of things they can put in the GMO foods. Somehow I do not think it is for the benefit of people. Natures foods are a million times better, and what we are meant to eat.

        April 9th, 2012 9:19 pm Reply

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