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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation are aggressively funding development of genetically modified bananas, aka GMO 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.
Other GMO strains are resistant to deadly fungal infection. The biotech industry says GMO bananas are needed to “save” the fruit from possible extinction.
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 GMO Bananas due to Safety Concerns
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 GMO banana and products made from it like banana flour are safe is key to overcoming barriers to the 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.
India Goes Bananas for GM Fruit
Genetic Modification Used to Fight Uganda’s Banana Blight
The Only Way to Save Your Beloved Bananas Might Be Genetic Engineering
Brings to mind the horrifically disastrous Green Revolution. Sad.
OMG!, i eat these weekly they are like chips fried in coconut oil, im still searching for organic ones and now this : (
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 ..
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!
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.
So here’s the real question:
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?!
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?