Friends of the Earth’s vendetta against GMOs
Monday, August 16, 2010
The Nigerian-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has recently discovered a way to cure ‘Xanthomonas Wilt’, a disease that has rendered over half a billion dollars worth of damage to the agricultural industry in East and Central Africa. This development could help increase agricultural productivity in a region highly prone to food shortages.
However, betraying their fervent ideological commitment to the anti-GMO cause, Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FotEN) has recently denounced this development as an attempt by the biotech industry to colonise Uganda’s local food supply and negate their food sovereignty.
This is not the first time FotEN has resorted to emotive anti-colonialist rhetoric to add weight to their arguments. They previously denounced biotech tests on the Cassava shrub as “trading away our food future to modern colonialists that hide under the cover of agricultural biotechnology.” Such rhetoric is strategically employed to make FotEN out to be on the right side of the debate.
But this doesn’t change the fact that their prescriptions will almost certainly undermine progress in a continent that desperately needs it. That the EU gave FotE’s European subsidiary EUR 813,721 in 2009 should be a source of embarrassment for those looking to promote development practices that actually work.