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Wednesday, April 30

we knew this all along, right?

Hmmm. It's hard to ignore a headline like this:

‘Neglect of Farming Led to Rice Crisis’
BANGKOK - The headlines screaming about a global food shortage have not aroused surprise in a leading non-governmental organisation (NGO) working with farming communities across Asia. To its members, warnings of hunger on a biblical scale are hardly news.

After all, the Asia-Pacific arm of the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), a global environmental lobby, has been raising the alarm about an impending rice shortage for years. Among its more recent campaigns was one launched to coincide with ‘’The International Year of Rice,” which was marked globally in 2004...

...PAN’s primary concern was the push towards rice cultivation on an industrial scale that promoted monoculture, where a few high-yield rice varieties that needed large doses of chemicals were held up as the answer to growing demand. Marginalised, consequently, were the small farmers, who came from rural communities that had used local knowledge over centuries to generate new varieties of paddy seeds that blended with the local environment.

‘’The high-yielding seeds prompted in the monoculture style of farming are not as hardy as local varieties produced through the ecological style of farming,” adds Westwood. ‘’This hybrid rice can only perform well under certain circumstances and they need a lot of fertiliser and pesticides and they are water intensive. These are their inherent weaknesses.”

A recent report by a regional U.N. body lends weight to PAN’s view about the high cost Asian governments are currently paying for neglecting the agricultural sector, where a bulk of the poor in Asia and the Pacific — some 641 million people — live.

‘’The rural poor account for 70 percent of the poor in the Asia-Pacific region, and agriculture is their main livelihood,” states a survey published by the Bangkok-based Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)...

And then it's hard to ignore the folks at CBS towing the party line on Monsanto's GMO work in their intro to an article on Monsanto stomping the snot out of small farmers who are unfortunate enough to have Monsanto's poison pollen get blown into their fields by the wind. I bolded some text in the following for emphasis.
American farmers have been growing genetically modified crops for years, from seeds engineered to resist pests and chemicals. These patented seeds produced bigger crops and profits for farmers who bought them from companies like DuPont and Monsanto, but for other farmers the seeds have created a host of problems.
Anyone else remember reading the revelation last week that Monsanto's GMO soy underperforms compared to conventional or organic?

I continue to wonder how journalists can live with themselves. "Hey, Monsanto's under fire for pushing shit underperforming product on vulnerable farmers. Let's trot out some old hat about how some farmers have problems with Monsanto suing them when the pollen blows into their fields. And for God's sake, don't investigate the monoculture problem and how Monsanto is in effect lessening the food supply, and how this has been predicted for years..."

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