Sunday, August 29, 2010
Etats-Unis : Les "super mauvaises herbes" menacent la patrie de Monsanto
Aux Etats-Unis, les faucheurs partent à la rescousse des champs de cultures transgéniques assaillis par des mauvaises herbes d’une nouvelle génération. Des amarantes surpuissantes sèment la pagaille sur des kilomètres de champs de coton et de soja OGM. Universitaires et agriculteurs tirent la sonnette d’alarme.
En automne 2004, un agriculteur de Macon, dans l’État de Géorgie, remarque que sa dernière application de l’herbicide Roundup - produit par la firme Monsanto - ne tue pas certaines pousses d’amarantes. L’ingrédient actif de ce puissant herbicide est pourtant le glyphosate, l’herbicide le plus utilisé aux Etats-Unis.
Aujourd’hui, ce sont plus de cinq Etats du sud des Etats-Unis, la Géorgie, la Caroline du Sud, la Caroline du Nord, l’Arkansas, le Tennessee et le Missouri, qui subissent la fronde des "super mauvaises herbes", ou "superweeds", affirment les médias locaux.
Comment cela a-t-il pu se produire ? Selon les universitaires, les agriculteurs d’outre-Atlantique ont abusé de la formule magique Roundup Ready, une combinaison aussi révolutionnaire que controversée qui lie l’herbicide Roundup et des semences. Semences dans lesquelles on a introduit un gène qui leur permettent de résister à cet herbicide.
Monsanto, la multinationale de biotechnologie, est le producteur de Roundup et de graines OGM. Rien qu’aux Etats-Unis, 9 cultivateurs de soja sur 10 utilisent des semences Roundup, selon les chiffres de l’entreprise.
Dans l’Etat de Géorgie, 50 000 hectares gravement infestés d’amarantes
Spécialiste des mauvaises herbes à l’université de Géorgie, Stanley Culpepper assure dans un entretien avec FRANCE 24 que 50 000 hectares en Géorgie sont gravement infestés d’amarantes et 29 comtés de Géorgie sont aussi contaminés. "Les agriculteurs réalisent que la menace est très sérieuse. Pendant deux ans, on a cherché en vain à le leur faire comprendre. Mais une fois qu’ils ont pris conscience de la gravité de la situation, ils ont adopté une approche très agressive vis-à-vis de la plante", a confirmé Stanley Culpepper.
"L’année dernière, nous avons dû désherber à la main la moitié de nos champs sévèrement infestés", dit Stanley Culpepper, ajoutant que la lutte contre les amarantes "coûte très cher".
En 2007, 5 000 hectares de champs ravagés par les amarantes ont même été abandonnés par leurs propriétaires près de l’épicentre du phénomène des "superweeds" dans le comté de Macon, affirme le spécialiste agricole Alan York. Parmi les "superweeds" américaines, il est difficile d’imaginer une mauvaise herbe plus incontrôlable que l’amarante. "C’est bien la mauvaise herbe qu’on ne veut pas voir dans son champs, elle domine tout", explique Stanley Culpepperr. L’amarante peut produire 10 000 graines en une fois, résiste à la sécheresse et peut attendre trois mètres de haut. C’est une mauvaise herbe qui étouffe très facilement les arbustes de coton.
Aujourd’hui, les agriculteurs américains peinent à trouver un herbicide qu’ils puissent épandre sur les amarantes dans les plantations de coton.
Des solutions qui suscitent la polémique
Dans une interview accordée à FRANCE24, le responsable du développement technique de Monsanto, Rick Cole, estime que les "superweeds" peuvent être maîtrisées. "Le problème des mauvaises herbes qui résistent au Roundup est une réalité que Monsanto ne nie pas. Mais le phénomène peut être maîtrisé", affirme-t-il. Rick Cole encourage les agriculteurs à utiliser différents herbicides, même ceux de concurrents, et d’alterner les cultures Roundup.
Selon un communiqué de presse de Monsanto, leurs vendeurs incitent les agriculteurs à mélanger le Roundup avec d’autres herbicides, comme le 2,4-D, un herbicide interdit au Danemark, en Norvège et en Suède pour protéger la population de risques de cancer, de troubles du système reproductif et d’affaiblissement mental. Le 2,4-D est aussi connu pour être un ingrédient de l’Agent orange, un herbicide utilisé par l’armée américaine pendant la guerre au Vietnam dans les années 1960.
Interrogé à propos de la toxicité et de l’impact environnemental de tels mélanges, Janice Person, directrice de communication chez Monsanto, répond que la multinationale "ne recommande pas de mélanges qui n’ont pas l’aval de l’Agence de la protection de l’environnement".
Selon la Soil Association, une association anti-OGM basée au Royaume-Uni, Monsanto était conscient de la menace des "superweeds" dès 2001 et avait fait breveter la pratique de mélanger de l’herbicide Roundup et d’autres herbicides qui ciblent des plantes résistantes au Roundup.
"Ce brevet va permettre à l’entreprise de profiter d’un problème que ses produits ont créé à l’origine," affirme un rapport de la Soil Association publié en 2002. Les OGM lâchés par les agriculteurs
Dans un élan qui ferait plaisir aux militants anti-OGM en Europe, certains agriculteurs envisagent de renoncer aux OGM et de revenir aux semences dites conventionnelles. "C’est bien de revenir aux graines traditionnelles, les gens ont abusé des graines Roundup", affirme Alan Rowland, cultivateur de graines de soja à Dudley, dans l’Etat du Missouri. Auparavant, 80 % de ses ventes provenaient de plants Monsanto de marque Roundup Ready. Aujourd’hui, la demande de graines conventionnelles est très forte, et Alan Rowland ne vend plus que des graines non-OGM.
Selon Stanley Culpepper, les agriculteurs américains sont nombreux à envisager de renoncer aux OGM et de revenir à une agriculture plus conventionnelle. Mais pour les agriculteurs, tout se résume à une question de coûts de production. Le système OGM devient de plus en plus cher, affirme Alan Rowland.
Si les universitaires et les agriculteurs n’osent pas faire des reproches à la multinationale, Alan Rowland affirme que "certains ont commencé à se rebeller contre les coûts élevés."
Source : France 24, le 19 avril 2009, un article de Cléa Caulcutt
" CONTROL OIL AND YOU CONTROL NATIONS. CONTROL FOOD AND YOU CONTROL PEOPLE." Henry Kissinger - US Secretary of State under Nixon ( Nobel Peace Laureate!)
Read & research Henry Kissinger's NSSM 200 - The official US government's bleuprint for the mass genocide of the human population through starvation and famine...
Kissinger MUST be tried and convicted for Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide.
Starvation is used as a political weapon
By David Rothscum
The UN's Jacques Diouf ( who is far from starving...) recently warned that this year an additional 104 million people are likely to go hungry, while the number of people considered hungry in 2007 increased by some 75 million and further 40 million joined the ranks in 2008. An estimated 13 million people die every year from starvation, and those who survive growing up without enough food often suffer from brain damage and a low IQ for the rest of their lives.
The reason isn't our inability to stop this, or overpopulation in the 3rd world.
This worsening global famine that kills 13 million people every year could be completely eliminated, and all it would take would be a yearly investment of 30 billion dollar to double the global food production. This is less than the money the US spends on the war in Iraq every three months.
Starvation is an ancient weapon, and it was heavily used by the British Empire to control it's colonies. George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian:
In his book Late Victorian Holocausts, published in 2001, Mike Davis tells the story of famines that killed between 12 and 29 million Indians. These people were, he demonstrates, murdered by British state policy. When an El Niño drought destituted the farmers of the Deccan plateau in 1876 there was a net surplus of rice and wheat in India. But the viceroy, Lord Lytton, insisted that nothing should prevent its export to England. In 1877 and 1878, at the height of the famine, grain merchants exported a record 6.4m hundredweight of wheat. As the peasants began to starve, officials were ordered "to discourage relief works in every possible way". The Anti-Charitable Contributions Act of 1877 prohibited "at the pain of imprisonment private relief donations that potentially interfered with the market fixing of grain prices". The only relief permitted in most districts was hard labour, from which anyone in an advanced state of starvation was turned away. In the labour camps, the workers were given less food than inmates of Buchenwald. In 1877, monthly mortality in the camps equated to an annual death rate of 94%.
British elites recommended in books that food be used as a weapon to reduce the world's population. Bertrand Russel for example wrote:
“To deal with this problem [increasing population and decreasing food supplies] it will be necessary to find ways of preventing an increase in world population. If this is to be done otherwise than by wars, pestilence, and famines, it will demand a powerful international authority. This authority should deal out the world’s food to the various nations in proportion to their population at the time of the establishment of the authority. If any nation subsequently increased its population it should not on that account receive any more food. The motive for not increasing population would therefore be very compelling. What method of preventing an increase might be preferred should be left to each state to decide.” - 124
Currently a powerful international authority exists that deals out food to various nations. It's called the World Food Programme, the food aid branch of the United Nations.
On January 28 this year, The Times reported that President Obama wants a fresh approach to toppling Robert Mugabe and is discussing with aides an unprecedented, US-led diplomatic push to get tough new UN sanctions imposed against the Zimbabwe regime.
The Times went on to say that a key figure in any new approach will be Susan Rice, Obama's ambassador to the United Nations.
Just one day later, another British paper, the Guardian reported that the United Nations World Food Program would halve the food rations for Zimbabwe.
The World Food Programme is to cut the core maize ration in February from 10kg to 5kg a month – or just 600 calories a day – for 7 million Zimbabweans, about 70% of the people left in the country. The recommended ration is 12kg a month.
As a Rhodes Scholar, and more importantly, a member of the Executive commitee of the Trilateral commision, Susan Rice is a top globalist.
The United States officially recognizes food as a political weapon so this move should come as no surprise. In 1976 a follow up report to Henry Kissinger's NSSM 200 was published by his successor as national security advisor. It raised the following questions along with recommended answers to these issues:
Would food be considered an instrument of national power? (Yes.)
On what basis should such food resources then be provided? (To countries with Population Control Programs in place.)
In Afghanistan it appears that top US military personnel wanted to use food as a weapon as well.
According to Bob Woodward, an unnamed two-star general was going to give Bush a presentation, with one slide labeled, “Thinking Outside the Box—Poisoning Food Supply.” National Security Council staffer Franklin Miller showed this to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and pointed out that the US is legally prohibited from committing chemical or biological attacks. Rice talked to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and the two of them agreed to take the slide out of the presentation before Bush would see it.
Afghanistan now has about 8.5 million inhabitants on the brink of starvation.
Other organisations are implicated in the global famines we see as well, including the IMF and the World Bank. On 4 july 2002, in the British Parliament, IMF Managing Director, Horst Koehler, blamed the World Bank and the EU for urging Malawi to sell 28,000 tons of maize to repay debts. The nation ended up in the biggest famine in it's history.
A second famine occured in 2005 caused by the World Bank and donor nations that encouraged Malawi to sell it's food reserves and dismantle the state-run agricultural system.
In 2007 Malawi's new president decided to subsidise fertilizer, something the World Bank and other organisations urged against. By ignoring the "advice" of these organisations, the country could finally succesfully feed it's own population and even had enough food left to help feed the people in Zimbabwe and other countries.
In India the lending organisations helped create a famine as well. In 2002 the New York Times reported that the Indian government buys food from farmers, but the World Bank and other organizations prohibit the Indian government from selling this food to the people at subsidized prices. As a result the food just rots away instead. This at a time when 50 million Indians were on the brink of starvation, and 250 million were underfed.
In 2005 the Guardian reported that people in Niger were suffering from starvation because the government under pressure from the IMF refused to hand out food to the poor and allowed traders to export the food produced to other countries.
The IMF came under strong criticism when it praised the government of Niger for it's actions.
President Obama has also been a strong proponent of biofuels. American biofuel made from corn that is. The New York Times reported that the Obama camp is strongly connected to the American biofuel industry that receives high subsidies to turn food into fuel.
Obama says he supports biofuel, but supports the high import tarrif on Brazilian biofuel made from sugar cane as well as the subsidy on biofuel from corn produced in the US. Sugar cane, while still using occupying land that should be used to feed human beings, is more effective than corn fuel. Brazilian biofuel produces about 8.3 to 10.2 more energy than is used to produce it. American biofuel produces only 1.3 to 1.6 times the energy required for it to be produced. To the American biofuel Industry that is heavily subsidized this is of no concern of course. But for the billions of people world wide suffering from food prices that have increased by 75% because of biofuels according to a secret report by the World Bank released in 2008 it is.
Obama however said in March of 2009 that he wants to preserve the Ethanol Industry while funding additional ways to produce biofuel from other feedstocks.
Multinational corporations and 1st world nations are now beginning to buy up land in 3rd world countries to grow crops used for biofuels. This land is often currently used by people who have lived there for generations but don't legally own the land. In a previous report I mentioned the revolution in Madagascar that was caused by the nation's president handing most of the good farmland of this nation to a South Korean Biofuel firm for free while millions of people in Madagascar are malnutrated. This is part of a larger global pattern of 3rd world farmland being acquired by rich nations for the production of biofuel.
The most dangerous method that is used to cause starvation may be the spread of genetically manipulated crops. Studies point out that GM crops have a yield about 10% below that of their most closely related Organic relatives. Because special varieties that have an even higher yield can not be used, the complete loss we suffer due to these crops may be even higher. The long term effects may be even worse. A new study claims that Bt-Cotton may leave the soil it's grown on unable to produce food within a decade of first being planted:
A recent scientific study carried out by Navdanya, compared the soil of fields where Bt-cotton had been planted for 3 years with adjoining fields with non GMO cotton or other crops. The region covered included Nagpur, Amravati and Wardha of Vidharbha which accounts for highest GMO cotton planting in India, and the highest rate of farmers suicides (4000 per year).
In 3 years, Bt-cotton has reduced the population of Actinomycetes by 17%. Actinomycetes are vital for breaking down cellulose and creating humus.
Bacteria were reduced by 14%. The total microbial biomass was reduced by 8.9%.
Vital soil beneficial enzymes which make nutrients available to plants have also been drastically reduced. Acid Phosphatase which contributes to uptake of phosphates was reduced by 26.6%. Nitrogenase enzymes which help fix nitrogen were reduced by 22.6%.
At this rate, in a decade of planting with GM cotton, or any GM crop with Bt genes in it, could lead to total destruction of soil organisms, leaving dead soil unable to produce food.
Multiple studies have pointed out that genetically manipulated corn genes have found their way into indigenous corn varieties across Mexico. The transgenes will not disappear from our crops by simply declaring GM crops illegal, because they've already spread and infected the organic varieties. The Biotech companies, apparently aware of the catastrophe that is ahead have build an underground seed bank in the Artic Circle to preserve the original varieties if they would ever go extinct.
Extinction of our main food crops may sound unbelievable but it's a possibility, and if it happens the same biotech companies now storing these seeds will be responsible. Researchers believe that a single genetically manipulated fish escaping could cause the extinction of a complete species of fish. Other researchers point to a phenomenon known as error catastrophe. When the mutation rate becomes to high, a species can go extinct. This is used to treat people against certain viruses. The problem is that genetically manipulating a crop also raises the mutation rate, and appears to eventually destroy the entire genome.
If the genetically manipulated versions cause certain crops to go extinct, we will be dependent on these companies and tax free foundations to give us the original versions we have used for generations. This would hand them complete control over our food production, which is the true goal of Monsanto according to whistleblowers who worked for the company.
HUNGER IS THE WORST FORM OF VIOLENCE
The 'economic therapy' imposed under IMF-World Bank jurisdiction is in large part responsible for triggering famine and social devastation in Ethiopia and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, wrecking the peasant economy and impoverishing millions of people. With the complicity of branches of the US government, it has also opened the door for the appropriation of traditional seeds and landraces by US biotech corporations, which, behind the scenes, have also been peddling the adoption of their own genetically modified seeds under the disguise of famine relief.
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, May 2, 2008
Humanity is undergoing in the post-Cold War era an economic and social crisis of unprecedented scale leading to the rapid impoverishment of large sectors of the World population. National economies are collapsing, unemployment is rampant. Local level famines have erupted in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and parts of Latin America. This "globalization of poverty" --which has largely reversed the achievements of post-war decolonization-- was initiated in the Third World coinciding with the debt crisis of the early 1980s and the imposition of the IMF's deadly economic reforms.
The New World Order feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the natural environment. It generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife, undermines the rights of women and often precipitates countries into destructive confrontations between nationalities. Since the 1990s, it has extended its grip to all major regions of the World including North America, Western Europe, the countries of the former Soviet block and the "Newly Industrialized Countries" (NICs) of South East Asia and the Far East.
This Worldwide crisis is more devastating than the Great Depression of the 1930s. It has far-reaching geo-political implications; economic dislocation has also been accompanied by the outbreak of regional wars, the fracturing of national societies and in some cases the destruction of entire countries. By far this is the most serious economic crisis in modern history. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty, First Edition, 1997)
Famine is the result of a process of "free market" restructuring of the global economy which has its roots in the debt crisis of the early 1980s. It is not a recent phenomenon as suggested by several Western media reports. The latter narrowly focus on short-term supply and demand for agricultural staples, while obfuscating the broader structural causes of global famine.
Poverty and chronic undernourishment is a pre-existing condition. The recent hikes in food prices have contributed to exacerbating and aggravating the food crisis. The price hikes are hitting an impoverished population, which has barely the means to survive.
Food riots have erupted almost simultaneously in all major regions of the World:
"Food prices in Haiti had risen on average by 40 percent in less than a year, with the cost of staples such as rice doubling.... In Bangladesh, [in late April 2008] some 20,000 textile workers took to the streets to denounce soaring food prices and demand higher wages. The price of rice in the country has doubled over the past year, threatening the workers, who earn a monthly salary of just $25, with hunger. In Egypt, protests by workers over food prices rocked the textile center of Mahalla al-Kobra, north of Cairo, for two days last week, with two people shot dead by security forces. Hundreds were arrested, and the government sent plainclothes police into the factories to force workers to work. Food prices in Egypt have risen by 40 percent in the past year... Earlier this month, in the Ivory Coast, thousands marched on the home of President Laurent Gbagbo, chanting “we are hungry” and “life is too expensive, you are going to kill us.
Similar demonstrations, strikes and clashes have taken place in Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Yemen, Ethiopia, and throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa." (Bill Van Auken, Amid mounting food crisis, governments fear revolution of the hungry, Global Research, April 2008)
"Eliminating the Poor"
With large sectors of the World population already well below the poverty line, the short-term hike in the prices of food staples is devastating. Millions of people around the World are unable to purchase food for their survival
These hikes are contributing in a very real sense to "eliminating the poor" through "starvation deaths". In the words of Henry Kissinger: "Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people."
In this regard, Kissinger had intimated in the context of the 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests". that the recurrence of famines could constitute a de facto instrument of population control.
According to the FAO, the price of grain staples has increased by 88% since March 2007. The price of wheat has increased by 181% over a three year period. The price of rice has increased by 50% over the last three months (See Ian Angus, Food Crisis: "The greatest demonstration of the historical failure of the capitalist model", Global Research, April 2008):
"The most popular grade of Thailand rice sold for $198 a ton, five years ago and $323 a ton a year ago. In April 2008, the price hit $1,000. Increases are even greater on local markets — in Haiti, the market price of a 50 kilo bag of rice doubled in one week at the end of March 2008. These increases are catastrophic for the 2.6 billion people around the world who live on less than US$2 a day and spend 60% to 80% of their incomes on food. Hundreds of millions cannot afford to eat" (Ibid)
Two Interrelated Dimensions
There are two interrelated dimensions to the ongoing global food crisis, which has spearheaded millions of people around the World into starvation and chronic deprivation, a situation in which entire population groups no longer have the means to purchase food.
First, there is a long term historical process of macroeconomic policy reform and global economic restructuring which has contributed to depressing the standard living Worldwide in both the developing and developed countries.
Second, these preexisting historical conditions of mass poverty have been exacerbated and aggravated by the recent surge in grain prices, which have led in some cases to the doubling of the retail price of food staples. These price hikes are in large part the result of speculative trade in food staples.
Speculative Surge in Grain Prices
The media has casually misled public opinion on the causes of these price hikes, focusing almost exclusively on issues of costs of production, climate and other factors which result in reduced supply and which might contribute to boosting the price of food staples. While these factors may come into play, they are of limited relevance in explaining the impressive and dramatic surge in commodity prices.
Spiraling food prices are in large part the result of market manipulation. They are largely attributable to speculative trade on the commodity markets. Grain prices are boosted artificially by large scale speculative operations on the New York and Chicago mercantile exchanges. It is worth noting that in 2007, the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), merged with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), forming the largest Worldwide entity dealing in commodity trade including a wide range of speculative instruments (options, options on futures, index funds, etc).
Speculative trade in wheat, rice or corn, can occur without the occurrence of real commodity transactions. The institutions speculating in the grain market are not necessarily involved in the actual selling or delivery of grain.
The transactions may use commodity index funds which are bets on the general upward or downward movement of commodity prices. A "put option" is a bet that the price will go down, a "call option" is a bet that the price will go up. Through concerted manipulation, institutional traders and financial institutions make the price go up and then place their bets on an upward movement in the price of a particular commodity.
Speculation generates market volatility. In turn, the resulting instability
encourages further speculative activity.
Profits are made when the price goes up. Conversely, if the speculator is short-selling the market, money will be made when the price collapses.
This recent speculative surge in food prices has been conducive to a Worldwide process of famine formation on an unprecedented scale.
The Absence of Regulatory Measures Triggers Famine
These speculative operations do not purposely trigger famine.
What triggers famine is the absence of regulatory procedures pertaining to speculative trade (options, options on futures, commodity index funds). In the present context, a freeze of speculative trade in food staples, taken as a political decision, would immediately contribute to lower food prices.
Nothing prevents these transactions from being neutralized and defused through a set of carefully devised regulatory measures.
Visibly, this is not what is being proposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The Role of the IMF and the World Bank
The World Bank and the IMF have come forth with an emergency plan, to boost agriculture in response to the "food crisis". The causes of this crisis, however, are not addressed.
The World Bank's president Robert B. Zoellick describes this initiative as a "new deal", an action plan "for a long-term boost to agricultural production.", which consists inter alia in a doubling of agricultural loans to African farmers.
"We have to put our money where our mouth is now so that we can put food into hungry mouths" (Robert Zoellick, World Bank head, quoted by BBC, 2 May 2008)
IMF/World Bank "economic medicine" is not the "solution" but in large part the "cause" of famine in developing countries. More IMF-World Bank lending "to boost agriculture" will serve to increase levels of indebtedness and exacerbate rather alleviate poverty.
World Bank "policy based loans" are granted on condition the countries abide by the neoliberal policy agenda which, since the early 1980s, has been conducive to the collapse of local level food agriculture.
"Macro-economic stabilization" and structural adjustment programs imposed by the IMF and the World Bank on developing countries (as a condition for the renegotiation of their external debt) have led to the impoverishment of hundreds of millions of people.
The harsh economic and social realities underlying IMF intervention are soaring food prices, local-level famines, massive lay-offs of urban workers and civil servants and the destruction of social programs. Internal purchasing power has collapsed, health clinics and schools have been closed down, hundreds of millions of children have been denied the right to primary education.
IMF Shock Treatment
Historically, spiraling food prices at the retail level have been triggered by currency devaluations, which have invariably resulted in a hyperinflationary situation. In Peru in August 1990, for instance, on the orders of the IMF, fuel prices increased overnight by 30 times. The price of bread increased twelve times overnight:
"Throughout the Third World, the situation is one of social desperation and hopelessness of a population impoverished by the interplay of market forces. Anti-SAP riots and popular uprisings are brutally repressed: Caracas, 1989. President Carlos Andres Perez after having rhetorically denounced the IMF of practicing "an economic totalitarianism which kills not with bullets but with famine", declares a state of emergency and sends regular units of the infantry and the marines into the slum areas (barrios de ranchos) on the hills overlooking the capital. The Caracas anti-IMF riots had been sparked off as a result of a 200 per cent increase in the price of bread. Men, women and children were fired upon indiscriminately: "The Caracas morgue was reported to have up to 200 bodies of people killed in the first three days ... and warned that it was running out of coffins". Unofficially more than a thousand people were killed. Tunis, January 1984: the bread riots instigated largely by unemployed youth protesting the rise of food prices; Nigeria, 1989: the anti-SAP student riots leading to the closing of six of the country’s universities by the Armed Forces Ruling Council; Morocco, 1990: a general strike and a popular uprising against the government’s IMF-sponsored reforms." (Michel Chossudovsky, op cit.)
The Deregulation of Grain Markets
Since the 1980s, grain markets have been deregulated under the supervision of the World Bank and US/EU grain surpluses are used systematically to destroy the peasantry and destabilize national food agriculture. In this regard, World Bank lending requires the lifting of trade barriers on imported agricultural staples, leading to the dumping of US/EU grain surpluses onto local market. These and other measures have spearheaded local agricultural producers into bankruptcy.
A "free market" in grain --imposed by the IMF and the World Bank-- destroys the peasant economy and undermines "food security". Malawi and Zimbabwe were once prosperous grain surplus countries, Rwanda was virtually self-sufficient in food until 1990 when the IMF ordered the dumping of EU and US grain surpluses on the domestic market precipitating small farmers into bankruptcy. In 1991-92, famine had hit Kenya, East Africa's most successful bread-basket economy. The Nairobi government had been previously placed on a black list for not having obeyed IMF prescriptions. The deregulation of the grain market had been demanded as one of the conditions for the rescheduling of Nairobi's external debt with the Paris Club of official creditors. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, Montreal 2003)
Throughout Africa, as well as in Southeast Asia and Latin America, the pattern of "sectoral adjustment" in agriculture under the custody of the Bretton Woods institutions has been unequivocally towards the destruction of food security. Dependency vis-à-vis the world market has been reinforced leading to a boost in commercial grain imports as well as an increase in the influx of "food aid".
Agricultural producers were encouraged to abandon food farming and switch into "high value" export crops. often to the detriment of food self-sufficiency. The high value products as well as the cash crops for export were supported by World Bank loans.
Famines in the age of globalization are the result of policy. Famine is not the consequence of a scarcity of food but in fact quite the opposite: global food surpluses are used to destabilize agricultural production in developing countries.
Tightly regulated and controlled by international agro-business, this oversupply is ultimately conducive to the stagnation of both production and consumption of essential food staples and the impoverishment of farmers throughout the world. Moreover, in the era of globalization, the IMF-World Bank structural adjustment program bears a direct relationship to the process of famine formation because it systematically undermines all categories of economic activity, whether urban or rural, which do not directly serve the interests of the global market system.
The earnings of farmers in rich and poor countries alike are squeezed by a handful of global agro-industrial enterprises which simultaneously control the markets for grain, farm inputs, seeds and processed foods. One giant firm Cargill Inc. with more than 140 affiliates and subsidiaries around the World controls a large share of the international trade in grain. Since the 1950s, Cargill became the main contractor of US "food aid" funded under Public Law 480 (1954).
World agriculture has for the first time in history the capacity to satisfy the food requirements of the entire planet, yet the very nature of the global market system prevents this from occurring. The capacity to produce food is immense yet the levels of food consumption remain exceedingly low because a large share of the World's population lives in conditions of abject poverty and deprivation. Moreover, the process of "modernization" of agriculture has led to the dispossession of the peasantry, increased landlessness and environmental degradation. In other words, the very forces which encourage global food production to expand are also conducive antithetically to a contraction in the standard of living and a decline in the demand for food.
Genetically Modified Seeds
Coinciding with the establishment the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, another important historical change has occurred in the structure of global agriculture.
Under the articles of agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO)), the food giants will have unrestricted freedom to enter the seeds markets of developing countries. The acquisition of exclusive "intellectual property rights" over plant varieties by international agro-industrial interests, also favors the destruction of bio-diversity.
Acting on behalf of a handful of biotech conglomerates, GMO seeds have been imposed on farmers, often in the context of "food aid programs". In Ethiopia, for instance, kits of GMO seeds were handed out to impoverished farmers with a view to rehabilitating agricultural production in the wake of a major drought . The GMO seeds were planted, yielding a harvest. But then the farmer came to realize that the GMO seeds could not be replanted without paying royalties to Monsanto, Arch Daniel Midland et al. Then, the farmers discovered that the seeds would harvest only if they used the farm inputs including the fertilizer, insecticide and herbicide, produced and distributed by the biotech agribusiness companies. Entire peasant economies were locked into the grip of the agribusiness conglomerates.
Breaking The Agricultural Cycle
With the widespread adoption of GMO seeds, a major transition has occurred in the structure and history of settled agriculture since its inception 10,000 years ago.
The reproduction of seeds at the village level in local nurseries has been disrupted by the use of genetically modified seeds. The agricultural cycle, which enables farmers to store their organic seeds and plant them to reap the next harvest has been broken. This destructive pattern – invariably resulting in famine – is replicated in country after country leading to the Worldwide demise of the peasant economy.
Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website www.globalresearch.ca . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.
The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order
by Michel Chossudovsky
In this new and expanded edition of Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.
This book is a skilful combination of lucid explanation and cogently argued critique of the fundamental directions in which our world is moving financially and economically.
In this new enlarged edition –which includes ten new chapters and a new introduction-- the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalisation.
LE COTON OGM GENERE UNE INVASION DE PUNAISES
En Chine, l'arbuste génétiquement modifié pour résister à un ravageur a provoqué l'explosion d'un autre prédateur, nuisant aux cultures environnantes.
La culture du coton Bt en Chine du Nord a des effets pervers d'une ampleur inattendue, révèle une étude de l'Institut de protection des plantes de Pékin. Kongming Wu et ses collègues ont scruté pendant dix ans les champs de plantes transgéniques, modifiées pour produire une toxine issue de la bactérie Bacillus thuringiensis.
Implantés sur 3 millions d'hectares, ces cotonniers visaient à éliminer la noctuelle Helicoverpa armigera, principal ravageur local, en utilisant moins de pesticides. De ce point de vue, c'est réussi, les noctuelles ont disparu des champs... mais elles ont laissé place à un autre parasite auparavant minoritaire : une cousine de la punaise, de la famille des miridés, s'est multipliée au point de ravager les récoltes de coton, mais aussi les cultures environnantes de céréales et d'arbres fruitiers. Au total, ce sont 26 millions d'hectares alentour qui souffrent d'infestations accrues. La toxine Bt étant inefficace contre les miridés, les champs cotonniers, qui servaient autrefois de puits à punaises où ces insectes étaient exterminés par les pesticides, sont devenus des « sources » à punaises. « Pendant cinq ans, l'introduction de coton Bt a permis de diminuer les doses de pesticides de 50 %, mais ce chiffre est désormais remonté à 25 % à cause des miridés », commente Kongming Wu.
C'est la première fois qu'une telle étude est menée sur un territoire de la taille de la France. Selon ses auteurs, elle montre qu'il y a « un besoin critique d'évaluer les risques écologiques à grande échelle » lors de l'implantation de telles cultures. Il y a deux ans, une étude controversée de l'université du Minnesota (Etats-Unis) concluait déjà que l'intérêt économique du coton Bt s'érodait en quelques années, en raison des pesticides nécessaires pour lutter contre des envahisseurs secondaires. Autre déconvenue, en Inde, le coton Bt Bollgard 1 de Monsanto, destiné à lutter contre le ver rose du cotonnier, est devenu inefficace, a reconnu la firme en mars dernier. Les agriculteurs doivent à nouveau recourir à de fortes doses de pesticides. Monsanto recommande désormais l'emploi de coton Bt de deuxième génération ainsi que l'aménagement de zones tampons (avec des cotonniers traditionnels) pour éviter - ou retarder - l'apparition de nouvelles résistances. D'ores et déjà, un premier cas de résistance d'une noctuelle aux cotons Bt a été repéré en 2008 aux Etats-Unis.
LE COTON BT a été autorisé par Pékin en 1997. Planté sur plus de 4 millions d'hectares, il représente 95 % des cultures cotonnières dans le nord de la Chine. Cultivé dans 20 pays, le coton Bt occupait en 2009 près de la moitié des 33 millions d'hectares dédiés à cette culture dans le monde. Au premier rang des pays concernés, l'Inde avec 9 millions d'hectares.
Genetically Manipulated Crops: The GMO Catastrophe in the USA. A Lesson for the World
by F. William Engdahl
August 18, 2010
Recently the unelected potentates of the EU Commission in Brussels have sought to override what has repeatedly been shown to be the overwhelming opposition of the European Union population to the spread of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in EU agriculture. EU Commission President now has a Maltese accountant as health and enviromnent Commissioner to rubber stamp the adoption of GMO. The former EU Environment Commissioner from Greece was a ferocious GMO opponent. As well, the Chinese government has indicated it may approve a variety of GMO rice. Before things get too far along, they would do well to take a closer look at the world GMO test lab, the USA. There GMO crops are anything but beneficial. Just the opposite.
What is carefully kept out of the Monsanto and other agribusiness propaganda in promoting genetically manipulated crops as an alternative to conventional is the fact that in the entire world until the present, all GMO crops have been manipulated and patented for only two things—to be resistant or “tolerant” to the patented highly toxic herbicide glyphosate chemicals that Monsanto and the others force farmers to buy as condition for buying their patented GMO seeds. The second trait is GMO seeds that have been engineered genetically to resist specific insects. Contrary to public relations myths promoted by the agribusiness giants in their own self-interest, there exists not oné single GMO seed that provides a greater harvest yield than conventional, nor one that requires less toxic chemical herbicides. That is for the simple reason there is no profit to be made in such.
Giant super-weeds plague
As prominent GMO opponent and biologist, Dr Mae-Wan Ho of the Institute of Science in London has noted, companies such as Monsanto build into their seeds herbicide-tolerance (HT) due to glyphosate-insensitive form of the gene coding for the enzyme targeted by the herbicide. The enzyme is derived from soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Insect-resistance is due to one or more toxin genes derived from the soil bacterium Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). The United States began large scale commercial planting of GMO plants, mainly soybeans and corn and cotton around 1997. By now, GM crops have taken over between 85 percent to 91 percent of the areas planted with the three major crops, soybean, corn and cotton in the US, on nearly 171 million acres.
The ecological time-bomb that came with the GMO according to Ho, is about to explode. Over several years of constant application of patented glyphosate herbicides such as Monsanto’s famous and highly Roundup, new herbicide-resistant “super-weeds” have evolved, nature’s response to man-made attempts to violate it. The super-weeds require significantly more not less herbicide to control.
ABC Television, a major US national network, made a recent documentary about the super-weeds under the rubric, “super weeds that can’t be killed.”
They interviewed farmers and scientists across Arkansas who described fields overrun with giant pigweed plants that can withstand as much glyphosate as farmers are able to spray. They interviewed one farmer who spent almost €400000 in only three months in a failed attempt to kill the new super-weeds.
The new super-weeds are so robust that harvester combines are unable to harvest the fields and hand tools break trying to cut them down. At least 400000 hectares of soybean and cotton in Arkansas alone have become invested with this new mutant biological plague. Detailed data on other agricultural regions is not available but believed similar. The pro-GMO and pro-agribusiness US Department of Agriculture has been reported lying about the true state of US crop harvest partly to hide the grim reality and to prevent an explosive revolt against GMO in the world’s largest GMO market.
One variety of super-weed, palmer pigweed can grow up to 2.4 meters high, withstands severe heat and prolonged droughts, and produces thousands of seeds with a root system that drains nutrients away from crops. If left unchecked, it takes over an entire field in a year. Some farmers have been forced to abandon their land. To date palmer pigweed infestation in GMO crop regions has been identified in addition to Arkansas, also in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, New Mexico, Mississippi and most recently, Alabama and Missouri.
Weed scientists at the University of Georgia estimate that just two palmer pigweed plants in every 6 meter length of cotton row can reduce yield by at least 23 percent. A single weed plant can produce 450 000 seeds. 
Roundup toxic danger being covered-up
Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the US and the world at large. Patented and sold by Monsanto since the 1970s under the trade name Roundup, it is a mandatory component of buying GMO seeds from Monsanto. Just go to your local garden store and ask for it and read the label carefully.
As I detail in my book, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, GMO crops and patented seeds were developed in the 1970’s with significant financial support from the pro-eugenics Rockefeller Foundation, by what were essentially chemical companies—Monsanto Chemicals, DuPont and Dow Chemicals. All three were involved in the scandal of the highly toxic Agent Orange used in Vietnam, as well as Dioxin in the 1970’s, and lied to cover up the true damage to its own employees as well as to civilian and military populations exposed.
Their patented GMO seeds were seen as a clever way to force increased purchase of their agricultural chemicals such as Roundup. Farmers must sign a legal contract with Monsanto in which it stipulates that only Monsanto Roundup pesticide may be used. Farmers are thus trapped both in buying new seeds from Monsanto each harvest and buying the toxic glyphosate.
France’s University of Caen, in a team led by molecular biologist, Gilles-Eric Seralini, did a study that showed Roundup contained one specific inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA. Seralini’s team demonstrated that POEA in Roundup was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than even the glyphosate itself. Monsanto refuses to release details of the contents of its Roundup other than glyphosate, calling it “proprietary.” 
The Seralini study found that Roundup’s inert ingredients amplified the toxic effect on human cells—even at concentrations much more diluted than those used on farms and lawns! The French team studied multiple concentrations of Roundup, from the typical agricultural or lawn dose down to concentrations 100,000 times more dilute than the products sold on shelves. The researchers saw cell damage at all concentrations.
Glyphosate and Roundup are advertised as “less toxic to us than table salt” in a pamphlet from the Biotechnology Institute promoting GMO crops as ‘Weed Warrior.’ Thirteen years of GMO crops in the USA has increased overall pesticide use by 318 million pounds, not decreased as promised by the Four Horsemen of the GMO Apocalypse. The extra disease burden on the nation from that alone is considerable.
Nonetheless after introduction of Monsanto GMO seeds commercially in the USA, use of glyphosate has risen more than 1500% between 1994 and 2005. In the USA some 100 million pounds of glyphosate are used on lawns and farms every year, and over the last 13 years, it has been applied to more than a billion acres. When questioned, Monsanto’s technical development manager, Rick Cole, reportedly said the problems were “manageable.” He advised farmers to alternate crops and use different makes of herbicides produced by Monsanto. Monsanto is encouraging farmers to mix glyphosate with its older herbicides such as 2,4-D, banned in Sweden, Denmark and Norway for links to cancer and reproductive and neurological damage. 2,4-D is a component of Agent Orange, produced by Monsanto for use in Vietnam in the 1960s.
US Farmers turn to organics
Farmers across the United States are reported to be going back to conventional non-GMO crops instead. According to a new report from the US Department of Agriculture, retail sales of organic food went up to $21.1 billion in 2008 from $3.6 billion in 1997. The market is so active that organic farms have struggled at times to produce sufficient supply to keep up with the rapid growth in consumer demand, leading to periodic shortages of organic products.
The new UK Conservative-Liberal coalition government is strongly backing lifting a de facto ban on GMO in that country. UK Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof. John Beddington, recently wrote an article in which he misleadingly claimed “The next decade will see the development of combinations of desirable traits and the introduction of new traits such as drought tolerance. By mid-century much more radical options involving highly polygenic traits may be feasible.” He went on to promise “cloned animals with engineered innate immunity to diseases” and more. I think we can pass that one up, thank you.
A recent study by Iowa State University and the US Department of Agriculture assessing the performance of farms during the three-year transition it takes to switch from conventional to certified organic production showed notable advantages of organic farming over GMO or even conventional non-GMO crops. In an experiment lasting four years—three years transition and first year organic—the study showed that although yields dropped initially, they equalized in the third year, and by the fourth year, the organic yields were ahead of the conventional for both soybean and corn.
As well, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) has recently been published, the result of three-year deliberation by 400 participating scientists and non-government representatives from 110 countries around the world. It came to the conclusion that small scale organic agriculture is the way ahead for coping with hunger, social inequities and environmental disasters.  As Dr Ho argues, a fundamental shift in farming practice is needed urgently, before the agricultural catastrophe spreads further across Germany and the EU to the rest of the world.
 Super weed can’t be killed, abc news, 6 October 2009. See also,Jeff Hampton, N.C. farmers battle herbicide-resistant weeds, The Virginian-Pilot, 19 July 2009, http://hamptonroads.com/2009/07/nc-farmers-battle-herbicideresistant-weeds
 Clea Caulcutt, ‘Superweed’ explosion threatens Monsanto heartlands, Clea Caulcutt, 19 April 2009, http://www.france24.com/en/20090418-superweed-explosion-threatens-monsanto-heartlands-genetically-modified-US-crops
 N. Benachour and G-E. Seralini, Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells, Chem. Res. Toxicol., Article DOI: 10.1021/tx800218n
Publication Date (Web): December 23, 2008.
 Carolyn Dimitri and Lydia Oberholtzer, Marketing U.S. organic foods: recent trends from farms to consumers, USDA Economic Research Service, September 2009, http://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB58/
 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, IAASTD, 2008, http://www.agassessment.org/index.cfm?Page=Press_Materials&ItemID=11
 Ho MW.UK Food Standards Agency study proves organic food is better. Science in Society 44, 32-33, 2009.
F. William Engdahl is the author of Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation
Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)/ Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation (CRM)
SUPERWEEDS HAVE BECOME IMMUNE TO MONSANTO'S ROUND-UP READY HERBICIDES AND INSECTS HAVE DEVELOPPED RESISTANCE TO bt CROPS ACROSS THE US AND WORLDWIDE, THREATENING THE FUTURE OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS (GMO) WORLWIDE.
“If we don’t whip this thing, it’s going to be like the boll weevil did to cotton,” said Mr. Perry, who is also chairman of the Georgia Cotton Commission. “It will take it away.”
Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds
By WILLIAM NEUMAN and ANDREW POLLACK
New York Times, May 3, 2010
DYERSBURG, Tenn. — For 15 years, Eddie Anderson, a farmer, has been a strict adherent of no-till agriculture, an environmentally friendly technique that all but eliminates plowing to curb erosion and the harmful runoff of fertilizers and pesticides.
Invasion of the Superweeds
Michael Pollan and others on what Roundup-resistant weeds mean for American agriculture.
On a recent afternoon here, Mr. Anderson watched as tractors crisscrossed a rolling field — plowing and mixing herbicides into the soil to kill weeds where soybeans will soon be planted.
Just as the heavy use of antibiotics contributed to the rise of drug-resistant supergerms, American farmers’ near-ubiquitous use of the weedkiller Roundup has led to the rapid growth of tenacious new superweeds.
To fight them, Mr. Anderson and farmers throughout the East, Midwest and South are being forced to spray fields with more toxic herbicides, pull weeds by hand and return to more labor-intensive methods like regular plowing.
“We’re back to where we were 20 years ago,” said Mr. Anderson, who will plow about one-third of his 3,000 acres of soybean fields this spring, more than he has in years. “We’re trying to find out what works.”
Farm experts say that such efforts could lead to higher food prices, lower crop yields, rising farm costs and more pollution of land and water.
“It is the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen,” said Andrew Wargo III, the president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts.
The first resistant species to pose a serious threat to agriculture was spotted in a Delaware soybean field in 2000. Since then, the problem has spread, with 10 resistant species in at least 22 states infesting millions of acres, predominantly soybeans, cotton and corn.
The superweeds could temper American agriculture’s enthusiasm for some genetically modified crops. Soybeans, corn and cotton that are engineered to survive spraying with Roundup have become standard in American fields. However, if Roundup doesn’t kill the weeds, farmers have little incentive to spend the extra money for the special seeds.
Roundup — originally made by Monsanto but now also sold by others under the generic name glyphosate — has been little short of a miracle chemical for farmers. It kills a broad spectrum of weeds, is easy and safe to work with, and breaks down quickly, reducing its environmental impact.
Sales took off in the late 1990s, after Monsanto created its brand of Roundup Ready crops that were genetically modified to tolerate the chemical, allowing farmers to spray their fields to kill the weeds while leaving the crop unharmed. Today, Roundup Ready crops account for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States.
But farmers sprayed so much Roundup that weeds quickly evolved to survive it. “What we’re talking about here is Darwinian evolution in fast-forward,” Mike Owen, a weed scientist at Iowa State University, said.
Now, Roundup-resistant weeds like horseweed and giant ragweed are forcing farmers to go back to more expensive techniques that they had long ago abandoned.
Mr. Anderson, the farmer, is wrestling with a particularly tenacious species of glyphosate-resistant pest called Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, whose resistant form began seriously infesting farms in western Tennessee only last year.
Pigweed can grow three inches a day and reach seven feet or more, choking out crops; it is so sturdy that it can damage harvesting equipment. In an attempt to kill the pest before it becomes that big, Mr. Anderson and his neighbors are plowing their fields and mixing herbicides into the soil.
That threatens to reverse one of the agricultural advances bolstered by the Roundup revolution: minimum-till farming. By combining Roundup and Roundup Ready crops, farmers did not have to plow under the weeds to control them. That reduced erosion, the runoff of chemicals into waterways and the use of fuel for tractors.
If frequent plowing becomes necessary again, “that is certainly a major concern for our environment,” Ken Smith, a weed scientist at the University of Arkansas, said. In addition, some critics of genetically engineered crops say that the use of extra herbicides, including some old ones that are less environmentally tolerable than Roundup, belies the claims made by the biotechnology industry that its crops would be better for the environment.
“The biotech industry is taking us into a more pesticide-dependent agriculture when they’ve always promised, and we need to be going in, the opposite direction,” said Bill Freese, a science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety in Washington.
So far, weed scientists estimate that the total amount of United States farmland afflicted by Roundup-resistant weeds is relatively small — seven million to 10 million acres, according to Ian Heap, director of the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, which is financed by the agricultural chemical industry. There are roughly 170 million acres planted with corn, soybeans and cotton, the crops most affected.
Roundup-resistant weeds are also found in several other countries, including Australia, China and Brazil, according to the survey.
Monsanto, which once argued that resistance would not become a major problem, now cautions against exaggerating its impact. “It’s a serious issue, but it’s manageable,” said Rick Cole, who manages weed resistance issues in the United States for the company.
Of course, Monsanto stands to lose a lot of business if farmers use less Roundup and Roundup Ready seeds.
“You’re having to add another product with the Roundup to kill your weeds,” said Steve Doster, a corn and soybean farmer in Barnum, Iowa. “So then why are we buying the Roundup Ready product?”
Monsanto argues that Roundup still controls hundreds of weeds. But the company is concerned enough about the problem that it is taking the extraordinary step of subsidizing cotton farmers’ purchases of competing herbicides to supplement Roundup.
Monsanto and other agricultural biotech companies are also developing genetically engineered crops resistant to other herbicides.
Bayer is already selling cotton and soybeans resistant to glufosinate, another weedkiller. Monsanto’s newest corn is tolerant of both glyphosate and glufosinate, and the company is developing crops resistant to dicamba, an older pesticide. Syngenta is developing soybeans tolerant of its Callisto product. And Dow Chemical is developing corn and soybeans resistant to 2,4-D, a component of Agent Orange, the defoliant used in the Vietnam War.
Still, scientists and farmers say that glyphosate is a once-in-a-century discovery, and steps need to be taken to preserve its effectiveness.
Glyphosate “is as important for reliable global food production as penicillin is for battling disease,” Stephen B. Powles, an Australian weed expert, wrote in a commentary in January in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Research Council, which advises the federal government on scientific matters, sounded its own warning last month, saying that the emergence of resistant weeds jeopardized the substantial benefits that genetically engineered crops were providing to farmers and the environment.
Weed scientists are urging farmers to alternate glyphosate with other herbicides. But the price of glyphosate has been falling as competition increases from generic versions, encouraging farmers to keep relying on it.
Something needs to be done, said Louie Perry Jr., a cotton grower whose great-great-grandfather started his farm in Moultrie, Ga., in 1830.
Georgia has been one of the states hit hardest by Roundup-resistant pigweed, and Mr. Perry said the pest could pose as big a threat to cotton farming in the South as the beetle that devastated the industry in the early 20th century.
“If we don’t whip this thing, it’s going to be like the boll weevil did to cotton,” said Mr. Perry, who is also chairman of the Georgia Cotton Commission. “It will take it away.”
article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/business/energy-environment/04weed.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1&src=busln