Contrary to Popular Belief, Monsanto is Not Ending or Reducing World Hunger

May 21, 2014   |   Nick Bernabe

Nick Bernabe | The Anti-Media

We’ve all seen that comment, “Monsanto has done more to end world hunger than any of you”, but that slogan is not based on sound science; rather it’s the result of a  $50 million dollar ad campaign launched after a Time magazine cover story christened GMO food as “Grains of Hope” on Aug 7, 2000. Thumbnail credit: gmo-awareness.com

After reading deeper and doing some research, it becomes clear that GMO crops are not solving the world’s hunger problems, contrary to Monsanto’s claims on it’s website that they are working to “mitigate hunger once and for all.”

Further reading of the Op-Ed by Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant titled ‘Let’s End World Hunger’ reveals nothing but empty rhetoric and the push for CEOs and NGOs to work together with governments in the third world to gift away the problem of world hunger by making more charitable donations from rich people to governments. The Monsanto CEO doesn’t even mention his products when talking about ending world hunger, because he knows there is no real science to back up these marketing tactics.

An in-depth paper from MIT about solving world hunger in 2014 came to this conclusion about GMO crops:

“Other technologies available have fewer scientific unknowns, less possibility of forming cycles of farmer debt, and have led to equally significant reductions in hunger. Integrated pest management, organic farming, and other improved farming practices may increase yields just as effectively as would introducing transgenic organisms. As such, we will not promote their widespread use until more research has been done on long term health effects, GMO seeds are available outside of corporate agriculture control, the biological effects of gene insertion are better understood, and research confirms that the presence of GMOs will not harm the native species in an ecosystem.”

The anti-science rhetoric that is hatched up in biotech marketing departments is beginning to come under scrutiny as Monsanto’s ‘Golden Rice’, which was supposed to prevent blindness in 350,000 children and prevent the premature death of 1 million more, has all but failed to deliver on all of it’s promises. As John Robbins at the Huffington Post brilliantly puts it:

“For one thing, we’ve learned that golden rice will not grow in the kinds of soil that it must to be of value to the world’s hungry. To grow properly, it requires heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides — expensive inputs unaffordable to the very people that the variety is supposed to help. And we’ve also learned that golden rice requires large amounts of water — water that might not be available in precisely those areas where Vitamin A deficiency is a problem, and where farmers cannot afford costly irrigation projects.

And one more thing — it turns out that golden rice doesn’t work, even in theory. Malnourished people are not able to absorb Vitamin A in this form. And even if they could, they’d have to eat an awful lot of the stuff. An 11-year-old boy would have to eat 27 bowls of golden rice a day in order to satisfy his minimum requirement for the vitamin.”

Manipulative ad campaigns have made people who oppose GM crops out to be anti-science environmental zealots willing to starve the world for their selfish want for organic produce. But who is actually anti-science when it comes to the GMO debate? Science is about questioning the official narrative and challenging the status-quo to allow these perceived societal norms such as GM foods to be properly vetted. If the pro-GMO crowd calls the anti-GMO crowd anti-science for questioning the safety and use of these products and practices, then they don’t have the slightest clue of what science really is.

On the heels of a UN report stating that small-scale and organic farming was needed instead of large scale commercial farming to lower world hunger rates, a new study has shown that Europe’s non-GMO farming techniques have produced higher yields than their ‘conventional’, GM, and pesticide treated American counterparts.

In a summary of the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, it was found that:

“The combination of non-GM seed and management practices used by Western Europe is increasing corn yields faster than the use of the GM-led package chosen by the US,” 

Global Research looks further into the study, finding:

“The research showed rapeseed (canola) yields increasing faster in Europe without GM than in the GM-led package chosen by Canada; and is decreasing chemical herbicide and achieving even larger declines in insecticide use without sacrificing yield gains, all this whilst chemical herbicide use in the US has increased with GM seed.”

What is clear is that GMOs are not the answer to world hunger, empowering people in third world countries and under served people in rich countries to produce their own food is the answer. Even the UN report on food access states that the world needs a ‘paradigm shift’ towards localized sustainable food systems.

The underlying issue in this whole debate on hunger is not that we aren’t producing enough food, it’s that people are simply too poor to buy it. Americans throw away nearly half of the food grown to feed us, while 1 in 6 go hungry in America every day. The hunger problem isn’t isolated to underdeveloped countries as many would think, it’s a real and growing problem is the first world as well. We should not be trying to figure out a way to produce more large crops in a small space by using GMOs and debilitating chemical pesticides, we should be finding out why the world’s economic system is producing so many poor people.

So while Monsanto runs around claiming to feed the world with it’s magical GMO seeds and related pesticides that can do no wrong, the real fight for food sovereignty and freedom is going on right now all over the world as innovators, co-ops, farmers, and entrepreneurs build the sustainable food systems of today and tomorrow, organically and decentralized.

One such innovator is Growing Power, a non-profit in Wisconsin.

This article may be freely republished under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Nick Bernabe and TheAntiMedia.org

Author: Nick Bernabe

Nick Bernabe founded Anti-Media in May of 2012. His topics of interest include civil liberties, the drug war, economic justice, foreign policy, geopolitics, government corruption, the police state, politics, propaganda, and social justice. He currently resides in Chula Vista, California, where he was born and raised.

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7 Comments

  1. They have Washington in there back pocket.

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  2. All lies Nick Bernabe. Where is your integrity? Come to the skeptic boards with this paper and we will debunk it free of charge.

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  3. Ralph Morris So the first link is to a Michael Pollan article in the NYT. In it he tries to take the shine off of Golden Rice and he does so with lies and skewed false statements like this one. "an 11-year-old would have to eat 15 pounds of cooked golden rice a day — quite a bowlful — to satisfy his minimum daily requirement of vitamin A." That is an arbitrary age and a bullshit statistic. Golden Rice was developed and intended to be most effective for small children (preschool -before age 5). That is the crucial period when vitamin A is most crucial. Brown Rice does not supply any Vitamin A. Then his statement that handing out supplements would work better. Ok. The problem has never been food supply or money but *delivery.* It is close to impossible to get all supplements, which degrade easily, to rural villages throughout Africa and Asia. It would need to be done many times per year and for who knows how long. The Anti-Media article states. "The underlying issue in this whole debate on hunger is not that we aren’t producing enough food, it’s that people are simply too poor to buy it." Wrong! money is not the issue. Logistical delivery of nutrients is. These are collapsed societies that have never had a Green Revolution. Forget about GMOs. They don't even know anything about modern agriculture. Contrary to what Pollan and Rockafeller FounGolden Rice was never intended to be a cure all or abate starvation. It was supposed to be a tool to help avoid physiologically crippling nutrient deficiencies. I could debunk food fraud Michael Pollan all day. So much wrong with that article and his elitists approach to world hunger. Moving on the article critique on Golden Rice's failure to deliver. No kidding! That is because anti-gmo fearmongers like Nick and all his NGO affiliates lobby to keep all GMOs, even the patentless Golden Rice out of the developing world. That is enough for now. Take any question you have to GMOSF on fb. They will further debunk bullshit claims in the article. http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/conservation-and-development/the-human-toll-of-anti-gmo-hysteria

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  4. Organic made $63 Billion last year. Conventional non GMO makes exponentially more. Monsanto does not control the world Tommy. It isn't even the more influential transgenic company.

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  5. To say a technology has failed, when it has been vigorously opposed, is ironic. New innovations are not developed and true solutions in the public sector go nowhere because of public pushback and high regulatory barriers make the technology's deployment only available to multinational corporations. There is no question that the technology has decreased insecticide use on corn and cotton and ensured yields for farmers. The fact that biotech opponents have kept Golden RIce out of the hands of the vitamin A deficient has resulted in the loss of 1.4 million human life years, and $2 billion in small stakeholder farms in the developing world (Wessler et al., 2014). If it has failed, it is because the anti-GMO movement succeeded, not that the technology is bad. No question that we'll look back at this time as a sad one, when well meaning people kept good technology from the developing world and farmers in the industrialized world.

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