Bill and Melinda Gates Promoting the Use of GM Seeds in Africa

At the end of January, while responding to a question posed at an event in Brussels, the principals of the Gates Foundation promoted the use of GMO seeds to fight malnutrition in Africa. Melinda Gates outlined the success that she believes GMOs can have in overcoming drought, flood, and climate change. Bill Gates followed and noted that despite concerns about the side effects of using GMOs, he believes the technology should not be prohibited and that “maybe” tests and trials should be run before their use. Maybe? AGRA Watch and its partners question their predictions of GMO success, as well as their flippantness in discussing the side effects of GMO use, which are widespread and far reaching.

In fact, there are numerous food safety, socioeconomic, and environmental questions that Bill and Melinda Gates seem to ignore while they promote the use of GM crops. With regards to the food safety of GMOs, this study published in Environmental Sciences Europe outlines the lack of scientific consensus on the subject, and rejects the claims made by GM seed developers that such a consensus exists. In addition to food safety concerns, AGRA Watch and its partners are extremely concerned about the socioeconomic consequences that GM seed usage will create in Africa. Will GMO distribution lead to monoculture? Will monoculture lead to unemployment, and increased poverty and malnourishment for a huge number of African farmers and families, who rely on small-scale, diversified agriculture for food and income? Where will these farming families go when they can no longer compete with the agribusinesses that arise? Will they migrate to already overpopulated cities? What impact will this forced migration have on the rest of the population? The questions are numerous, and the two principals of the Gates Foundation do not care to ask them. Lastly, by now we have numerous examples that the environmental consequences of GM seed usage are devastating; GM seeds promote the use of agrochemicals and fossil fuels, while destroying biodiversity.

In Brussels, Bill and Melinda Gates claimed that it is the Africans’ sovereign right to choose whether or not to use GM seeds. However, if the Gates Foundation is investing millions of dollars in agricultural strategies that rely heavily upon the use of GMOs, are the Africans really having a choice? Please follow this link to view the video and leave a comment or rebuttal expressing your concerns.

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