Volume 6, Number 18                                            September 11, 2003

The Farmer

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"Frankenfood" vs "Mad Cow"

by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad

Who will feed the world’s hungry, "Frankenfood" or "Mad Cows"? In "Frankenfoods" corner we have Jonathan Rauch who in an October 2003 article in The Atlantic Monthly magazine entitled "Will Frankenfood Save the Planet?" raises a question about the problems and possible solutions of feeding a growing world population. The problem is posed as too little land and too many people with the solution being more technology. However, Marcela Valente in a September 9, 2003 article in the Final Call Newspaper entitled "Six million go hungry in land of abundance" puts the problem of hunger not with technology or a lack of productivity but income distribution, which is ultimately a political or economic problem which requires a political or structural solution.

Ms. Valente quotes Patricia Aquirre of the Health Ministry’s Maternal-Infant Health division as saying "In Argentina, the problem is not one of availability of food, but of being able to afford it. If the distribution of wealth were more equitable, there would be enough food for everyone." The article goes on to point out that the middle and upper classes in Argentina have access to at least 250 different food products, while the diet of the poor includes only 22 "affordable" items.

To complicate matters the once rich nation of Argentina has been transformed into an economy where 54.7 percent of the population has fallen into poverty. This collapse happened in a relatively short period of time while still being a world leader in the export of beef, corn, wheat and soybeans.

Although Argentina already produces an economic surplus Mr. Rauch’s article would give one the impression that Argentina could produce its way out of hunger by introducing "Frankenfoods". If only the "environmentalist" would get out of the way and allow our beneficent scientists and agribusiness industry to bring the world into the new biotech revolution, the success of the "Green Revolution" could be multiplied. The writer, Mr. Rauch, admits that he is "agriculturally illiterate", however he now writes a six page article in the Atlantic Monthly to convince the world to lower its shield of skepticism toward an agricultural industry that Min. Farrakhan has exposed as "merchants of death".

Before Mr. Rauch gives a free hand to the "scientists" working in their laboratories he should evaluate those countries that supposedly benefited from the "Green Revolution". To help us with this analysis we will refer to the March 2000 article called "Lessons from the Green Revolution" by Peter Rosset, et al., found on the www.foodfirst.org web site. The term "Green Revolution" was coined in the 1960s to describe the adoption of new high yielding varieties of wheat, rice and corn. However, much of the reason why these "modern varieties" produced more than the traditional varieties was that they were more responsive to irrigation and petrochemical fertilizers.

Rosset, et al., writes "By the 1970s, the term ‘revolution’ was well deserved, for the new seeds-accompanied by chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and, for the most part, irrigation-had replaced the traditional farming practices of millions of Third World farmers. The total food available per person in the world rose by 11 percent from 1970 to 1990. However, in South America per capita food supplies rose almost 8 percent per person, but the number of hungry people also went up by 19 percent. Commercial farms expanded, running small farmers off of the land and into the cities where they could not find adequate income and therefore could not afford to buy adequate food.

After the crops were grown, most of the population in these countries was too poor to purchase these commercially grown crops so they were exported to the developed world, especially Europe. Therefore, the "Green Revolution" provided a source of cheap food for Europe while addicting the Third World countries to purchased inputs provided by Europe, America and their allies.

Now "Frankenfood" adds a new wrinkle to this game of monopoly. The new genetically engineered "miracle" crops will be produced with patented seeds that will be illegal for the farmers to save and store for next year’s planting. The farmers then will be completely at the mercy of the multinational biotech firms such as Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Epicyte and Syngenta. Imagine a world where all of the seed is controlled by one or two companies. Technically, if the seed is patented, then its offspring belongs to the patent holder, since the fruit is also filled with the patented genes. Therefore, if the seed company wanted to exert its "rights" to the limit, it could tell you who you could or could not sell "their" crop to. Then if you decided to eat "their" crop without their permission and they found traces of the patented gene in your gut, then they could charge you with destroying their property. Frankenstein is laughable compared to the past exploits and future plans of these new test tube slinging cowboys.

People have gotten far away from not only understanding agriculture, but understanding the technical relationships between cause and effect beyond hitting a mouse or squeezing the trigger on a video game. It is still the case that the most technically literate societies, such as Europe and Japan, are deathly against "Frankenfood". However, America is still trying to use the World Trade Organization to shove it down the throat of Europe and Japan, while she uses Africa for her genetic refuse.

Now these same scientists and food companies that bring you "Frankenfood" introduced "mad cow disease ‘ to the world by feeding cows to cows then to you. Cows naturally get their protein and energy from eating vegetation and not meat, unless force-fed by the merchants of death. Nature rebelled against this new practice of humans forcing cows to break nature’s laws by making humans taste a portion of what they have earned, "mad cow disease".

Furthermore, it takes 10 times more land to produce the same amount of food energy derived from beef than it does to grow beans that would provide that same energy. If America was concerned about relieving hunger then let her give up "Mad Cow Burgers". She might even lose a few inches around the waist as she releases the land from beneath the burden of her gluttonous desire for meat and allows it to be used to feed a "hungry world". But it seems that she would rather poison the land like she poisoned the cows and ultimately herself.

What ever happened to Frankenstein anyway? Remember, Frankenstein was the scientist who made the monster, so who was the real "monster"?

"There’s a war going on that you might want to know,

You’d better find out from Monsanto." (from www.muhammadfarms.com/poems.htm)