Today the Senate Foreign Relations committee held a hearing on the Global Food Security Act (S.384), which, as I have documented on this blog before, Monsanto HAS been involved in lobbying on. The bill first came to my attention about a year ago, when the same committee held a very similar hearing about the same bill. In the year since then, I've become increasingly knowledgeable and outraged about the issues surrounding global food security. In the meantime, the Obama Administration took the lead on the issue of global food security from the Senate, and USAID is doing quite a bit already (in partnership with the World Bank and private organizations and companies) to really f*ck things up worldwide.
One of the clauses in the bill specifies that the U.S. should promote biotechnology in its efforts to combat global hunger. After a year of lobbying to ask them to remove this, they still haven't. Lugar made a point today in saying how necessary he thought GMOs are. My very inadequate transcription of his remarks are as follows:
The average African farmer's yield per acre is 1/2 that of an Indian farmer, 1/4 that of a Chinese farmer, and 1/5 of an American. [Something about Bill Gates' piece in the Wall Street Journal today] The role of GMOs in agriculture development is a matter of contention. Europe's rejection of GM has pressured African governments for fear they will lose export markets. Others argue safety is not proven despite 2 decades of safe use of GMOs. This ensures that much of the continent [Africa] will lack the tools to deal with changing climate in the long run. We may not be able to double food output by 2050. I ask to what extent does USAID support a full range of technologies? To what extent do the strategies encourage biotech?
Here's the thing. The "double food output by 2050" figure is one that was created by idiots. Or just very greedy assholes. It assumes that the rest of the world will want to eat much more grain-fed meat (like Americans do now). Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not operate like a market with supply and demand. A diet of grain-fed meat means increased diet-related chronic illnesses for those who eat it. And it means continued and worsened environmental degradation and climate change for the planet. Our species existence on this planet is contingent on us NOT increasing grain-fed meat consumption (and in fact, on DECREASING it). Therefore, the Senate, USAID, and Bill Gates are all aiming for a false goal.