July 8, 2013
Last month, Monsanto executive Robert Fraley received the World Food Prize. This highly esteemed prize, considered among many to be the “Nobel Prize” of food, was given to the chief technology officer of the chemical company who is ironically working to diabolically destroy agriculture as we know it. As Anthony Gucciardi puts it, the “blatant act of transgression” isn’t only obvious to those of us in the natural health world, but to scientists, and food and agricultural advocates around the world as well.
In response to the award (and two other highly questionable World Food Prize awards), 81 Councillors of the World Future Council penned a statement blasting the World Food Prize. These dignitaries are described as “a network of global luminaries who ‘form a voice for the rights of future generations’.” The statement also included names of Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award, or the “Alternative Nobel”. In other words, the statement was written by some esteemed and globally recognized folks–people you don’t necessarily want on your bad side.
In their statement, published in its entirety on Huffington Post, the Council says this year’s World Food Prize recipient “betrays the award’s own mandate to emphasize ‘the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people’.” They call out Monsanto Exec Fraley and say he and the other two award recipients played crucial parts in the development of genetically modified organisms which threaten the global food system.
“Almost twenty years after commercialization of the first GMO seeds, by far the most widely used are not engineered to enhance nutrient content, but to produce a specific pesticide or to resist a proprietary herbicide, or a combination of these traits. Even in reducing weeds, the technology is failing, for it has led to herbicide-resistant “super weeds” now appearing on nearly half of American farms,” the Huffington Post reports.
The statement goes on to blast GMOs for perpetuating an unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels and minerals as well as water waste. They point out that although the award is designed to commend those behind nutritious and sustainable food practices, Monsanto’s GMOs actually do the opposite, taxing the environment far more than organically grown crops.
The claims by Monsanto and others who support GMOs are that these franken-seeds can help solve world hunger. But, as the Council points out, these seeds are largely used to produce crops for livestock feed, processed foods, and fuel, not to feed the hungry.
In addition, they write that the practices by these companies in getting farmers to subscribe to their devastating philosophy is making it even more difficult for such farmers to make a living. In India, for example, 270,000 farmers committed suicide between 1995 and 2012 to get out from under debt accumulated by purchasing these high-dollar seeds and chemicals.
In closing, they write:
The choice of the 2013 World Food Prize is an affront to the growing international consensus on safe, ecological farming practices that have been scientifically proven to promote nutrition and sustainability. Many governments have rejected GMOs, and as many as two million citizens in 52 countries recently marched in opposition to GMOs and Monsanto. In living democracies, discounting this knowledge and these many voices is not acceptable.