Famine amidst plenty

May 2014

Image of people sorting food on a conveyor belt
Volunteers at the Greater Boston Food Bank in the US.
Comment
 
The UK Chief Scientific Adviser is supporting the Westminster Government and Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, as they push for GM crop development in Britain [1].
 
He explained that, at present, “our supermarket shelves are groaning with food” but that in future “If we don't use GM the risk is people going unfed”. This seems to be a faithful repetition of the biotech industry line that only GM can provide the increased yields and crop adaptation to climate change needed to feed the future human population.
 
Interestingly, this reasoning was reported just days after the UK media had picked up on the shocking news that 'business' in our food banks is booming as never before.
 
In Newcastle alone, one food bank which was providing emergency food to 30 people a week less than a year ago is now supply 1,600 desperate people. The bank even has special packs for those unable to afford to use a cooker.
 
The reason?
 
Not lack of food, the supermarket shelves continue to groan: poverty.

Even now, decades before the predicted world population excess, and with many times more food available than we can possibly eat, half-a-million souls in the UK are reckoned to be going hungry due to poverty.
 
GM isn't about relieving poverty. It's about global food production. It's about big business. It's about big profits (guaranteed profits because every one eats). The profits from GM food go to industry. GM will never put cash into the pockets of the poor.
 
The way things are right now, GM won't feed the rich because they won't buy it, and will never feed the poor because they can't afford it.
 
And what about the farmers our Government seems to think are straining at the bit to get their hands on GM seed?
 
In the Americas “Farmers wanted to believe that if they bought into the GMO system, they would actually make money, but the dream turned on them. Patented seeds, the cost of fertilizer and chemicals pushed the small farmers out of business, their farms gobbled up by the corn/soy mono-culture that made Monsanto, Cargill and all the other multi-national agri-business corporations rich”. (Goodman)
 
It sounds like any UK farmer rushing to plant GM crops might well end up in the food bank queues.  
 
 
Background:
 
 
 
SOURCES
  • Damian Carrington, David Cameron's science advisers call for expansion of GM crops, Guardian, 14.03.14
  • www.trusselltrust.org, accessed April 2014
  • Jeremy Armstrong, Food banks explosion: 'We were feeding 30 a week now it's 1,600', Mirror, 3.13.14
  • Terrifying' increase in food bank use clearly linked to welfare reform, BBC, 4.13.14
  • Jim Goodman, The “Sound Science” of Deception, Green Shadow Cabinet, 12.03.14

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