Health

GMO Trials by Monsanto and Gates Foundation Shut Down in Tanzania

The government of Tanzania has ordered an immediate halt to all ongoing Genetically-Modified Crop (GMO) trials in the country, including notably the toxic Bt MON 810 supposedly drought-tolerant and insect-resistant GM Maize crop from Monsanto.

The conspiracy to reduce Tanzania's population through genetically modified corn has just been handed a set-back.

The decision to stop the trials came from Mathew Mtigumwe, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.

According to a report explaining the decision, Secretary-General Mtigumwe has directed all organizations both to terminate their experiments but to destroy both field experiments and “all remnants” of the trials at the main research facilities for this effort at Makutupora Centre in Dodoma.

This includes Tanzania’s Agricultural Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), which has been conducted tests despite there being no government authorization for that research in the country. TARI had also been criticized for releasing results of the trials without authorization, including offering tours to the site from pro GM lobbyist Mark Lynas and the Parliamentary Committee on Food and Agriculture.

According to government sources, there was evidence of collusion between biotech lobbying organizations such as those Mark Lynas was connected to, and GM researchers paid by the Gates Foundation. Lynas was also named as behind a dangerous social media campaign which claimed Tanzanians are poor and hungry, then also improperly leveraged Tanzania’s smallholder farmers to attempt to convince others to try the new crops. This all happened despite the results of the testing being evaluated either by the Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) or the Ministry of Agriculture.

The GM crops which the pro-GM propaganda machine attempted to push into broad use ni Tanzania was a GM maize crop. The lobbyists had made what were widely seen as unsubstantiated claims about superior drought resistance and a means of fighting off the army worm, a serious regional agricultural pest.

The Director General of TARI was also criticized by the government for making the public statement that the GM maize crop field tests were a “success” and that “GMO seeds are a solution to the longstanding problems of pest invasions in farms across Tanzania”. TARI made these statements about the insect resistant Bt trait known as MON 810, a crop donated under the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project, a collaboration between Monsanto, the Gates Foundation and the country’s national research centers. They had made these statements despite information from South African tests of the same GM seed crop, which found widespread insect resistance to the crop in direct contradiction to Monsanto’s claims. The South African tests also said their own tests of the crop demonstrated there was insufficient proof of even the drought-resistant claims for the product.

Soon after its tests were completed and proven to be a major failure, South Africa formally agreed to block Monsanto’s GM Maize crop entries from coming into the market. Its biosafety authorities explicitly and formally rejected the company’s application for commercial release of its triple-stacked GM drought tolerant maize, MON 87460 x MON89034 x NK 603.

Multiple farmers’ organizations such as the Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania (MVIWATA) had criticized the government of Tanzania for even testing such GMO crops in the past. They said that “farmers have called for our government not to allow GMOs to be used in the country for obvious reasons that neither farmers nor the nation shall benefit from GMOs.

Janet Maro of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) took the message a step further, when she said about the current decision that “the move by the Permanent Secretary comes at a critical time when almost all media houses are publishing the pro biotech propaganda about the successes of the field trials without a shred of solid research data to back up their claims. We call upon the Permanent Secretary to encourage researchers to carry out farmer-centered research aimed at addressing current pressing challenges and to explore using locally available solutions to ensure sustainability and wider adoption of locally researched practices and technologies.”

Like many African countries, Tanzania has an unsustainable fertility rate and efforts at educating girls and reducing poverty have not yet had much impact. Population has exploded from 11 million in 1963 to about 55 million at present. In 2018, an estimated 1.6 million more children will be added to the population. This overpopulation ensures poverty, disease, corruption and condemns the entire country to a very bleak future at a time when climate change is adding even more challenges.

Genetically modified corn has been proven in laboratory studies to cause severe and long-lasting health problems, including reproductive problems. The Bt toxin and aggressive promoter genes radically alter human gut bacteria and effectively genetically engineers the human microbiome. Combined with the massive amounts of the herbicide glyphosate which usually goes along with GMOs, the impact of Bt corn would likely reduce population growth but it would also make the country less productive and greatly increase health-care costs.

Some may find the idea offensive, but perhaps a more effective way to reduce Tanzania's population growth would be to pay for sterlization. Many Tanzanians are willing to sell their votes for as little as $1USD, so perhaps they would be willing to sell their ability to overpopulate in exchange for a long-term monthly stipend. With more financial security there would be less emotional insecurity and less need to have children to sustain one into old age.