maize


Here are AGRA’s agents in Ghana. The result of their efforts, if they are successful, will be small farmers crushed by debt and forced off their land, the land will be depleted by chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and new super weeds and insect pests will flourish. As a friend who has worked with AGRA in Ghana says, if they give you 2000, they make sure to get 4000 back from you (in dollars, cedis, or any currency you name).

AGRA Watch researchers have mapped AGRA grant recipients and some alternatives to AGRA. The map, which is linked below, covers all of Africa, this is just the Ghana section.

AGRA Watch Resources

These are the organizations and individuals in Ghana, marked on the map, who are developing and promoting AGRA’s GMO seeds and chemical agriculture:

AGRA Grants (blue markers):
Category: Seed Production for Africa


Alpha Seed Enterprise
About, Personnel, Linkages, Approach
Last Updated on May 26, 2009
Principal Investigator: Mrs. Felicia Ewool
Purpose: To provide seeds of newley released hybrid and open-pollinated maize varieties to poor smallholder farmers of the forest and forest-transition maize growing regions of Ghana, as well as educate them on the importance of using improved seeds in an effort to enhance their productivity.
Amount: $150,000
Projected Duration: 10/1/2008 — 9/30/2010

M&B Seeds and Agricultural Services Ghana Limited
Last Updated on May 26, 2009
Principal Investigator: Mr. Benjamin Anani Kwaku Kemetse
Purpose: To enhance farm productivity and increase incomes of smallholder farmers of the Volta region of Ghana through provision of high yielding improved seeds of maize, soybean, cowpea, rice, groundnut and vegetables; and education on the use of these seeds.
Amount: $149,765
Projected Duration: 5/1/2009 – 4/30/2012

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Their website, www.csir.org.gh is not working today; find some CSIR info here.
Last Updated on May 23, 2009
Principal Investigator: Mr. Isaac Kofi Bimpong
Purpose: For use by its Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) to improve drought tolerance of rice through within-species gene transfer.
Amount: US$35,200
Projected Duration: 9/1/2007 – 4/30/2009
AGRA Grants (turquoise markers) :
Category: Education for African Crop Improvement

Savanna Seed Services Company Limited
Last Updated on May 26, 2009
Principal Investigator: Mr. Patrick Adingtingha Apullah
Purpose: To avail seed of maize, soybean, sorghum, cowpea, rice and groundnut at an affordable price to resource-poor farmers in three administrative regions of northern Ghana.
Amount: $149,973
Projected Duration: 6/15/2008 — 6/14/2010

University of Ghana
Last Updated on May 23, 2009
Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, Ph.D.
Purpose: To establish a West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Amount: US$4,922,752
Projected Duration: 6/1/2007 – 6/30/2012

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Last Updated on May 23, 2009
Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Akromah
Purpose: To catalyze the development and adoption of improved crop varieties and production of good quality seed adapted to smallholder farmer conditions in the West Africa sub-region, through supporting ten M.Sc. level training in plant breeding and seed science.
Amount: US$387,000
Projected Duration: 9/1/2008 – 8/31/2010

University of Ghana
Last Updated on May 23, 2009
Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah
Purpose: To provide supplementary funding toward the Establishment of a West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana, Legon (UGL).
Amount: US$859,107
Projected Duration: 6/1/2007 – 5/31/2012

Cornell University, United States
Last Updated on May 23, 2009
Principal Investigator: Professor Margaret Smith
Purpose: To facilitate the start-up and development of WACCI at the University of Ghana, Legon, to train African agricultural scientists and address critical food security issues facing the region.
Amount: US$1,696,756
Projected Duration: 6/1/2007 – 3/31/2012

AGRA Grants (yellow markers):
Fund for the Improvement and Adoption of African Crops

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute
Last Updated on May 23, 2009
Principal Investigator: Dr. Hans K.Adu-dapaah
Crop: Cowpea
Purpose: To improve cowpea yields among poor smallholder farmers by introgression of genes for flower thrips and Cercospora leaf spot-resistance in farmer-preferred varieties.
Amount: US$184,860
Projected Duration: 7/1/2008 – 6/30/2011

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Savanna Agricultural Research Institute
Last Updated on May 23, 2009
Principal Investigator: Dr. Mashark Seidu Abdulai
Crop: Maize
Purpose: To develop maize varieties suitable for use by poor smallholder farmers of the Guinea and Sudan savanna zones of Ghana.
Amount: US$184,480
Projected Duration: 3/1/2008 – 2/28/2011

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute
Last Updated on May 23, 2009
Principal Investigator: Mr. Manfred B. Ewool
Crop: Maize
Purpose: To develop higher-yielding, improved hybrid maize varieties for the forest and forest-transition zones of Ghana, for use by poor smallholder farmers.
Amount: US$185,000
Projected Duration: 5/1/2008 – 4/30/2011

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Crops Research Institute
Last Updated on May 23, 2009
Principal Investigator: Joe Manu-Aduening
Crop: Cassava
Purpose: To develop improved cassava varieties resistant to common pests and diseases and possessing the main farmer-preferred traits.
Amount: US$179,845
Projected Duration: 3/1/2008 – 2/28/2011

AGRA Grants (red marker):
Category: Agro-dealer Development

International Fertilizer Development Center
Last Updated on May 23, 2009
Principal Investigator: J J Robert Groot
Purpose: To create a well-functioning and sustainable input supply system in Ghana in order to increase productivity and incomes of rural food producers in Asante, Brong Ahafo, northern and central regions who account or more than half of the country’s poor.
Amount: US$2,500,000
Projected Duration: 10/1/2008 – 9/30/2011

The result of AGRA’s alien hybrid seeds, alien chemical fertilizers and alien pesticides, will be:

… smallholders will buy the new hybrid seed, fertiliser and pesticide on credit, eventually be forced off their land to repay their debts and end up in the cities, while large corporate style farms will consolidate smallholder land. (Food First)

For more information and links on this subject you can read these previous posts:
Why is Kofi Annan Fronting For Monsanto? The GMO Assault On Africa
AGRA & Monsanto & Gates, Green Washing & Poor Washing

I had wondered exactly where AGRA is operating in Ghana and who is involved. This list should provide a start. Here is this list of grants from the AGRA site.

Those doing the research claim great successes for their products. Most often, the research on effectiveness is funded by the same international corporations that are profiting from the products being researched. All tales of success should be regarded as highly suspect without independent research and verification. Generally the independent research has shown the company funded research and success tales to be highly questionable. Toxic effects have gone unreported and ignored

AGRA Watch Resources provides much more than this map. They provide a list of links to other organizations watching AGRA, and working for food and trade justice, and an excellent targeted reading list. On the map there are green markers for alternatives to AGRA. Unfortunately, there are not many marked, and none are in Ghana. Readers from other countries in Africa can identify who is AGRA in their own countries using this map.

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From Kenya’s Daily Nation comes the headline:
Farmers planting maize that poses threat to humans

Farmers in one of Kenya’s largest grain-producing areas have been cultivating genetically modified maize that is potentially harmful to human health without knowing it.

The Sunday Nation can exclusively report that the relevant seeds are sourced from a South African company that is a subsidiary of Dupont, a leading US-based biotechnology firm.

This was revealed to the Sunday Nation by officials of the Kenya Biodiversity Coalition (KBioC), a body that brings together 45 farmer groups, NGOs and civil society bodies.
. . .
After tests, it was conclusively established that the sample was contaminated with traces of MON810, a genetically modified maize variety owned and marketed by Monsanto, an American biotechnology company.
. . .

Long-running suspicions

The revelation confirms long-running suspicions among many Kenyan farmers that they could have been cultivating genetically modified varieties of maize without being aware of it.

“Initially, we were given the suspect seeds as donations by politicians and we planted them. But when we harvested, the maize started rotting almost immediately,” said Isabel Wandati, a farmer and official of a women’s group in Butere.

She laments that she finds it impossible to replant the same maize and blames the Kenya Bureau of Standards for not properly inspecting the relevant maize variety.

She adds that instead of arming farmers in Butere with the relevant information on the variety, the local agricultural extension officials have been championing its cultivation.

There is now a danger that the country’s entire maize crop could be contaminated with traces of MON810. This is because maize is a cross-pollinated crop and pollen that bears traces of MON810 might be transported by wind from contaminated farms into uncontaminated ones.

The variety is patented by Monsanto and is banned in several European countries because of its negative impact on the environment and its harmful consequences on such useful insects, such as butterflies and bees.

Research conducted in some European countries had shown that feeding mice on the variety damaged their kidneys and livers.

However, its effects on humans is yet to be fully studied since maize is generally not used as human food in Europe and America. It is instead fed to horses and other domestic animals.

Once the country’s maize crop is contaminated with genetically modified varieties, Kenya risks losing traditional hybrid varieties that were painstakingly developed by KARI at the taxpayer’s expense.

Genetically modified grains are injected with bacteria that produce poison to kill nuisance pests and resist adverse weather conditions.

However, these poisonous bacteria have the downside of potentially destroying the soil by killing helpful bacteria and insects. Also, they compromise food safety and might prove to be harmful to humans over time once the grains are consumed.


From
gmofree-europe.org come these findings:

Since approving the MON810 in 1998 there have been a host of studies that have shown alarming results

for example:

  • A study by Swiss researchers found fewer flying insects in Bt maize fields. Flying insects are important food sources for insect-eating birds and bats.2
  • A study published in 2003 found that earthworms feeding on Bt maize litter showed a weight loss compared to a weight gain in earthworms feeding on nonGM maize. Earthworms are extremely important for nutrient cycling in soils.3
  • A study in Switzerland found that the Bt toxin could still be detected in soil the following year after the Bt maize was harvested.4

In fairness to Monsanto, I don’t think it is only African agriculture they wish to colonize and control. I think it is the whole world. But the complicity of governments promoting the use of these seeds needs to be checked. Kenya’s entire maize crop is at risk, and may already be contaminated. The farmer’s words are most worrisome Initially, we were given the suspect seeds as donations by politicians and we planted them. But when we harvested, the maize started rotting almost immediately” and that: She laments that she finds it impossible to replant the same maize. This sounds like they may be using terminator seeds. The plants are genetically engineered so that the seeds are sterile, forcing the farmers to buy new seed each year, rather than save and plant seeds from the previous crop. Populations are exposed to famine just because they may not have money to buy new seeds. Lives are dependent on the seed vendor. The vendor, or government sponsor, can trap the farmers in a cycle of debt, pricing seeds so that the farmers are forced to borrow each year in order to plant, and never escape debt.

GM, genetically modified, seeds can cross pollinate and contaminate non GM crops. Supposedly to prevent this, Monsanto has developed seeds that are sterile. Unfortunately they can still cross pollinate. The resulting seeds can’t grow, which is an additional contamination. The seeds that have been genetically modified not to grow are called terminator seeds.

In the past I have been skeptical of the people crying about GM foods. I have wondered if some of the fear was more superstition than science. The more I read, the more I realize there are serious reasons to be wary and skeptical of GM food. Even contained experiments have cross polinated outside of their contained zones. The west needs to do its research and experimentation at home. And it needs to provide some conclusive evidence of safety IF the seeds are safe.

One friend says that “I’m sorry” is the white man’s national anthem. He cuts off your brother’s head and then says “Oh, I’m sorry”, and you are supposed to take it.

It looks like the US is trying to colonize Africa militarily with AFRICOM, and colonize it agriculturally as well, with GM seeds and biofuel plantations. While this is not necessarily about race, there is a racial component. “I’m sorry” later on will not compensate for the suffering and destruction caused by these hugely mistaken approaches to the continent.

As another friend of mine used to say: Don’t be sorry, be careful.