by Dr. Mercola
March 04, 2012
- Microsoft founder,
aims to end world hunger by growing more genetically
engineered food crops - a philanthropic plan that may be
gullible at best, and destructive at worst, both to the
environment and humanity
Monsanto and other biotech
companies have collaborated with the Gates Foundation via
the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to
promote the use of genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa
- Gates supports the use of
Golden Rice, which has been genetically modified to produce
beta-carotene that your body can convert to vitamin A. It’s
promoted as a way to alleviate vitamin A deficiency, which
is common in developing countries. However, beta carotene is
fat soluble, and many third-world inhabitants eat a very
low-fat diet, which would seriously impede or block the
- According to one study, a
woman would have to consume 16 pounds of Golden Rice per day
to get the recommended amount of vitamin A; a child would
have to eat 12 pounds, raising serious doubts about the
usefulness of this invention
Above, ABC's "Nightline," Bill Weir talks with Microsoft founder
about his charitable endeavors.
Gates' latest plan is to try to end world hunger by growing more genetically
modified (GM) crops.
He's already invested $27 million into
Monsanto Company - leading some
countries to reject his charity due to the high risks, such as:
We already know how deeply entrenched the U.S. government has become with
For a visual illustration of their 'revolving-door-relationship' with the
governmental regulatory agencies, see the graph toward the bottom of this
It is this type of government infiltration that allowed genetically
engineered alfalfa to be approved without any restrictions at all, despite
the protests of the organic community and public comments from a quarter of
a million concerned citizens.
In Bill Gates, Monsanto also has one of the wealthiest and most influential
"philanthropists" supporting their agenda and spreading misleading
propaganda about their products.
In recent years, it has become disappointingly clear that Gates may be
leading the pack as one of the most destructive "do-gooders" on the
planet... His views on what is required to make a difference in poverty- and
disease-stricken third world nations are short-sighted and misinformed at
A recent article in the Seattle Times 1 joins me in arguing that Bill
Gates' support of
genetically modified (GM) crops as a solution for world
hunger is based on unsound science.
A team of 900 scientists funded by the
World Bank and United Nations, investigated the matter over the course of
three years, and determined that the use of GM crops is simply NOT a
meaningful solution to the complex situation of world hunger.
Instead, the scientists suggested that "agro-ecological" methods would
provide the most viable means to ensure global food security, including the
use of traditional seed varieties and local farming practices already
adapted to the local ecology.
"Philanthropy is the Enemy of Justice"
In a recent article with the same headline, "Philanthropy is the Enemy of
Justice", Robert Newman criticizes 2 the choice of Bill Gates as the
designated "voice" of the world's poor at the World Economic Forum, held in
"Am I saying that philanthropy has never done good? No, it has achieved many
wonderful things... But beware the havoc that power without oversight and
democratic control can wreak," Newman writes.
"The biotech agriculture that Lord Sainsbury was unable to push through
democratically he can now implement unilaterally, through his Gatsby
Foundation. We are told that Gatsby's biotech project aims to provide food
security for the global south.
But if you listen to southern groups such as
the Karnataka State Farmers of India, food security is precisely the reason
they campaign against GM, because biotech crops are monocrops which are more
vulnerable to disease and so need lashings of petrochemical pesticides,
insecticides and fungicides - none of them cheap - and whose ruinous costs
will rise with the price of oil, bankrupting small family farms first.
diseases mutate, meanwhile, and all the chemical inputs in the world can't
stop disease wiping out whole harvests of genetically engineered single
Both the Gatsby and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundations are keen to get
deeper into agriculture, especially in Africa. But top-down nostrums for the
rural poor don't end well."
Donating patented seeds, which takes away the farmers' sovereignty,
is not the way to save the third-world poor.
As reported by Netline last
year,3 Monsanto and other biotech companies have collaborated with the Gates
Foundation via the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to
promote the use of genetically modified (GM) crops in Africa.
Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to AGRA, and in 2006
Robert Horsch was hired for the AGRA project. Horsch was a Monsanto
executive for 25 years. In a nutshell, the project may be sold under the
banner of altruism and 'sustainability', but in reality it's anything but.
It's just a multi-billion dollar enterprise to transform Africa into a
Conflicts of Interest Abound
Gates' philanthropic methods came under scrutiny back in August 2010, when
it was discovered that The Gates Foundation had purchased 500,000 shares of
Monsanto stock; dramatically increasing its previous holdings - and hence
its financial conflicts of interest - in the biotech firm.
commented on the ties stating:4
"The Foundation's direct investment in Monsanto is problematic on two
primary levels," said Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor
Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering.
"First, Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and
well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling
environmental track record. The strong connections to Monsanto cast serious
doubt on the Foundation's heavy funding of agricultural development in
Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among
Second, this investment represents an enormous conflict
It would be naive to think that all these philanthropic collaborations are
designed to solve any problem besides how to help Monsanto monopolize the
world's food supply with expensive patented GM seeds, and the herbicides to
go with them.
In the interview above, Gates claims the seeds would be donated to the
impoverished areas in question.
But seriously, how long would the seeds
remain free? There's rarely such a thing as a free lunch anymore, and it
appears highly unlikely that Monsanto is poised to "feed Africa"
indefinitely... And since you cannot save Monsanto's seeds from year to
year, they will literally own the areas and the people they temporarily
donate their seeds to.
And once you own the rights to all the food grown
around the globe, you literally rule the world.
That appears to be the goal. And only sane, rational, thinking people can
stop them. It's really too bad that Gates has signed up as a lackey for "the
Dark Side," as it were, instead of using his unfathomable wealth to really
create positive, sustainable change.
It's an undisputed fact at this point that the introduction of genetically
engineered crops lead to diminished biodiversity, which is the direct
opposite of what the world needs.
Truly, in order to save the planet and
ourselves, small-scale organic and sustainable farming must not only prevail
but flourish, and GM crops do not help, but rather threaten their existence.
Seeds have always been sold and swapped freely between farmers, preserving
biodiversity, and without that basis, you cannot have food sovereignty.
with fewer farmers, "feeding the hungry with GM crops" is nothing but a pipe
Both Genetically Engineered Seeds and Herbicides Pose Risks to Environment
and Human Health
Besides the threat to the environment and to agricultural practices, GM
crops also bring a whole host of health concerns; not just from the GM
seeds, but also from the herbicide used:
world's best-selling herbicide, which is designed to be partnered with
genetically engineered "Roundup Ready" crops.
According to a shocking report,5 regulators were aware as early as 1980 that glyphosate, the active chemical ingredient of Roundup, caused birth defects
in lab animals. However, the information was not made public.
regulators misled the public about glyphosate's safety, and with the
introduction of Roundup Ready crops, the use of Roundup has skyrocketed.
According to Monsanto. NO:6
"Dr. Andres Carrasco, a lead embryologist at the University of Bueno Aires
Medical School and the Argentinean national research council, discovered
that glyphosate-based herbicides like Monsanto's Roundup formula caused
deformations in chicken embryos that resembled the kind of birth defects
which where reported in areas like La Leonesa, where big agribusinesses
depend on glyphosate to treat genetically engineered crops."
Golden Rice - a "Trojan Horse"
The idea that you can end world hunger with genetically engineered crops is
simply not very well thought through.
Last summer, I reported on The Bill
and Melinda Gates Foundation's donation of $20 million toward the
development of so-called "golden rice" - yet another untested GM crop that
risks bringing economic and ecological disaster. Golden rice has been
genetically engineered to produce beta-carotene, which your body can convert
to vitamin A.
It's been promoted as a way to alleviate vitamin A deficiency,
which is common in developing countries where people don't have regular
access to beta-carotene-rich foods, like vegetables and fruits.
However, while this sounds all well and good in theory, the reality of a
beta-carotene producing rice may not be all it's cracked up to be.
to Food Freedom:7
"Golden rice is a Trojan horse for pushing through GE-friendly biosafety
regulations under the guise of humanitarian aid.
Once in place, these
regulations open the door for the biotech industry to bring in commercial,
patented GE crops; USAID and Monsanto accomplished exactly this in Kenya
with their sweet potato project."
It may be easier to see why so many people question this kind of
philanthropy once you understand a bit more about the product itself, and
why it likely cannot ever live up to its own hype. In this case, your body
can only convert beta-carotene to vitamin A under certain conditions.
Specifically, beta-carotene is fat-soluble, which means dietary fat is
required for your body to convert it into vitamin A.
But many people in
developing countries eat very low-fat diets, as they simply do not have
access to animal foods or other fat on a regular basis. Furthermore,
malnourished people might not be able to convert beta carotene to vitamin A
efficiently, so taken as a whole, the actual usefulness of golden rice is
The soundness of the idea becomes even more questionable when you consider
the unrealistic amounts of rice you'd have to consume each day to obtain the
recommended amount of vitamin A.
As stated in a golden rice case study from
Iowa State University: 8
"Even if golden rice is successfully
introduced… a woman would need to eat 16 lbs. of cooked rice every day
in order to get sufficient Vitamin A, if golden rice were her only
source of the nutrient. A child would need 12 lbs."
What people in the developing world need in order to receive ample dietary
vitamin A is access to a diverse range of nutritious foods - including
animal products like eggs, cheese and meat and vegetables such as dark leafy
greens and sweet potatoes.
This is the type of diet that is attained from biodiverse farming - the opposite of what will occur if GM crops like
golden rice get planted on a large scale.
Does Monsanto "Own" the U.S. Government?
Is sure seems like it at times.
Genetically engineered seeds are now
in Hungary, as they are in several other European countries, such as Germany
and Ireland. Peru is also following the precautionary principle, and has
even passed a law that bans genetically modified ingredients within the
for 10 years.9
In the U.S., however, the opposite to consumer protection is taking place,
with certain states actually passing legislation that protects the use of GM
seeds and allows for unabated expansion!
To date, 14 states have passed such
Michigan's Sen. Bill 777, if passed, would make that 15.
The Michigan bill would prevent anti-GMO laws and would remove,
authority local governments may have to adopt and enforce ordinances that
prohibit or regulate the labeling, sale, storage, transportation,
distribution, use, or planting of agricultural, vegetable, flower or forest
Bills like these are obviously music to Monsanto's ears, which
spends millions of dollars lobbying the U.S. government at the federal level
for favorable legislation that supports the spread of their toxic products.
In the first quarter of 2011 alone, Monsanto spent $1.4 million on lobbying
the federal government - a drop from the year before, when they spent $2.5
million during the same quarter.
If we all had several million to spend on lobbying efforts, the world would
undoubtedly be a very different place... If you aren't familiar with the
power of lobbying please view the recent 60 minutes expansion on it, which
is one of the best 60 Minute episodes I have seen in 40 years.
Not only that, but once you realize just how many of Monsanto's employees
have simply shifted into positions of power within the federal government,
it suddenly becomes easy to understand how this biotech giant has managed to
so successfully undermine common sense within the U.S. government.