It looks like the pro-GMO propaganda machine has been at work again after a new study published in Plos ONE says that children will die because of the government’s slow approval of GM crops.
In the study, a group of researchers calculated the effects that the delays could cause on the population of five countries in Africa. They used a calculation model that looks at the economic benefits for consumers and producers as well as the advantages of reduced malnutrition in subsistence farm households.
According to their calculations, had Kenya adopted GE corn back in 2006, somewhere between 440 and 4,000 lives could have been saved. If Uganda had seized its opportunity to introduce a type of banana that is resistant to the black sigatoka in 2007, they believe that between 500 and 5,500 lives could have been saved during the last ten years.
It would be interesting to see a similar calculation of how many people would have died had these countries introduced those crops as planned. How many new cases of cancer would there be? How many butterflies, honeybees and livestock would have died? What condition would the soil and water be in now?
Let’s not forget what happened in India, where more than 290,000 cotton farmers have killed themselves since the introduction of GM cotton there. The high price of the GM seeds placed many of these farmers into cycles of debt they couldn’t break free from, with fresh seeds needing to be purchased each year and replanting not a possibility. Here’s a calculation those in charge of approving those Bt crops in Africa might want to consider: One Indian farmer kills himself every 30 minutes because of the devastation caused by GM crops.
Overall, the researchers believe that a year-long delay in approving the Bt cowpea in Nigeria could end up costing the country anywhere from $33 million to $46 million along with as many as 3,000 lives.
Their estimates come as authorities mull the approval of Bt cowpea in Niger, Nigeria and Benin. It was intended to be introduced this year, but approvals are still pending. They say this delay could be particularly harmful to Nigeria, where malnourishment is rampant. One of the study’s authors, Justus Wesseler, even goes so far as to say that these approvals could be important for all of Europe because it would reduce migration.
Claims attracting skepticism
Those who are familiar with the tactics used by GMO firms like Monsanto can’t be blamed for wondering exactly who inspired these researchers to make these calculations and what might have motivated Plos ONE to publish it. We know their reach is far and wide, and the documents that have been released during cancer litigation cases involving Monsanto right now show a company that will stop at nothing to ensure its products get plenty of positive publicity.
Their actions include smearing scientists and writers who criticize their products, paying off editors to retract solid studies showing their dangers, and even hiring people to attack any negative mention of their products on social media and counter it with fake science. This means that whether the researchers’ motivations in this particular “study” are pure or not, it’s hard for many people not to take it with a grain of salt.