Just like the shoddy experiment of GMO golden rice, big biotech, along with its friendly funders, is now going to develop a GMO banana. The genetically modified bananas are meant to take on malnutrition in the developing world, namely Africa, one of the targets of the GMO industry and Gates’ vaccine programs.
Golden rice was developed to be a rich source of vitamin A, offered as a ‘cure’ to the third world for deficiency. The Rockefellers have withdrawn their original funding for this project because it turns out you’d have to eat about twelve bowls of the stuff to get the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A.
What was really behind the development of GMO rice was an intent to patent one of the largest agricultural crops on the planet. Bill Gates came along to promote the monoculture, intending to reap benefits from the patent on the seed. He had no intention of stopping starvation or malnutrition. A simple vitamin could do that.
Now, enter Bill Gates again, with big plans for a vitamin-A packed banana to ‘stop starvation in Africa’ and other third world countries. These ‘super’ bananas would supposedly be full of beta-carotene, which our bodies use to produce Vitamin A. While world health experts estimate that 650,000-700,000 children die annually from a lack of vitamin A in their diets, GMO super-bananas are not the solution.
Human trials on the GMO banana are already scheduled in the US. The Queensland University of Technology project has been in the works since 2005, and now Professor James Dale says that the project to create GMO bananas– backed by close to $10 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — ‘is set to be one of the most significant biofortification projects seeking to improve vitamin deficiencies rampant in East African countries’. Bananas are also a staple food of many East African countries.
Field trials in Uganda have already been conducted as well, implementing ‘hundreds of different permutations’ to develop the GMO super banana.
As usual, the biotech industry leaps into production without really making sure its product is safe. Monocultures of bananas are already causing the spread of pests and disease, before the introduction of a GM banana. Massive doses of fungicide are needed to grow bananas in many parts of the world, and true to the business model of biotech, the GM strain will likely require even more toxic chemicals to grow successfully.
These bananas are crossed with a gene from sweet peppers that confers resistance to Xanthomonas, a pathogen which currently ravages many banana crops.
There is no evidence that these GM bananas will be safe. In October, 93 international scientists agreed there was a lack of empirical and scientific evidence to support false claims made by the biotech industry about a “consensus” on GMO safety. These scientists argued that more independent research is needed, as existing studies which say that GMOs are safe are overwhelmingly funded and supported by biotech companies. And in this case, yet again, by Bill Gates, the biotech King himself.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.