Monsanto has been trying to take over Africa’s cotton for decades with their patented, genetically modified (GM) seed. Not without irony, Burkina Faso is just one of the African countries that has been wary of any of Monsanto’s GM seed, adding to the credo, ‘better off dead, than GM fed,’ when it came to accepting U.S. food aid that was primarily genetically altered. Africa’s biggest cotton grower in Burkina Faso is now phasing out Monsanto’s GM cotton and returning to indigenous varieties by 2018, due to concerns of cross-contamination of local crops and the less-than-stellar performance of Monsanto’s Bt variety.
Burkina Faso’s cotton association is seeking 48.3 billion CFA francs ($83.91 million) in compensation from U.S. seed company Monsanto after it said genetically modified cotton led to a drop in quality, association members said on Monday.
Cotton is the second-biggest source of revenue for the impoverished West African country after gold.
For the second time in nearly two years, the government of the West African nation of Burkina Faso was taken over by a military coup early Thursday morning. The transitional government that had been established by the military, following the overthrow of President Blaise Compaoré in 2014, has been abolished. However, the perpetrators of this coup aren’t ordinary soldiers. They are Compaore’s former presidential guard, who act independently of the regular military.
– Burkina Faso army announces dissolution of govt, parliament (RT, Oct 31, 2014):
Burkina Faso’s army has announced the dissolution of the country’s National Assembly and the establishment of a new transitional governing body after nearly two days of opposition protests outside government buildings.
“A transitional body will be put in place in consultation with all parties. A return to the constitutional order is expected in no more than 12 months,” General Honore Traore told a news conference on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, a state of emergency was declared in the capital, Ouagadougou.
Wastewater is most commonly used to produce vegetables and cereals (especially rice), according to this and other IWMI reports, raising concerns about health risks for consumers, particularly of vegetables that are consumed uncooked.
As developing countries confront the first global food crisis since the 1970s as well as unprecedented water scarcity, a new 53-city survey conducted by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) indicates that most of those studied (80 percent) are using untreated or partially treated wastewater for agriculture.
In over 70 percent of the cities studied, more than half of urban agricultural land is irrigated with wastewater that is either raw or diluted in streams.
Scientists and international organizations focused on controlling wheat stem rust have said 90 percent of world wheat lines are susceptible to Ug99. The situation is particularly critical in light of the existing worldwide wheat shortage.
Word of the new wheat disease comes amid global shortages of rice and wheat resulting from typhoon-related flooding in Java, Bangladesh, and India and from agricultural pests and diseases in Vietnam. Last year Australia suffered its second consecutive year of severe drought and a near complete crop failure, heavy rains reduced production in Europe, Argentina suffered heavy frost, and Canada and the U.S. both produced low yields.
Food riots have broken out in Egypt, Haiti and several African states, including Mauritania, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Senegal in recent months.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Source: World Tribune
There is a time for food, and a time for ethical appraisals. This was the case even before Bertolt Brecht gave life to that expression in Die Driegroschen Oper. The time for a reasoned, coherent understanding for the growing food crisis is not just overdue, but seemingly past. Robert Zoellick of the World Bank, an organization often dedicated to flouting, rather than achieving its claimed goal of poverty reduction, stated the problem in Davos in January this year. ‘Hunger and malnutrition are the forgotten Millennium Development Goal.’
Global food prices have gone through the roof, terrifying the 3 billion or so people who live off less than $2 a day. This should terrify everybody else. In November, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization reported that food prices had suffered a 18 percent inflation in China, 13 percent in Indonesia and Pakistan, and 10 percent or more in Latin America, Russia and India. The devil in the detail is even more distressing: a doubling in the price of wheat, a twenty percent increase in the price of rice, an increase by half in maize prices.