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Bill Gates And Monsanto Team Up To Fight World Hunger

In his annual letter for 2012, Bill Gates announced that the Gates Foundation intends to combat world hunger by investing in genetically modified agriculture.

Two bowls full of uncooked rice.  The rice in the top bowl is bright yellow in color.  The rice in the bottom bowl is standard white rice.

Photo: IRRI Images (Flickr)

Golden Rice (top) has been genetically modified to be high in beta-carotene. Developers hope that it will reduce rates of blindness caused by Vitamin A deficiency in south-east Asia.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wants to feed the world and thinks GMOs — Genetically Modified Organisms — are the way to do it.

Critics are voicing skepticism about the motives behind this recent announcement, however. In 2010, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation bought 500,000 shares of Monsanto, a leading producer of GMOs, worth a total of $23 billion.

A New “Green Revolution”

Bill Gates recently released his annual letter for 2012, which outlines the foundation’s goals for the coming year.

The promise of the world’s agricultural future, Gates says, can be modeled on our past: the “Green Revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s, wherein engineered crops for wheat, corn, and rice helped farmers in poor nations “vastly improve their yields.”

He also stresses the importance of developing crop strains that can withstand common blights, like wheat resistant to stem rust fungus (Ug99) in the horn of Africa, and rice that can withstand increased flooding caused by global warming in Bangladesh and India.

This follows a similar announcement made by the foundation a year ago.

A Golden Promise?

In 2011, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $20 million to the development of “Golden Rice,” a genetically-modified rice strain high in beta-carotene.

Monsanto is a major patent-holder for the technology required to produce Golden Rice.

But Golden Rice, which first appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 2000, still hasn’t been distributed to farmers, nor has any announcement been made about when distribution will be ready to begin.

Keep Eating Your Veggies

Dr. Vandana Shiva, environmental activist, has campaigned actively against the use of Golden Rice and other GMOs to alleviate hunger in the third world.

The benefits of the GMOs would be outweighed by the risks associated with mono-crop farming, she says. The farmers would also have to place themselves at the mercy of the genetically-modified seeds’ patent-holders.

Additionally, Greenpeace points out that no single GMO crop will alleviate the need for a balanced diet.

“Why go to the problem of producing golden rice when you still have to eat vegetables anyway?” asked Beau Baconguis in 2003. She worked for Greenpeace tracking the use of GM products in Asia.

“Just go straight to the vegetables and eat the vegetables for your vitamin A.”

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Sarah Gordon

Sarah Gordon has been interested in food ethics since she was 15, learned about industrial slaughter, and launched into 10 years of vegetarianism. These days, she strives to be a conscientious omnivore. Now a PhD candidate in folklore, her research has caused her to spend a lot of time in the remote Canadian sub-arctic, where the lake trout (sustainably harvested) tastes amazing.

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  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    This gives me enough reason not to support Microsoft products.

  • P3

    Microsoft + Monsanto + SATAN

  • Catfish Banjo

    wow. its always a good idea to combine to evil forces!   monsanto is terrorism. bill gates is a turd.

  • http://twitter.com/HomeGrownNI Margaret White

    Got a gut feeling on this one.

  • MandaLuLA

    Sorry Bill and Melinda ~ I don’t think this is the answer. WHOLE ORGANIC Nourishing foods is what starving people need.  GMOS are shown to devastate the earth and the human body hmmm lets see why do you think the EU INDIA and countless other countries have banned these POISONS. GMO ‘s R NOT GOOD. GE is not food!  Gates owns a large amount of stock in monsanto and that’s why he is leading this crusade of LIES.  Over 250,000 farmers in INDia have killed themselves because they became slaves to Monsanto ~ the plants needed 13x more pesticides than non GMO plants ~ HEY isn’t this the reason they are so good cause they have pesticides built in WRONG FAILURE ABORT if you care about yourself and the earth and our future here YOU as a consumer will make better choices with your dollar and CHOOSE GMO FREE ~ ALso please sign and share this petition to make GMOS labelled in the US by March 27th Knowledge is power http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/just-label-it-gmo-label-comments-to-fda-near-1-million-add-your-voice-by-march-27/

  • http://www.rxgs.com/ Rx

    I guess this just proves that the regulations we ONCE had on businesses
    and companies becoming too large was in fact a REALLY good thing.
    Deregulation clearly is and will be the plight of humankind. How
    unfortunate for the planet and for us. I would love to see regulations
    put back into effect and enforced, we, the average people, were much
    better off when we had them.
    Weird how a man, Gates, who knows
    absolutely nothing about plants, gardening, Ag, genetics, biology, etc,
    can have so much control over every living thing.

  • BethAnne

    If the Gates Foundation derives some of it funds that can then be contributed “for humanitarian purposes” from the very company that is supposed to be “doing good” by promoting GM food crops, then they are in a conflict of interest situation and should find somewhere else to do good aside from the fact that scientists from all over the world have accumulated actual evidence of the harm that GM food does to animals. The reason there are no human studies is that the political influence of Monsanto has told the “powers that be” that they are not substantially different from nonGM food and to please not require any special testing.  Imagine a company with that much power (money)!  To it’s shame, the Obama administration put a former Monsanto higher up as an AG dept. higher up to monitor food safety (.In case you needed a joke today.).  I’m going to contact the Gates Foundation to express my deep disapproval of their “sellout” to Monsanto and ask that they divest their Monsanto holdings.

  • http://www.australianworkforce.com.au/ Australian Workforce

    Interesting post.Any update coming soon?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dusan.trusnovec Dušan Trušnovec

    Well…..they said ( at least here in my country – Slovenija ) “Smeh je pol zdravja ….laugh is half of the health”……So we can be really thanxful to Gate’s , course he &Co. gave us, through this kind of claims a lot of reason for laugh!…….Thank you Bill, you gave me already half of my health!! :-) )

  • KishinD

    Manda… they know all this.
    This isn’t a campaign to help the world’s hungry.
    This is a malicious campaign against ordinary people, wrapped up in a humanitarian guise.

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