"Invoking ""food Imperialism"" "

Ever heard of a phrase "food imperialism?" Opponents of modern crop genetic engineering regularly use it to discredit genetically modified (GM) foods, especially in developing countries. Since virtually all agri-biotech companies are U.S.-based, they reckon that they promote the America’s dream of colonizing the global food supply.

This argument resonates well with those xenophobic enough toward anything U.S. Yes, we get to hate GM foods not out of scientifically proven safety concerns, but because they merely originate from mighty U.S. We allow activist groups to pander to us that GM crops threaten the environment and biodiversity, without demanding evidence to that effect.

Out of fear – it’s misplaced - we demand that our own homegrown scientists be left alone to develop indigenous solutions to our food woes. This is usually music to those who least appreciate the potential benefits of modern agricultural technologies such as crop genetic engineering.

Well, there’s nothing wrong with scientists developing homegrown solutions to their countries’ food problems. Who wouldn’t love such patriotic scientists? Such efforts, however, must not be mutually exclusive to scientific developments in other parts of the world. We’re in a global village.

Personally, I don’t subscribe to zoning scientific research. Research is research irrespective of its geographical location. If research into biotech agriculture in a U.S. lab results in more nutritious, drought resistant and high yielding food crops that can be used in Africa, Asia, Europe or Latin America, well and good.

I see no justification, for instance, to discredit genetically modified (GM) crops just because they emanate from the U.S or Canada. How excited I am to learn that scientists from South Africa have developed maize streak virus resistant transgenic maize! For a long time anti-GMOs activists have argued that the U.S. wants to hoist GM foods on unwilling Africans. Now we have our own GMO product. Will we fete or condemn it?

This is an indigenous scientific breakthrough. It’s what, I rightly guess, proponents and opponents of GMOs have been waiting for. I anticipate it will receive unequivocal endorsement. It’s INDIGENOUS.

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About The Author, James Wachai
James Wachai is a communication expert, specializing in agricultural issues, and also authors GMO Africa Blog. On the web at http://www.gmoafrica.org/