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Activists in Uganda oppose GMO bananas

GMO bananas are resistant to black sigatoka affecting these banana leaves

GMO bananas are resistant to black sigatoka affecting these banana leaves. Credit: VOA

GMO bananas are resistant to diseases decimating banana crops in Uganda, where it is a major food. The real problem with GMO crops is restrictions put on them by the vendor, who require repurchasing the seeds for each planting. Poorer farmers may not be able to afford the seeds.

These particular GMO bananas have been developed publicly and have no patent restrictions. However, once GMO crops are introduced to Uganda, other seeds may well be patented.

It seems to me the problem is the onerous restrictions put on GMO crops, not that they are GMO.

  • DJ

    One huge problem with GMO crops is the total lack of containment. Once GMO pollen is introduced to an area, it is logical that all plantings of that crop are soon contaminated with GMOs. That means organic farming becomes impossible. Take, for example, alfalfa. One farmer south of us planted a GMO strain two years ago. With the prevailing winds, we can have no assurance that ANY alfalfa crop in the valley is now GMO-free. The same is true of corn. A USDA inspector recently commented that even organic corn in this country is almost certainly contaminated with GMOs. recently, GMOs were discovered in wheat in Oregon, presumably released from a test planting years ago – they are still in the food chain.

    I realize that our government, whom I trust implicitly, assures me that there are no health risks associated with GMOs. (They said the same about thalidomide back in the 50s, and also nuclear testing, and of course they were right.) The problem here is choice. We are already at a point where we cannot choose to live GMO free, unless we completely avoid all crops that have genetically-engineered strains: corn, soy, wheat, squash, potatoes, apples, papaya, and any eggs, milk, or meat from animals that eat these foods.

    We also cannot with certainty rely on our ability to export our agriculture. Japan stopped accepting Oregon wheat; Europe won’t accept many of our agricultural products. Many hay producers in my area grow for export. One GMO-positive test and that stops. One farmer may have destroyed an entire market for everyone else. Our whole approach to GMOs is incredibly irresponsible.

    • I’m much less opposed to GMOs than to the nasty way the companies mandate the seeds be used, which is very nasty indeed.

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