By Francis Mutambuka
Our Parliament is in the process of making law that will govern the production and use of Genetically modified seeds /foods (GMOs) in Uganda.
As a concerned Citizen I wish to share this information with our law makers so that it can help them while deliberating on this law also for any concerned Ugandan citizen that wants to know more about the dangers of GMOs.
As a researcher I have read extensively about these crops and foods and I have found out that GMOs means living things whose DNA has been altered, often with the addition of a gene from a distant species, to produce a desired trait and have the following advantages and ills attributed to them as per different researches:
Stronger Crops (resistance to frost, floods, droughts, weeds, and insects, as well as some infections)
Higher Yields (allowing you to feed more people)
Genetically modifying foods present a diversity risk. Your crops become identical, and as such, become exposed to the same types of problems. A single disease could destroy everything.
There is also evidence that has shown GMOs contribute to out of control super weeds, and super bugs. Since only bugs and weeds that can push through the GMOs design, they survive, and breed based on this new skill. Your crops are now useless, and you need another GMO to give you something new.
GMO's can also destroy bee and butterfly populations which are needed for pollination.
They can create cross-pollination between indigenous foods and GMO crops, exposing you to illegal activity, since you only purchased a certain amount, you are only allowed to grow that much. If you accidentally grow GMOs that you didn't pay for, you can be sued.
The regulation of GMOs is very poor, and can leave you exposed to dependency issues, legal issues, financial issues, and long term diversity issues.
GMOs distract for better, environmentally friendly alternatives, for purposes of profit.
GMOs make you dependent on those who hold the patents and those who sell you the seeds. They are not sustainable, and in the long run, hence, will create more problems than they solve.
They have caused cancer in rats and human beings.
They have caused a rise in childhood allergies
They have caused genetic contamination and over use of pesticides
For example in Hawaii Island County extensive discussion was held on their ban in may 2013 and after extensive consultations to all stake holders a law was unanimously passed that they should not be allowed in Hawaii county because of the dangers they posed to local seeds and the population at large.
“A study reporting that a diet of G.M.O. corn caused tumors in rats was done in Hawaii Island” hence it can be dangerous too to human beings. This study was part of other study research conducted in order to prove that they should not be allowed in the county.
I know that this law will not be easy to pass as most seed biotechnology companies have already penetrated our country and with their money trying to make sure that the law is passed in their favour.
There is need for our legislators and scientists to always correctly assess the health and an environmental risk of this new technology and need to act very fast before it is too late.
There’s a saying, “If you control the seed, you control the food; if you control the food, you control the people”
Fellow loving Ugandans there is need to resist the agitators of G.M.O.s before they take control of our stake in agriculture by leading to extinction of locally produced seeds. In some states in America food stores have notices “No G.M.O.s Sold Here” what does it mean they are harmful?
During my research I found out a report, in an obscure Russian journal, about harmsters which lost the ability to reproduce after three generations as a result of a diet of genetically modified soybeans; the question now stands, are we safe with G.M.Os?
Another research by French researcher found out one of International GMOs company’s corn, modified with a gene from bacteria to tolerate an herbicide made rats develop more tumors and died earlier than their counterpart in control group.
What does this research mean that they related to the cause of cancer?
In the United States for example, bills have been proposed and are yet to be passed in some 20 states to require “G.M.O.” labels on foods with ingredients made from genetically engineered crops (about three-quarters of processed foods now have such ingredients, mostly corn syrup, corn oil and soy meal and sugar).
Whole Foods has pledged that by 2018 it will replace some foods containing genetically modified ingredients and label others; signs in Trader Joe’s proclaim, “No G.M.O.s Sold Here.”
General Mills announced last Month may 2014 that it would stop using genetically modified ingredients in its Cheerios.
It has been agreed with several scientists that there is good reason to suspect that International companies promoting GMOs would place profit above public safety and that more healthful food should be grown more sustainably.
“These fruits and vegetables are not natural” they should not be promoted here in Uganda
In conclusion these organisms are bad for human health, the Uganda ecosystem and eco-conscious business and should not be allowed to be introduced here in our country.
For an alternative solution, Interested readers can search on website for literature on John Jeavons. He is an agricultural expert, and has devised natural techniques to grow more food with less space, no pesticides, and no herbicides, while maintaining the lands and preventing soil exhaustion.
His techniques are less costly, keep you independent, and allow a long-term, sustainable agricultural growth for people. I highly recommend this solution instead of using genetically modified foods.
The writer is a social researcher and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org