In the “i” today a letter which caught my eye:
“GM crops help poor farmers
“Our experience as a charity working in Malawi has led me to question the simplistic anti-GM stance common in the rich west,
“Malawi is the world’s fourth poorest country, where over 80% are subsistence farmers. Traditional methods of growing maize, the staple crop, leave the population at the mercy of mildew, fugus, ants and termites, which destroy stored seeds.
“Introducing GM varieties has contributed to more than doubling the yields for 78 families in our scheme over the past 5 years. When I met many of them in October, they boasted of now being able to afford such luxuries as sending kids to school and repairing leaking roofs”
So I sniffed the strong scent of rat and delved:
“WarmHeartMalawi was formed in 2007 after a visit to Malawi. We became a registered charity (number 1122578) and arrange small-scale projects to help people in Malawi help themselves.”
“Helping sustainable development in Malawi through small-scale projects in education and agriculture.”
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WarmHeartMalawi, has sporadic postings
Website off net, unavailable http://www.warmheartmalawi.org.uk
Charity commission http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/search-for-a-charity/?txt=warm+heart+malawi – has accounts of around £20kpa
From Facebook, they seem a small Yorkshire school(s) based (?teachers?) connect-with-some-impoverished-African-schools type project.
The letter, above, saying “GM crops help poor farmers” did not ring true as I read it and clearly the experience is tiny although I could imagine some financial help could so easily have been drawn down from a Monsanto coordinated source. Sadly no details of funding sources in the accounts. There’s no way GM cropping can “help sustainable development” in Malawi or any other country in fact. My disingenuousness sensor is ringing out loud every time I look at the letter, despite the small size of the project.
He might have not raised my hackles had he not talked of “the simplistic anti-GM stance common in the rich west”. He obviously has an agenda. After the article of the previous day (June 3rd) in “i”, maybe so have they.
And, finally, the statement “introducing GM varieties has contributed to more than doubling [yields]”. If coupled with new tooling, techniques, fertilisers, pesticides and project management then how can one sort out which did what? Sustainable means “Things will go on like this when you go home” Clearly this is not such a system whereas local seed, local composting/fertilisers and good management with minimal, if any, pesticide use, is wholly sustainable. That’s what they need.