×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Starving Nation Turns Down Bioengineered Corn

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the poison-pill dept.

News 868

The Washington Post has a story about Zimbabwe turning down shipments of genetically engineered corn, even though the country is experiencing a severe drought and starvation. Zimbabwe is afraid some of the corn will end up planted instead of eaten -- and growing patented corn is a no-no, of course! If the corn is planted even once, it may contaminate all future crops grown in those fields or any fields nearby, leading to huge lawsuits - and then the fields are contaminated, exacerbating the food shortage. So, starve or be bankrupted, and Zimbabwe appears to be choosing, "starve". Tons of ethical issues here, which have hardly been touched upon in the U.S. press.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

868 comments

GNU & GPL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995393)

Well that just goes to show what happens when you use the GNU (Gayness Not Unusual) and the GPL (Gayness Probably Likely)...

I never made that mistake twice!

Haven't they heard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995396)

Simple carbs like corn turn straight into sugar! Just say no to these evil carbs! Lowcarb for life!

Good, die then (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995398)

Ignorant retarded dummies.......

Lunix sux too.

are you sure that... (1)

qubit64 (233602) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995403)

is it the patent they care about? or some sort of anti-gm food policy?

Re:are you sure that... (1)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995448)

is it the patent they care about? or some sort of anti-gm food policy?

Yeah, but being anti-gm wouldn't make a good Slashdot headline.

There are several issues. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995494)

The first issue is simple: they don't want to become HUMAN GUINEA PIGS for Monsanto and their ilk. GE corn has NOT been proven to be "safe". Quite the contrary--there is evidence that it causes sterility in pigs. Pigs are pretty "close" genetically to humans, so think hard on this.

Second, exactly what KIND of GE corn is being offered? If this is Monsanto, you can bet that these are "terminator" seeds--seeds that have been genetically engineered to EXPIRE after a season. It doesn't take a Ph.D to imagine what would happen if these monstrosities cross-pollinate.

Given the choice, I would choose "starve" myself.

Ideology and the truth. (5, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995510)

Ideological distortion that benefits the left: "greed multinational corporations with their patents are causing African children to starve.

Ideological distortion that benefits the right: "ignorant 3rd world government listens to tree-hugging granola crunchers and selfishly lets its own people starve."

Ugly, complex reality: if Zimbabwe's own corn crop were adulterated with GM corn, they could lose their primary market for food exports, Europe, and then could end up suffering more down the line; if they get their local production back on track, the survivors would probably better off not having GM corn in the fields. I have always felt the complexity trumps ideology, and this is a classic instance of it.

I think I speak for many when I say... (-1, Troll)

ALoverOfPeace (586114) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995413)

So let them fucking starve.

Re:I think I speak for many when I say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995507)

UserName and comment do not match. Go shoot yourself.

USA is wrong (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995415)

There's no story here. USA is wrong. USA is always wrong. When will all USA citizens die so the world will not have these problems any more?

Future News Flash (0, Redundant)

00Monkey (264977) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995419)

"This just in... citizens of Zimbabwe have eaten their own limbs in an attempt to save themselves from the ever dooming bankruptsy"

Stop pushing GE on other countries (2, Flamebait)

yuri benjamin (222127) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995422)

I really wish US multinationals would stop pushing GE onto other countries.
If they wanted to be nice they could have given normal corn.

Re:Stop pushing GE on other countries (0, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995480)

I really wish US multinationals would stop pushing GE onto other countries.

How about if other countries educate their citizens so that they don't they don't get whipped in a frenzy of fear by idiot "scientists" who make their living by scaring ignorant people.

doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995499)

Considering that a large proportion of their population is facing starvation, I doubt education is #1 on their list of priorities. Besides which, I don't think there's a country on Earth which has even almost reached a consensus on GM foods.

Re:Stop pushing GE on other countries (1)

_UnderTow_ (86073) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995502)

Not sure if you read the article, but here a good quote:

"Indeed, very little nonengineered corn is segregated from high-tech varieties during the U.S. harvest, and that portion sells at a premium to organic food processors and others."

I like the way ppl see conspiracy everywhere. Are you wearing your tinfoil hat so the CIA can't read your mind?

Re:Stop pushing GE on other countries (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995524)

Jeez... we've got to have SOMEONE to test our FrankenCorn on... better that some Zimbabwean kid, who's going to starve to death anyway, be the one to croak from some horrible mistake than an honest, God-fearing American with a purpose and a destiny.

Re:Stop pushing GE on other countries (2, Informative)

RhettLivingston (544140) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995539)

Actually, normal corn is nearly non-existent in the US now and is rapidly being contaminated across all of North America. Pollen from the genetic crops is spreading far and wide.

I liken some of Zimbabwe's worries to someone patenting a virus that infects all programs worldwide and then claiming rights to the infected programs. The bio industry has already gone after farmers whose crop was unintentionally cross-pollinated claiming that they did it on purpose. There are valid points in Zimbabwe's concerns.

Re:Stop pushing GE on other countries (0, Flamebait)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995574)

You mean like the GPL?

So Gates=Mugabe?

Or have I go my analogies crossed again?

Re:Stop pushing GE on other countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995562)

Decided to plug this interesting, but mostly OT link about growing food: Seed balls [seedballs.com]

GE corn? Why the fuss? (5, Insightful)

hlh_nospam (178327) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995578)

There isn't any other kind. Corn as we know it today did not exist at all until it was selectively bred for several dozen generations. Prior to about 7000 years ago, there was no such grain.

I realize, of course, that GE as used here means "trans-species", which is just a newer form of selective breeding.

Corn is good for making farm animals gain weight very quickly. Works on people, too. In a way, the farm animals are lucky, because they are killed and eaten before they have a chance to develop heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and other maladies caused by excess carbohydrate consumption (especially grains, which were not parts of the human diet prior to about 7000 years ago).

Also not fertile... (2)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995423)

One other point regarding many patented "wheat products" - as a seed it is effectively infertile... any crop from it used as seed will never germinate, and if that cross-fertilises with an exising native strain, blammo!

Re:Also not fertile... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995534)

One other point regarding many patented "wheat products" - as a seed it is effectively infertile... any crop from it used as seed will never germinate, and if that cross-fertilises with an exising native strain, blammo!

Yeah! "Blammo", that wheat won't grow, so the problem solves itself with the only problem being a few grains of the "native" wheat won't be able to germinate. Big deal.

The IP is not the reason.. (3, Insightful)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995424)

It's a concern, but not the reason. RTFA.

What the Zimbabwean government says they are afraid of is losing export business to Europe, which does not allow BE food. That, and the president is stupidly independant.

The fact that everyone involved on the USA side says the IP concerns are stupid doesn't stop Slashdot's journalism.

Some people have things against genetically altered food. For a lot of reasons other than the patents associated with them.

The real issue is much more broad... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995503)

then BE foods, or GE food, or IP laws or anything else. The ol dictator in charge over there is useing this for his own ends, nothing more.

It has been discussed further down in the comments of this section. While his idea is insightful, it's not the full reason.

Re:The real issue is much more broad... (2)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995576)

It always is more broad, but losing their export business is more important than current food supply.

Feed a man a fish type argument. That was mostly the point I was making.

Re:The IP is not the reason.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995543)

They don't allow BE food? No wonder Palm bought them...

There is an alternative method (2)

quantax (12175) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995426)

If it is possible to supply third-world countries with food, but only of the genetically-altered variety, then perhaps we should genetically engineer the plants such that they cannot reproduce. This way, there is no fear of the plant spreading uncontrolably. I have no idea how difficult this would be, but it is definitely not impossible. No need to mill the corn, or handle it any differently from 'normal' corn.

Re:There is an alternative method (1, Troll)

synaptic (4599) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995455)

Or maybe we should genetically engineer the starving third-world people so they cannot reproduce.

Re:There is an alternative method (3, Insightful)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995457)

Yah, then they end up having to buy ALL their grain from the industrialised West, and end up more in debt...

Re:There is an alternative method (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995478)

dammit man!! Didn't you see Jurassic Park?!??!

Re:There is an alternative method (4, Interesting)

Local Loop (55555) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995485)

This is already being done, especially with test crops, or valuable strains. However, cross-pollenization is still a problem - normal crops can get tainted with engineered genes just by being planted nearby.

What you call corn... (4, Insightful)

hsmyers (142611) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995429)

Given the extreme rairity of any form of non-modified corn strains in the world, sort of makes you wonder what's going on here--or does planting only the best over 1000's of generations of crop, not count as a modification?

--hsm

Birth Control (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995432)

Why don't they send them birth control pill laden corn? That would surely accomplish more to end hunger there.

Re:Birth Control (1, Troll)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995465)

Why don't they send them birth control pill laden corn? That would surely accomplish more to end hunger there.

It would certainly end people there.

Re:Birth Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995484)

Not funny. Neither are sadist moderators funny.

it had to be said --- OLD news (1)

Alric (58756) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995434)

I don't like being the person who makes these trite complaints, but I also don't want to see Slashdot get into a habit of being days behind other sites.

Plastic had a nice article [plastic.com] about this on July 28th.

Peace.

children of the corn (1)

zaphod123 (219697) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995438)

Is it just me, or is it a touch ironic that they won't accept this because of exportation problems?

Slashdot misses the point (5, Informative)

Local Loop (55555) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995439)

As usual, slashdot editors fail to see the larger picture.

The problem here is not about patents - it's about
Europe's refusal to import genetically modified food. Europe is Zimbabwe's primary export market.
If Zimbabwe's crops were tainted, they could lose their primary source of revenue.

Furthermore, Zimbabwe is willing to accept the corn if the US will agree to mill it before shipping. The additional cost of milling is minimal, but is not covered by the aid package. Classic snafu.

Re:Slashdot misses the point (1)

Disevidence (576586) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995491)

If Zimbabwe's crops were tainted, they could lose their primary source of revenue.

Can someone explain this to me. Their people are starving, yet their worried about their loss of exports to Europe? This is not about the crops, but they seemed to be more worried about their money than their people, at least that is the view i get.

Re:Slashdot misses the point (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995555)

Can someone explain this to me. Their people are starving, yet their worried about their loss of exports to Europe? This is not about the crops, but they seemed to be more worried about their money than their people, at least that is the view i get.

Okay, suppose you're struggling to feed your family. Your salary just isn't enough. Things are getting worse. Then someone kindly offers you charity, they'll feed your family today but you'll lose your job and not be able to feed your family at all for the future. Does refusing mean that you're more worried about the money than about your family?

Re:Slashdot misses the point (1)

Disevidence (576586) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995594)

Im not suggesting they give their food away for free, rather sell it in their own internal market rather than to europe. Of course, im willing to bet that they won't get as much money selling it internally as they do externally, so thats another major point of issue.

Re:Slashdot misses the point (2)

Patman (32745) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995557)

Can someone explain this to me. Their people are starving, yet their worried about their loss of exports to Europe?

If that's the only income they've got(or a big chunk of it), it would be bad to lose that.

Re:Slashdot misses the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995572)

Damn, you've got a major point. Why is Zimbabwe importing the same thing they're exporting?

Re:Slashdot misses the point (2, Funny)

CaptainStormfield (444795) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995497)

No doubt. The notion of a biotech/agribusiness corp suing some poor Zimbabwe subsistence farmer for patent infringment is comical. Can you say judgement proof?

Re:Slashdot misses the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995565)

I would hardly say the costs are minimal.
The article says that Zimbabwe refused a 10,000 mt shipment, as well as another 17,500mt shipment waiting. The article states the cost of milling at $25 per metric ton. Doing a bit of math:
$25 * (10,000 + 17,500) = $687,500

I bet you that buys a hell of a lot more corn . . .

They should ask the starving people. . . (2, Insightful)

akvalentine (560139) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995443)

Someone should as the people who are actually starving if they give a shit about patents (or even about the bioengineering).

I doubt many of them would care about either one and just take the food.

Utterly insane (2, Insightful)

tutal (512222) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995444)

I can't believe why there is such a big fuss over genetically altered corn. It does not pose any more risk to the soil than normal corn. If farmers would practice simple crop rotation, they would not need to worry about this. Also with corn prices so low right now they could import natural or genetically engineered corn from the US and Russia, both of which could feed the rest of the world.

Re:Utterly insane (1)

Disevidence (576586) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995535)

Lots of europe won't accept GE corn. Many reasons apply, including Patent Rights to companies for the food being one.

Lots of countries export to europe, including Zimbabwe. They are primarily worried about the loss of one of their markets if the crops become tainted with GE.

Its all going down the gurgler, thanks to Mugabe.

"not any more risk to the soil than normal corn" (1)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995548)

Guess what...

As of today, nobody knows.
Not even the highest genius in Bio Tech.
=> Neither don't u

and the soil is only one part of the problem. Add the patenting issue, the fact we don't know what happens to humans being after feeding for years on GE Corn, the fact that to know u have to live test (ie sell to millionw of ppl and wait to see, cause testing on human IS forbidden)...

The fact the soil is used the same is 1/100 th of the problem.

+ They are GIVEN the corn, as in starving and having no money. They accept to get the corn, but are afraid it gets planted... which is another debate here altogether.

BTW, EU + USA + CCCP (of the old time) had more than enough to feed the planet with "convensionnal" food for years.

We just don't do it because it costs less to destroy the stocks in situ than to ship them abroad.

now call me cynical...

Re:"not any more risk to the soil than normal corn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995571)

How about get your ass off AOL, and fucking learn to type.

now call me cynical...

I'd rather call you a moron for being so fucking ignorant of basic rules of grammar.

Politics of Famine (5, Interesting)

Dictator For Life (8829) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995449)

Given that Rhodesia was a net exporter of food, and at one time was the so-called "breadbasket of Africa", I think we may safely conclude that Zimbabwe's food issues are largely political in nature. Killing your farmers does not encourage agriculture, for instance.

Re:Politics of Famine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995489)

Typical stupid racist slashdot blather. If Americans hadn't stolen all our best stock into slavery we'd have rockets on the moon from Africa too mon.

Re:Politics of Famine QWZX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995580)

Yeah! They'd have rocket-powered spears flying EVERYWHERE!

The only problem is preventing them from eating each other cannibal-style once they got into orbit. Oh well, I guess we just have to make sure they don't bring a big pot.

Re:Politics of Famine (3, Insightful)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995513)

Exactly, Zimbabwe is turning down the food because they are using famine for political reasons. Generally speaking it is much more cost effective to starve your political opponents than to murder them outright.

Slashdot has an axe to grind about Genetically Engineered Food, and so we get this article.

Choosing to starve? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995452)

They are just choosing to wait for another corn offer, one which comes with a more reasonable license.

You gotta ask yourself (1, Interesting)

soapvox (573037) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995453)

Is this an opportunity for the WTO or the G8 to do something good for once and "encourage" the patent holders to forgo thier patents so we can help the under nourished? I'd like to see that happen but thats about as likely as Bill gates buying the corn rights and giving it away to the 3rd world. Gee I love this wonderful new free market economy we have that supposed to make everything fair and help the impovourished!

Re:You gotta ask yourself (1)

lewis2 (212695) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995592)

Umm, just a 411 here but Billy gives more to charity in a day than you will likely earn and spend in your entire life. This is statistically true but of course you may be waaaay above average income earner - so I could be wrong.

Another example of the patent process gone awry (1)

Aexia (517457) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995461)

If you believe Monsanto's claims that they'll "adapt" their patent enforcement policies to "local traditions", I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Re:Another example of the patent process gone awry (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995566)

If you believe Monsanto's claims that they'll "adapt" their patent enforcement policies to "local traditions", I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

No really. Since the "local traditions" in Africa involve murder at genocidal levels, I wouldn't doubt Monsanto's willingness to do just that...

Mugabe... (5, Insightful)

Heynow21 (573910) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995464)

Concerns over bio-engineered corn may be the excuse he gives in public, but in reality he is using food as leverage over his political opponents. It has been reported that he has halted shipments of food into areas that did not support him in the recent elections. It also ties into his siezures of white owned farms. Apparently he is trying to starve his country.

I can't blame them... (1)

intermodal (534361) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995466)

with all the shit industry's been known to pull, i wouldn't want engineered corn with a patent on it either. What kills me is that they could probably get away with patenting and licensing this corn despite the fact that in logical, sense-making thought, once you've sold the corn, it should be the right of the user to do what they will with the corn. i don't think you can sell corn under a license, and i'm damn sure you can't click-wrap it with an EULA. As much as I can go on about the evils of patents and EULAs, this whole debacle doesn't make any sense at all...you could chase it in legal/logical circles from here to eternity.

Figures (5, Interesting)

_UnderTow_ (86073) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995469)

the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe is the same guy that told his people that it was OK to kill white farmers and take their land. He also rigged the last election to keep himself in power. I'm not suprised that he'd ignore the starvation of his own people to show the world how 'powerful' he is.

Important message (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995470)

In the time it took you to read this message at work, your earnings could have paid for an African family to eat for a month.

Please pass this message on to as many people as possible and let the niggers starve!

Playing Devil's Advocate (3, Interesting)

Disevidence (576586) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995471)

On the subject of patented crops, only.

I find it quite disturbing that African Countries are prepared to starve their people, rather than contribute money to big overseas giants. This must speak volumes about the problems with patented crops.

Food should never come patented, as it is THE basic necessity of life. What next, patented water?

While Mugabe's regime is corrupt to the core, and the government bought this on themselves, there should be no excuse for forcing third world countries into a subservient like existence, where they have to pay multinationals for their basic food.

Get rid of patents on food. The companies deserve to be paid for advancing food technology and supply, but this isn't they way to go about.

(Disclaimer: Yes, i have read the article (it was on Fark the other day), and yes, it's only meant to be used for feeding, but that doesn't mean it will be.)

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate (2)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995550)

Don't be so gullible. It isn't about patents or about the European grain market. Those in power in Zimbabwe are using famine as a weapon of mass destruction. You can bet that their supporters will have plenty to eat, but their opponents will not. If the people starving were able to receive aid then the government would have to spend money to kill them.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate (1)

Disevidence (576586) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995579)

I wasn't talking about Zimbabwe in particular. There are quite a few african countries that won't accept GE foods, for a number of reasons.

And someone modded my grandparent offtopic. Wtf? Its not entirely ontopic, but its to do with the subject.

Re:Playing Devil's Advocate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995587)

"there should be no excuse for forcing third world countries into a subservient like existence, where they have to pay multinationals for their basic food"

Your heart's in the right place but sadly, everyone does have to pay for their basic food. Just because something's basic to life doesn't mean it should be free. Food doesn't grow on trees you know (well, some does, but someone has to plant the trees, water them, pick the fruit, keep the insects off, etc, and that guy needs to live and to live he needs money and so on and so on).

Fucking Niggers - let 'em starve (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995472)

No one ever accused the Negro of having high IQs - quite the contrary if you consider the best seller The Bell Curve.

Those nigs over in Africa are open step below the monkey. If a starving nigger isn't smart enough to eat perfectly good corn, let 'em starve.

-- I is a bad Niggah. [206.244.69.51]

Re:Fucking Niggers - let 'em starve (1)

JustinCourts (541564) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995556)

No one ever accused the Negro of having high IQs - quite the contrary if you consider the best seller The Bell Curve. Those nigs over in Africa are open step below the monkey. If a starving nigger isn't smart enough to eat perfectly good corn, let 'em starve.

wait, im sorry, who did you said had the low IQ? the only people i ever hear talking like this are degenerate pieces of shit. you're putting yourself with /great/ company. im surprised someone with as little sense of humanity is even reading a site like this.

way to go, man. you really got your point across...if your point was that post-natal abortion should be legal.

Not too surprisingly, consider who's in charge (5, Insightful)

BigFire (13822) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995473)

The famine in Zimbabwe is mostly the creation of one man, el presidente for life Robert Mugabe. Mr. Mugabe tried to circumvant the constitutional limits on his terms by inciting black on white genocide. This has turn Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of the Southern African countries into needing to import food just to survive.

Seriously, even if God should rain mana onto the starving masses, the problem is still there. I see no future for that country as long as the thugs are in charge.

Re:Not too surprisingly, consider who's in charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995589)

Seriously, even if God should rain mana onto the starving masses, the problem is still there. I see no future for that country as long as the thugs are in charge.

You're right, and ironically sending them food aid (which the US will do. We always do) just makes the problem that much worse. Back a few years ago when North Korea was starving (and threatening us and Japan with war), we sent them huge quantities of food. Much of it ended up in Malaysia (the corrupt North Korean government sold the food for hard currency), with the North Korean victims left to starve.

Interview (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995476)

I got an exclusive interview on this story earlier today.

This woman [mr-nasty.net] has gone on record stating: "What are you people, fucking insane?"

News at 11.

Wow, /. misses the point once again. (1)

Kelmenson (592104) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995479)

The main point of the article is not that the patents are the issue, but that generating unsaleable corn is the issue, due to many European countries restricting bioengineered food. I'm not sure how much clearer the article could have made that, but somehow it comes back to "patents are evil" on Slashdot. Wonderful.

Situation in Zim (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995482)

The poster of this article needs to get a clue. Zim is starving cause it's led by a despicable Marxist nigger

Once again, I feel sick over "bio-technology" (0, Troll)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995483)

Yeah, it may help to "heal all illnesses" - but let's be realistic for a moment: all this "life-science"-crap is going to do is help us rich G7-inhabitants sqeeze some more years out of our lives while killing many 3rd-world people in the process and further destroying their basis of living. And then our's.

Oh. And lining the pockets of large pharmaceutical corporations.

Simple solution (2, Insightful)

cachorro (576097) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995487)

Let them grind the corn into meal before shipment.

Send me my 0.01% commission for saving the deal.

You're welcome.

blame it on Mugabe (2)

delong (125205) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995495)

Hey, Mugabe is just doing what he does best, creating a crisis. Zimbabwe went from a net food exportor to famine, in record time. Never mind the GM food, Zimbabwe wouldn't need to import food if not for Mugabe's draconian, and racist, "land redistribution" [africaonline.com] policies.

Like most African food crises in the last 50 years, this one is caused by politics.

Derek

Blame the EuroWhiners! (2)

Tattva (53901) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995501)

When I saw the headline to this article yesterday, I was shocked and outraged too. We all know Mugabe is a pretty bad guy, but he does have a point. Zimbabwe wishes to export corn to Europe, and if they cannot guarantee that it is GM-free, they have lost a major chunk of their exports for some time to come. Is it better to (possibly) prevent some starving now and make future despair and poverty more likely? Stalin chose to starve his people and took a medieval society and created a country capable of defeating WWII Germany (with a little help.)

So blame Europe, fate, and a cynical, Machievellian leader, not insanity for this one.

Re:Blame the EuroWhiners! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995585)

>Stalin chose to starve his people and took a medieval society and created a country capable of defeating WWII Germany (with a little help.)

Not to mention that he was able to build bridges extra quick by throwing people already in gulag in the mix.

Watch the documentary sometime. Stalin was a man only slightly less evil than Hitler, since his goal wasn't genocide, but rather domination through fear.

i want some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995504)

i want some of Homer J Simpson's Tomacco...

Actually... (2, Redundant)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995516)

...the more likely reason the grain was refused is that the Zimbabwe government is currently on a militaristic campaign to take land away from white farmers and give it to black ones as part of a Land Acquisition Act. President Mugabe can use the starvation of his own people to further cast blame on the white farmers and rally more support for the governments policies. Pretty good K5 article on the whole situation here [kuro5hin.org] .

Please note, also, that I'm not trying to make commentary on whether land distribution in Zimbabwe is right or not, only on the methods used by the government to achieve that end.

This has nothing to do with patents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995520)

The Mugabe government has been blocking food aid--GM or otherwise--to weaken its political opponents, like Stalin did to the Ukraine.

See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/2157949.st m [bbc.co.uk] .

"Food aid has been blocked in some areas which voted against Mugabe during elections in March. Opposition supporters have also been prevented from buying commercial stocks of grain."

Brazil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995529)

Why don't they follow Brazil's lead and take the corn, plant it, and then give the corporations the middle finger? Brazil doesn't care about patents on AIDs drugs, and Zimbabwe shouldn't care about patents on food.

Oh my god! I'm blinded! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995541)

Damn!

I just saw an ad for MS Visual Studio .NET on Slashdot!

I know this is totally off-topic, but I'm frickin going to have a seizure!

The dissonance I'm experiencing is totally overwhelming! I don't know how to make sense of the experience!

Help!

Has this happened to anyone else, or am I hallucinating?

Canadian Farmer ordered to pay for GE crops. (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995545)

They've got a reason to be worried about importing genetically engineered crops into Zimbabwe, especially if it's seed from Monsanto [monsanto.com] . There is a story on Guerilla News Network [guerrillanews.com] about a Canadian farmer whose crop was infected with Monsanto engineered crop he never wanted and still was made to pay:

" (GNN) In a Kafkaesque ruling sure to send a chill up the spines of farmers around the world, a Canadian farmer has been ordered to pay thousands of dollars to Monsanto for violating their patent on genetically modified canola seed. The twist: the farmer, Percy Schmeiser, says he is accused of stealing something he never wanted in the first place. Schmeiser's fields were contaminated when pollen from genetically engineered seeds blew onto his then GE-free land from neighboring farms. Shortly after, Monsanto's "gene police" invaded his farm, took seed samples without his permission, and then charged him with violating Canadian patent law that says it's illegal for farmers to re-use or to grow Monsanto's GM seed without signing a licensing agreement. Even though it was Schmeiser whose fields were polluted with organisms he never wanted, the court says he must now pay Monsanto $10,000 for licensing fees and up to $75,000 in profits from his 1998 crop."

You can read the rest of the article here [guerrillanews.com] . For more in-depth information go to Percy Schmeiser's website [percyschmeiser.com] .I especially like the part where they fly over farmers' fields and dump chemicals on them without knowledge or permission of the farmer to "prove" the farmers were using their seeds.

Another wonderful problem... (1)

Critical_ (25211) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995547)

I just don't seem to get it. Why is it that genetically engineered corn is created in the first place? I'm sure that if you ask the people who did they work (i.e. scientists), they'd say it was for the betterment of humanity. If you ask the money-greedy, idiotic, bastard executives they'll say that it was for the royalties they'd get from its creation.

I'm sorry, but is our society too aloof to the problems of the world? Being a person who has taken a fair numbere of science classes in college and also done research with geneticists, these people are largely doing this work for the desire to help humanity, not to make a cheap buck. Our system is so screwed up that we insist that the food that may get planted will lead to lawsuits. So what if a thousand children die? Who gives a shit as long as these greedy idiots can drives their benzs and live in million dollar homes.

How many of you would help someone in car accident if it was possible? How many of you would help someone trapped in a place they couldn't get out of? I think that most people would answer yes because we as humans strive for not only our own survival but the survival of others. That is the very thing that makes us unique.

After September 11th and the subsequent bombardment of Afghanistan, I honestly thought that humanity had gone the way of savages and animals just bent on killing each other. Yet, on a drive down Interstate-5 to Los Angeles I saw a black pickup flip over and land on its side in the middle of the road. You know what I saw? I saw my fellow Americans stop on the side of the road in both directions and try to help the people inside the pickup. People were directing traffic, others were cleaning the mess on the road, more were trying to assist the occupants. This is humanity. Humanity is there to stop the suffering of others.

So I ask, why does a country have to worry about lawsuits when its people are starving? There is something really wrong with the system.

At its root, a problem traceable to the Jews (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995553)

Be it starving Negroes in Africa, or attacks on OpenSource P2P, have you ever noticed how the Jews are at the forefront of those trying to restrict our rights. Know your enemy. Study this list of Jews trying to destroy your freedom:
  • Rosen
  • Coble
  • Berman
  • Eisner
  • Redstone
The Jews never create anything. They are the parasites who wedge themselves between the the producer and the consumer. The Jew takes a slice of every pie that passes by. What the Jew hates is that the Internet is cutting him off from his host. The artists can now distribute directly to their fans. The Internet has made the Jew irrelevant. So the Jew tries to buy the politician to do his bidding. The Jew tries to get bought politicians to pass bogus regulations in order to maintain Jew hegemony over the consumer. Listen and learn about the Jew in this mp3 [natvan.com] .

Why don't they just irradiate or mill the stuff? (2)

aardvaark (19793) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995558)

Wide scale irradiation would seem to be cheap and sterilize the corn, no? Also, couldn't they just mill the damn stuff? Hard to grow something from seed when it's been pulverized to powder. There has to be more to it than this.

a thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995560)

as someone else mentioned, the corn might be unsellable because of the whole patent issue. What I find the most attrocious about this that large corporations are getting tax dollars and write offs for producing a product it has a hard time selling. There have been recent studies about the effect of the government subsidizing corn farming and research. The farmers actually don't benefit from, since it causes an over supply of corn. What it does result in is cheap corn sirrup and corn meal for cereal.

Some studies have suggested corn sirrup is a significant factor in weight problems. I don't have the URL to the article handy, but there's more to the story than just some african country not taking some corn.

What we REALLY need.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995568)

Is some sort of DRM system for organic matter.... not only would it solve the "corn" problem (BTW, corn has hardly ANY nutritional value; why is a starving country looking at planting corn to solve their hunger problem!??!?!), but, then it could also control what we hear, see, taste, smell, etc, etc, based upon weather or not we have valid "licenses" to do so...

Yeah, I'm being sarcastic, but think about it, it's really not THAT far-fetched....

Tons of ethical issues here....... (1, Redundant)

Atrax (249401) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995569)

Tons of ethical issues here, which have hardly been touched upon in the U.S. press.

One of which is the fact that Zimbabwe actually does have the right to turn down these shipments.

Let me make sure I have this straight... (2, Interesting)

antirename (556799) | more than 11 years ago | (#3995573)

They are starving due to "drought and political mismanagement". In other words, they don't have enough food to feed themselves. However, the food that could feed them is not politically correct in the EU, therefore they couldn't sell it (or its proginy if planted) in Europe. So, they would rather let half their population starve rather than at some point become the breadbasket of Europe... now it's all making sense! The government doesn't want to feed their people, they want to resell the food and buy new cars, if you're really cynical. If you're not then this makes very little sense. Starve or not? I bet the people that are starving (as opposed to the people making the decisions) would have a very different take on this if they were allowed to express it.

Another point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995577)

Large multinational corps are using poor 3rd world nations as their own private laboratory
to see if there really are any side effects.

See you can either starve, or eat this probably
safe corn, and we can observe what happens
to you.

Africa and *BSD are dying (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995588)

It is official; Netcraft confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amdest.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Milling is cheap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3995590)

milling expenses, which are estimated at $25 per metric ton

Wait...so I could get an ENTIRE TON of corn milled for only $25? How do the milling people make any money anyway?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...