Eating Tomorrow

In Eating Tomorrow by Timothy Wise, the author explains how countries such as Malawi, in Africa, have mastered the science of using environmentally sustainable practices for growing food for the rest of the world, even though big businesses are pushing them to use imported GMO seeds. However, these farmers would much rather stick with their own agriculture practices which have proven to be more effective and better for the environment and their consumers. The large corporations such as Monsanto are far more focused on their own profit and will not cooperate with the farmers in Malawi, despite the fact that these farmers have figured out how to grow drought-resistance, vitamin-rich crops by intercropping. Intercropping is growing two or more crops in close proximity to one another to improve the soil and have back up crops for if the maize fails. The launched of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa pressured farmers to adopt genetically modified seeds, synthetics fertilizers, and selling goods to the market. Expensive farm subsidy input programs further pushed famers to use these new methods by helping financially support farmers. What these programs did not include however, was irrigation, which is the most important factor for crops to grow successfully.

In Malawi, after the country suffered from flooding and droughts, the government chose to ignore the World Bank and other big agribusinesses and take the country’s hunger into its own hands by using broad farm input subsidy programs for their farmers. This ended up being a success and Malawi farmers experienced an enormous growth in food production, all by practicing seed-saving, intercropping, and using manure instead of unnatural fertilizers. Since GMO seeds are not allowed to be grown in Malawi, they use hybrid seeds, which are seeds that are cross pollenated to create better growing seeds. These seeds produce an impressive amount of crop for their first year, but significantly less after that, forcing farmers to purchase more.  However, some farmers have been using intercropping, which has proved to be just as effective without synthesized fertilizer.  One farmer introduces the author to orange corn, which contains vitamin A and better than the hybrid white corn. By attempting to sustain their land rather than their seeds, the farmers of Malawi have proven that it is possible.

In the section on maize in Mexico, the author discusses how farmers are fighting against the introduction of GM maize near their own maize because to the risks of the GM maize pollen coming into contact with their own genetically pure corn and creating a new variety of corn. It is unknown what effects this GM maize can have on people as well, especially children. Ninety percent of Mexico’s maize crop is worthy of protecting from these GMOs; however, the government will not accept this. These big agribusinesses, like Monsanto, insist that their GMO corn would double Mexico’s product and help remove people from poverty, and improve the overall quality of life for farmers. This is false however since there is little evidence that GMOs grow more crops than non-GMO crops and poverty in Mexico is caused mostly by unemployment thanks to mechanized production. Monsanto is a threat to Mexican maize because they can influence the Mexican government to regulate maize, thus controlling farmers production and ignoring the nutritional needs of the country’s people. Food sovereignty is at the forefront of maize farmer’s goals, and as of 2018, they were able to stop Monsanto from planting their GMO corn in Mexico, however the contamination of maize has still gotten into some of Mexico’s foods.

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