Eating Tomorrow blog post by Suzanne Ferraro

In the reading, Eating Tomorrow, the introduction mentioned that the African government representatives were interested in agricultural development. I noted that the reading mentioned Southern Africa had its own climate adaptation strategies. It mentioned that the goal is not to use more fossil fuels. I thought it was fascinating on page five of the introduction of Eating Tomorrow, that agribusiness companies have such a powerful hold in the United States that they convinced policymakers and even many farmers that their interests are completely aligned. This means that as a point of US policy, the government would advocate to other governments on behalf of the US and US corporate interests. I thought it was interesting how it mentions that in Africa, the continent is heavily dependent on the need for agricultural development because of the climate challenges and lack of rain. The continent is dependent on farming.

In Chapter One of the reading, I thought it was interesting how climate change is making it increasingly difficult to grow crops successfully. In response, corporate and philanthropic leaders have proposed genetically modified seed technologies. It has become more difficult in small countries to grow crops because of the land and the hot temperatures. I thought it was important that we understand in Chapter One of the reading, it mentioned that effective irrigation is as important as modified crop seeds. But clearly, local farmers are skeptical about modified seeds.

In Chapter 2, I noticed that the government and businesses wanted to help support farmers in a food crisis and offer them a solution, but in a particular way of how farmers should grow more and export it to other places. Given the challenges with the land and farming land, I think it is harder in Malawi. I thought it was interesting that the reading demonstrates the importance of climate change and the challenges and growth, especially the abundance of nutritious foods to prevent famine, without relying on expensive seeds and fertilizers that were offered as the solutions. Also, the reading shows that sometimes, the quicker fix does not seem like the best long-term solution.  I found it important that a solution needs crop diversity to improve the health of the soil. I thought it was interesting that the chapter mentions the challenges, especially with farming, and how GM impacts native plants and harms them in the long run.

I thought the second reading on Mexican corn was thought-provoking. The second part of the reading talked a lot about farming, especially on page 179, where the biotech industries called for “greater scientific objectivity” to encourage the Mexican government to adopt their desired goal of planting a certain type of GMO corn. I thought it was interesting how, on page 182, it mentioned that the Mexican government had disbanded its biosafety commission. One key point of the reading was that Mexican law had stipulated that GMO maize could be planted, but not in any area of Mexico where it would be planted in the center of origin. Some people viewed the center of origin as the entire country to prevent the cross-contamination of the corn industry.

In part two of the reading I thought a key point happened when, in 2009, Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, including other multicultural companies, petitioned the Mexican government for land especially for the commercial production of genetically modified GMO corn. Farmers wanted to ban the genetic modification of corn or petition, arguing that it would threaten the native corn in Mexico’s maize diversity. Corn was such an important part of Mexico’s culture, and modifications were viewed as impacting the identity and importance of the entire corn industry.

I learned that some nonprofit organizations work to promote and conserve seed diversity especially with GMO and how local farmers need to grow their crops and to look out for their own future, the integrity of their crops, and future varieties by isolating crops of corn from one another. I believe that farmers should protect the crops that they are growing, especially because corporate interests and global interests do not always look out for the individual farmer. I thought it was interesting how the fact that plant genetic modification could impact other plants that could be grown depending on the environment. GMO corn has been shown to have traces of glyphosate that has been linked to cancer. My view of this week’s readings is that government policy interests and corporate interests do not always look out for the long-term interests of the farmer or the crops that are important to a country.

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