Last month, Oprah made waves in the agriculture industry when she questioned the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and biotechnology both online and in her monthly “O” Magazine. She and her sidekick Dr. Oz tried – with no concrete scientific proof – to connect GMO foods to increases in disease and “unpredicted side effect.”
The claims were baseless and outright false and what Oprah has failed to realize in her fight against GMOs is their importance in feeding the starving population of Africa, something she also campaigns on behalf of.
Over the weekend, as part of the G8 Summit held in Chicago, President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new public-private alliance, New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which is aimed at eliminating starvation through agricultural development and food security.
At the center of this effort is the development of new seed and crop varieties that thrive in the barren fields of Africa. The continent, which has endured years of drought, was once a food exporter but now struggles to feed its own. Seed giant, Monsanto, has already pledged a stake in the fight and is working to develop new, drought-resistant crop varieties. Without technology and seed development, we would have few tools to help Africa learn to feed itself. Technology has allowed American farmers feed more with less and it can do the same for the people of Africa.
When Oprah and others speak out against GMOs, they need to remember that more than just themselves and their millionaire/billionaire friends must put food on the table each day. Technology has helped keep American farmers thriving and will help get Africa back on its feet.
Article on announcement of new food alliance: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/cash-strapped-g8-looks-to-private-sector-in-hunger-fight
Dr. Oz article on GMOs: http://www.oprah.com/oprahradio/Genetically-Modified-Foods