Maui’s GMO seed fields deterring foreign tourists

Many people, including myself, have been doing our best to warn visitors away from Maui for fear they could be exposed to the same Monsanto experimental viruses and other unknowns, burning cane and racial violence.It might behoove the County Council to take this in mind when trying to convince today’s well-informed tourist about coming to the Monsanto test tube formerly known as Maui.I know from overseas communications that the GMO presence has been the No. 1 reason people choose another, safer destination. The assault on tourism from myself and other environmental groups won’t stop until Monsanto has closed doors. Our high-end hoteliers might want to grasp this.The worst pollution is what you can’t see – chemicals, poisons, experimental pollens. Take a hike, Monsanto, you’ve ruined my island.Donald BrownHaikuStop Monsanto poisoning of Hawaii
SOURCE: David Ward (ward.david7@gmail.com)
SUBHEAD: Kamehameha Schools helps the GMO industry use Hawaiian land for poisoning its people.By Staff on 10 June 2012 for Hawaii GMO Justice Coalition -
(http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl8B4qDkIPaygcNJNAc5_1A)
Image above: Kauai has over 12,000 acres of GMO’s… and that’s just one island. From video below..For over 20 years, Hawaii has been the global center for the open-field testing of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), including pharmaceutical crops. Over 5,000 experimental tests have been conducted by Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer, Syngenta and BASF that spray chemicals on an almost daily basis on our most valuable lands.They are supported by tax-breaks, and beneficial relationships with landowners, regulators and politicians. We estimate GMO companies own or lease 40,000 — 60,000 acres that are sprayed with over 70 different chemicals.A new vision for Hawai’i would promote small farms that grow chemical-free produce, employ our youth and restore the indigenous ahupua’a system. Hawai’i has less than 3,000 acres of certified organic farmland, which is 0.27% of Hawaiian farmland.Kamehameha Schools is Hawaii’s largest private landowner. Despite Kamehameha’s public statements about sustainability and conservation, they lease substantial amounts of land to multi-national biotech firms, including Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer and Syngenta for GMO open field tests and seed corn production.Kamehameha is the only institution with the land, capital and resources to reduce our food imports, that are now over 90%, and ensure that Hawai’i does not run out of food in case of natural disasters or rising oil prices.

Hawaii’s “Seeds of Change”

 

Hawaiian corn

Living on the Hawaiian island of Moloka’i, it’s hard not the notice the fact that corn grows in Hawaii. It grows all over this small island, yet none of it is for sale in the grocery stores, it’s grown for seed. I came here from the continental U.S. and associate corn with Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota, which account for over 50% of the corn grown in the U.S.. I decided to do my homework and apparently corn has been growing here on Moloka’i since 1966, when the Moloka’i Seed Service founded the first winter corn seed nursery. Since then, seed crops have been a big business in Hawaii, which may surprise those who associate only pineapples, sugar cane, coffee, or mac nuts with the islands. The business of growing plants for seed has emerged in the past ten years as one of Hawaii’s biggest industries as companies spend millions of dollars on research and development of new crops. The value of Hawaii’s year-round seed crop industry rose to $247 million in 2011. Those numbers mean that the investment in seed operations, mainly for corn, has grown to rival the sales numbers of sugar, pineapple, coffee and macadamia nuts, food crops that have been emblems of Hawaii agriculture for years. Corn seed made up 96 percent of Hawaii-based research last year, with soybean, sunflowers, wheat and rice contributing to the rest.

Since the 1980s, Hawaii has seen the departure of Amfac Hawaii, Oahu Sugar Co. and most recently pineapple grower Fresh Del Monte. The land now produces the parent seeds, for example, of corn resistant to drought or more efficient in the production of biofuels. Seed production in the state includes the operations BASF Plant Science, a German company doing business on Kauai, as well as entities like Pioneer, Monsanto, Syngenta and Dow AgroScience. The reason for this is that Hawaii offers something to seed companies that other places do not: three to four growing seasons per year. That frequency allows the companies to produce up to four generations in a single year and move more quickly to market.

Hawaii seed companies employ thousands of people at operations on O’ahu, Kaua’i, Moloka’i and Maui. Monsanto is the worldwide leader in the use of biotechnology, and is the largest employer on the island of Moloka’i. Along with Mycogen Seed, Monsanto plants thousands of biotech corn plants on Moloka’i every year to develop specialized genetically modified corn seed for farmers.

One of many Monsanto genetically modified seed corn fields on Moloka’i

Despite the grain surpluses, and despite the fact that we use genetic engineering, (the manipulation of genetic material and the fusion of cells beyond normal breeding barriers), more than any other country, we still have hunger here in the United States. It turns out that genetically modified seeds are getting increasingly expensive, as are pesticides—not to mention the fact that farmers are forced to buy new genetically modified seeds every year, opposed to saving the best seeds for the next planting, which has been done since the beginning of agriculture. Studies have repeatedly confirmed that farming methods that promote healthy soils and biodiversity can dramatically increase production and yield. The largest study in the world that dealt with genetically modified seed, which included about 400 scientists from 100 countries, was assembled by the United Nations and the World Bank into something called the IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development). After a long set of studies lasting 3 years, the IAASTD found little evidence to support a conclusion that genetic engineering or modern biotech are well suited to meet the needs of small scale and subsistence farmers who were of course feeding huge numbers of people, especially in the Third World where hunger is so evident.

So, wouldn’t it make sense to focus on the safest, most beneficial, and most effective methods of food production instead of dabbling around with unproven high-risk technology that may or may not provide any benefit whatsoever to anyone besides the patent holders? Let’s hope that Hawaii’s “Seeds of Change” don’t change us!a

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~ by Ganja Farmer's Emerald Triangle News on June 29, 2012.

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