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#202114 - 15 September 11 7:29 pm - America/Chicago Re: Belize's GMO battle picking up its steam [Re: bezbol]
backabush Offline
Junior Member
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Registered: 21 December 10
Posts: 14
Loc: San Miguel Toledo Belize
Everyone is talking about GMO in a theoretical way. Let me give you a look at the practical side: how GMO will affect life in the Mayan villages. I wrote a letter, which I will share with you.

To whom it may concern:

How the coming of GMO corn will affect tourism in Belize.

GOB has very recently granted permission to plant GMO corn seeds in Belize. This should be a cause of great concern for all, especially for the Mayans and those involved in the tourism industry.

Tourists are attracted to Belize because of its natural beauty and the many cultures that live together. Most tourists are environmentally aware, and judging by the number of vegetarians and vegans we get in our guesthouse, they are generally concerned about food safety.
In Belize, they find a country where life is still natural, where most people have at least a few fruit trees and grow some veggies, and food industries have not (yet) taken over what people eat. To me, when I visited Belize as a tourist in 1999, this was a big part of the magic that Belize held for me. Now, living in Belize for 7 years and as a farmer and guesthouse owner, I see that our guests feel that same magic and I proudly present it to them.

Our guesthouse is in the Kek’chi village of San Miguel, in Toledo. Many people are attracted to the contemporary Mayans and their way of life. The tourists get to experience, first hand, a lifestyle so different from their own that it leaves an impression they will never forget.
The villagers are mostly self sufficient, they plant their corn from the seeds that they save, as they have done for many generations. They raise their animals to eat and have some fruits and vegetables. Even if they have no money at all, food is on the table so they will never be hungry.
Not only our guests come to the traditional Mayan villages, in high season the vans from all southern resorts go on and of every day, visiting the village and the ruins. In almost every promotion video about Belize, the villages are featured. The future of these villages, however, is threatened by the coming of GMO corn to Belize. Please bear with me, I will try to explain.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) do not come from a plant, they are man-made. There are owned by the company that makes them. Because the company makes the seed, it has a patent on them. They engineer the seed so that it carries a toxin, to fight off insects that eat the crop. They also engineer it so that the GMO can withstand the herbicide, produced by the same company.
The advantage, so they claim, is that the farmers do not have to spray insecticides and will have higher yields because their crop is not lost to the insects, and that they don’t have to spray herbicides around the plant but they can spray the whole field. Many big scale farmers spray their GMO crops with herbicides, using airplanes.
Many studies show, however, that weeds and insects develop resistance and that farmers need to spray more and more for the same results. And that consuming these insecticides in the corn causes serious health problems. But that is not what I want to address now.

The catch is that farmers have to pay for the GMO seeds, every time they plant. They are not allowed to keep the seeds, since GMO is patented. A farmer buys permission to plant the seeds, but cannot own them. Their crop belongs to the company. And this is where it gets tricky.
If someone plants GMO corn, the GMO corn will pollinate the local corn. GMO pollen can carry a long way, in the US GMO corn has affected traditional corn crops 200 miles away, after a storm that carried the GMO pollen. Since GMO corn is dominant, the local corn will turn GMO and the heirloom seed is lost.
As stated before, GMO is patented. So when local corn turns GMO, it belongs to the company. Even when the farmer never planted GMO and never intended too, but his corn field is affected, the company owns that corn. There have been many court cases where the company has taken a farmer to court for stealing GMO and the company wins every time, resulting in the loss of the corn seeds and a big fine to pay by the farmer.

Can you imagine what will happen to the villagers if GMO corn is planted? They will loose their heirloom seeds, loose their food security. They will have to buy seeds every time, and these GMO seeds are not cheap. Most villagers barely have enough money to pay for their light bill as it is now.
In this worst case scenario people will not have money to buy the GMO seeds and chemicals. They will have lost their own corn seeds. As a result they will leave the farms and find their way to the towns in search for jobs. How many jobs are available for an older Kek’chi man with no education? How many for thousands of them?

The result of this urbanization: villages left abandoned, and bad neighbourhoods in the towns. No more picturesque drives through the villages with the tourists and see the men come and go to and from the farms with their mules and horses, no more laughing gatherings of women in the river. No more meals with Mayan families, because there will not be any more corn to share, the Mayans left the village. Houses will be overgrown and in ruins.
Crime rates in the towns and cities will go up even more, what else can you do if you have no food, no money, big debt and can’t get a job?
In India, this road is traveled already. Small sustenance farmers got caught in the GMO trap, and have committed suicide by the thousands.

I know the debate is young in Belize, I am not asking you to openly support either side. I am asking you to consult amongst yourselves, to research and try to come to a position on the import of GMO seeds in Belize because it will affect us all.
My intention is merely to point out that the introduction of GMO corn in Belize is not just an agricultural and social issue, but it will affect the tourism industry as well.

Yours sincerely,

Naud and Elsbeth Brouwer
San Miguel, Toledo

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#202115 - 15 September 11 7:37 pm - America/Chicago Re: Belize's GMO battle picking up its steam [Re: 2012_Level_9]
zappy Offline

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Registered: 14 January 08
Posts: 1644
Loc: Regina, Saskatchewan
_________________________
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom. — H. L. Mencken


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#202124 - 15 September 11 11:34 pm - America/Chicago Re: Belize's GMO battle picking up its steam [Re: bezbol]
JungleJane Offline

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Registered: 12 April 01
Posts: 625
Loc: Santa Familia, Cayo, Belize
Read and weep, all you GMO lovers:
(just an example)

http://healthfreedoms.org/2011/03/02/sci...santos-roundup/

I really hope Belize turns around - the last thing it needs is "CRAP CROP" that will eventually destroy everything. And do not even TRY to convince me otherwise. There is no other way. GMO will destroy everything - after it made a few rich.

And if I see another of those crop planes over my area, I will file a complaint. How can I grow organic food if they throw their poison on my land? As if they could contain it to only their acreage. Hah. Ever heard of wind?? I protest against me and the land being poisoned!!!
_________________________
Freedom is a state of mind in which there is no resistance whatsoever. Krishnamurti.

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#202151 - 16 September 11 5:19 pm - America/Chicago Re: Belize's GMO battle picking up its steam [Re: bezbol]
lee100 Offline

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Registered: 27 June 10
Posts: 1182
Loc: Belize/Taiwan
massive GMO lover here: and I disagree with all of you, I think genetic engineering will save our civilization.

In 14 years we're going to have 8 billion people -- that's a 21% increase in population. how are we going to produce 21% more food to feed all these people in 14 years? not "naturally" that's for sure.

The human population have long exceeded the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. The only reason most of us are not starving is because we've conquered nature, destroyed most of it, and replaced what we've destroyed with vast, chemically fertilized fields populated by high yield, genetically modified crops.

And in a few years, the existing fields won't be enough, when that happens, we can either cut down more trees and make more fields, or engineer some form of super crop with genetic technology.

or maybe we can do things the natural way as many of you suggest, We can completely discard all our biotechnological advances since the green revolution and just starve. Gonna need to disappear about, mm, 2.6 billion people. Anyone want to volunteer?

p.s. the following quote pretty much sums up my position:

cf. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/aug/28/world/fg-zambia28

"Please give us the food,we don't care if it is poisonous because we are dying anyway." -- Starving Zambian on GMO.
_________________________
Better to profiteer from stocks than to commit robberies. – City Public Safety (China)

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#202152 - 16 September 11 6:33 pm - America/Chicago Re: Belize's GMO battle picking up its steam [Re: bezbol]
bezbol Offline

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Registered: 11 February 09
Posts: 232
Loc: Belmopan
....see the post below


Edited by bezbol (16 September 11 6:35 pm - America/Chicago)

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#202153 - 16 September 11 6:35 pm - America/Chicago Re: Belize's GMO battle picking up its steam [Re: lee100]
bezbol Offline

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Registered: 11 February 09
Posts: 232
Loc: Belmopan
you are brainwashed by cooperation propaganda. The only reason GMO crop exist on the market right now is for company like Monsanto to sell more of it's herbicide such as Roundup.
yes GMO might one day be beneficial, but it would never happen under cooperation control. All these GMO company are doing is competing to acquire as many patent as possible over commercial crops and plants to control our food source, so they can in the end give big pay check to their investor.
As for third world nation hunger, there are many factors contributed to those and the food source being controlled by big cooperations and traded as commodity stock is a big factor.

I hope you can open your eye and try to learn more about this subject and learn the dark truth about Monsanto.
http://www.chingchongchang.com/chinaman/...ns-against-gmo/

At BAGMO(Belizeans Against GMO) we had an email campaign and this is the letter we get from Gabino Canto:

"Dear Sir/Madam,
The permission to bring in GMO corn seeds for trial was made by the Biosafety Council that is comprised of the following representatives:
Mins. of Ag. & Fisheries, DOE, CARDI, IICA, Mins. of Health, UB, BAHA and BASS group. Therefore, MAF did not unilaterally give permission for the seeds to come into the country. A public forum was also made at George Price Center to discuss the issue in March, 2011. The legislation for the GMO corn seeds is at Solgen's office for review. At this time, no seeds for commercial use will be allowed into the country in the near future. A socio-economic benefit analysis must be completed as well as the legislation."

This is the time we join our voice together and put pressure to make sure this legislation doesn't get passed.
www.facebook.com/groups/bagmo

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#202154 - 16 September 11 8:01 pm - America/Chicago Re: Belize's GMO battle picking up its steam [Re: bezbol]
Rigrat Offline

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Registered: 04 October 08
Posts: 2975
Loc: Belmopan
I think what we have here is the various chemical companies abuse of what GMO is supposed to bring. The way they are going about things right now is not for the good of the world, feeding the poor, or providing some form of food security, it is purely corporate enrichment to the detriment of all those who do not jump on their bandwagon.
Why do these companies develop crops that are DEPENDENT on the chemicals that the very same company that gives you the seeds sells? Why do they also prosecute and ruin farmers if they want to replant or use a cheaper chemical?

Why do they not concentrate on producing just a higher yield rather than a crop that gives a higher yield because you chuck herbicides on it? And why do they seem so hell bent on prosecuting farmers when their crops are accidentally contaminated? Why not be a responsible corporate citizen and do something for the benefit of the world?

If you look at a wild tomato, it is a fraction of the size of a modern store bought one. Wild tomatoes still exist, and I don't get prosecuted if I plan the seeds fro a tomato I buy from the store. Do that for corn and I would support you. But having a short term higher yield in exchange for insecticide resistant bugs and weeds that are impossible to kill cheaply doesn't sell me on GMO


Edited by Rigrat (16 September 11 8:05 pm - America/Chicago)
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#202155 - 16 September 11 8:06 pm - America/Chicago Re: Belize's GMO battle picking up its steam [Re: lee100]
zappy Offline

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Registered: 14 January 08
Posts: 1644
Loc: Regina, Saskatchewan
Quote:
and I disagree with all of you, I think genetic engineering will save our civilization.

...Well, you're wrong.

Do you think starving people die because there isn't enough food? ...Nope, there's lots of food.

Do you think if Monsanto had a miracle corn plant that grew 10 times the corn needed in the World that that poor "Zambian" would be starving? ...Yep. A rich Zambian will have lots of food. North Americans would be making fuel out of the corn to fill up their Cadillac SUVs...but the poor will still starve ...it's called greed. Thats the same greed that drives Monsanto to design food for a "poor hungry World" that can only be used with their other expensive products, make them dependant on the seed, the manufactured fertalizer, the manufactured sprays, and desicants ... they don't give it away to poor Zambians ... not without some string attached. It's the "gift" that keeps on taking.

Starving people die because they are poor NOT because there's not enough. There is more than enough food to feed everyone on this planet and more. Half the planet (the rich half) dies because they eat too much. The other half dies because they eat too little. There is alot of farm land that could produce food that lies idle, underused, planted in non food crops, or wasteful subsidised crops ... my whole yard is lawn, so is another 400 million North Americans ... it could be Potatos, Carrots, and Turnips, but it's not.
_________________________
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom. — H. L. Mencken


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#202156 - 16 September 11 8:09 pm - America/Chicago Re: Belize's GMO battle picking up its steam [Re: backabush]
2012_Level_9 Offline

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Registered: 13 May 07
Posts: 3895
Loc: Some Place in Belize
Originally Posted By: backabush
The catch is that farmers have to pay for the GMO seeds, every time they plant.

And that will annihilate Belize as we know it. It would be a game changer. It would certainly make Belize a far less attractive place for touring or settling. It will eventually cause civil unrest. This is going to be major trouble.
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Time Has Come Today

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#202158 - 16 September 11 9:59 pm - America/Chicago Re: Belize's GMO battle picking up its steam [Re: zappy]
lee100 Offline

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Registered: 27 June 10
Posts: 1182
Loc: Belize/Taiwan
@Bezbol

if Monsanto's product is really as bad as you say then you have no need to worry. They will go bankrupt soon enough as their customers discover the benefit of natural seeds.

@Rig

Yes, the round up corns are probably not all that great: But then again, many GMO, including a fraction of Monsanto products, seems entirely sustainable and benign. Like drought resistance corn for example (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/09/us-monsanto-corn-idUSTRE77850C20110809) or self-fertilizing plant (http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060626/full/news060626-7.html).

@zappy
Originally Posted By: zappy
...Well, you're wrong.

Do you think starving people die because there isn't enough food? ...Nope, there's lots of food.

Do you think if Monsanto had a miracle corn plant that grew 10 times the corn needed in the World that that poor "Zambian" would be starving? ....


Well let's not forget that (all else being equal) the price of food can usually be lowered by an increase in supply and/or a decrease in the cost of food production.

so yes, if Monsanto can somehow magically grow ten times the amount of food we need, then a poor zambian might just be able to scrape by with his wage.
_________________________
Better to profiteer from stocks than to commit robberies. – City Public Safety (China)

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