On October 16, 2013, The World Food Prize was given to three biotech scientists. The following is what I wrote about this particular travesty in my new book, We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie. We’re Monsanto exposes 50 of Monsanto’s favorite lies. More than 3000 people downloaded We’re Monsanto in the five days leading up to the March Against Monsanto on October 12, 2013. Order your Kindle or paperback copy now!
Lie #5: 2013 World Food Prize Recipients Help Feed the World with GMOs (1)
The World Food Prize has been described as the agricultural equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize. So when Monsanto’s Executive Vice President takes the stage with two other scientists known for their biotechnology breakthroughs to receive the World Food Prize, it’s a big deal, right?
The U.S. State Department thinks so. “Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the keynote address at a ceremony at the U.S. Department of State” honoring three recipients “for their pioneering efforts and their tremendous contributions to biotechnology and to the fight against hunger and malnutrition.” (2-3)
Kerry’s speech read like Monsanto propaganda lifted directly from its website. Among other things Kerry said, “It is simply true that biotechnology has dramatically increased crop yields.” Then he went on to describe how biotechnology will feed the world’s burgeoning human population. (3)
But what do we discover when we pull the curtain on the U.S. State Department and the World Food Prize?
Monsanto is so enmeshed with the State Department that Natural Society’s Anthony Gucciardi describes the State Department as a Monsanto marketing wing. Using tax dollars, the State Department markets “Monsanto internationally with promotional marketing DVDs and pamphlets.” (4)
And Monsanto is one of several sponsors of the World Food Prize. In other words, on June 19, 2013, Monsanto’s marketing team leader at the State Department announced that Monsanto gave a Monsanto scientist a Monsanto award for promoting Monsanto biotechnology. (5)
Neither were 81 members of the World Future Council, “a network of global luminaries who ‘form a voice for the rights of future generations,’ and/or Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award, often called the Alternative Nobel.” In a formal statement, this distinguished body said, “In honoring the seed biotechnology industry, this year’s World Food Prize—to many, the most prestigious prize in food and agriculture—betrays the award’s own mandate to emphasize ‘the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people.’” (6)
If John Kerry were reading their message, he might say that it is simply true that biotechnology fails at every front. GMOs do not enhance nutritional content, they don’t increase yield, but they do grow super weeds, they make farmers dependent on patented seeds and chemical inputs, they increase farmers’ dependence on fossil fuels and limited mined minerals, they require excessive water use, and they burden cash-poor farmers with debt. Many of the 270,000 Indian farmers that committed suicide between 1995 and 2012 did so due to crushing debt after they adopted Monsanto’s products and poisons. (6)
The World Food Prize is supposedly given to recognize contributors to food “for all people.” GMOs don’t meet the criteria because most GMOs feed animals, cars (as fuel), or are added to processed and packaged foods, products not accessible to hungry people. (6)
World Food Prize? How about the World Food Control Prize? World Food Domination Prize? World Food Monopoly Prize? World Food Catastrophe Prize? World Disgusting Food Prize? There would be an element of truth in any of those.
If you prize sustainable agriculture, farmers’ rights to save and plant seeds, and the right to know what you’re eating, then you and your money won’t be keeping company with the likes of Monsanto.
Lie #5: 2013 World Food Prize Recipients Help Feed the World With GMOs
1. “World Food Prize Laureate Dr. Robert Fraley,” Monsanto, http://www.monsanto.com/improvingagriculture/Pages/world-food-prize-laureate-dr-robert-fraley.aspx
2. “Three Scientists Win 27th Annual World Food Prize,” U.S. Department of State, June 19, 2013, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/06/210849.htm
3. John Kerry, Secretary of State, “Remarks at the World Food Prize Laureate Announcement Ceremony,” U.S. Department of State, June 19, 2013, http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/06/210896.htm
4. Anthony Gucciardi, “Monsanto Exec Gets ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ of Food,” Natural Society, June 20, 2013, http://naturalsociety.com/monsanto-exec-gets-nobel-peace-prize-of-food/
5. “Sponsors,” The World Food Prize, http://www.worldfoodprize.org/en/about_the_prize/sponsors/
6. Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé, “Choice of Monsanto Betrays World Food Prize Purpose, Say Global Leaders,” The Huffington Post, June 26, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frances-moore-lappe-and-anna-lappe/choice-of-monsanto-betray_b_3499045.html