GMO GEOPOLITICS: THE UKRAINE BUCKS GMOsNovember 7, 2016
Ms. M.W. sent this article and I include it in this week's blogs, reviews, and speculations because I found in it a small measure of hope. The story concerns GMOs, and The Ukraine:
What surprised me here is, of course, the history and relationships that emerged prior to and during the Maidan crisis and the US-sponsored overthrow of the legitimate government of The Ukraine and its replacement by the Proshenko crowd. Many people, however, may not recall that in the run-up to the crisis, various American "agribusiness" giants, like Mon(ster)santo, acquired ports rights on the Black Sea, and viewed The Ukraine - the traditional breadbasket of Europe - as a ripe new market to infuse with GMOs. From one point of view, the Ukrainian government could be viewed as the puppet and creature of the US State Department, of Darth Soros and his various NGOs(Non-Governmental Organizations), and the GMO giants.
Meanwhile, as we also know, across the border, Russia has all but banned GMOs completely in that country, and has become an agricultural exporter. I have called this "GMO geopolitics," as various nations realize the value of the growing opposition to GMOs in various countries, and position themselves to meet and address that market need.
Well, The Ukraine now appears to be set to play some GMO politics of its own:
Despite massive pressure from U.S. multinational Monsanto and the Ukrainian Grain Association, Ukraine’s Parliamentary Committee on Agrarian Policy and Land Relations supported a new moratorium Monday on genetically modified (GM) crops until 2023.
Earlier in 2016, the Petro Poroshenko Bloc “Solidarity” MP, Mikola Lyushnyak entered a Bill to the Ukrainian Parliament to continue and strengthen the current moratorium on GM crops in the country.
“Why is the prohibition of GMOs so acutely on the agenda in society? Because so far there is no definitive scientific evidence proving the necessity of growing GM crops and also no evidence about the safety of GMOs or their usefulness to human health,” Lyushnyak stated.
“In Ukraine, which occupies a leading position in the agricultural sector, there is a good chance to become a GMO-free country… in the near future,” Lyushnyak concluded.
The Ukrainian Parliament will vote on the moratorium on a date which is yet to be announced. The strong Bill would ban the growing of genetically modified crops as well as production, processing, circulation, transit and import of GMOs capable of reproduction or transmission of hereditary factors.
And note, The Ukraine's measure, according to the article, is being phrased precisely in terms of the global market, vs "pressures from (where else) Washington":
Ukraine’s non-GMO corn varieties have also made it China’s No. 1 source, helping to turn the former Soviet breadbasket into a global player. The fear is that the growing GMO contamination levels will now endanger this new and growing market. (Emphasis added)
Note also that the argument of Mr. Lyushnyak, sponsor of the bill, is arguing that there is no evidence "proving the necessity of growing GM crops," a new addition to the usual basket of arguments against GMOs, which tend to focus attention on the safety, rather than the necessity of growing them. The "necessity" argument was advanced usually in conjunction with "increased productivity" arguments and "feeding the hungry," and thus Mr. Lyushnyak's wording here is intriguing, for it suggests that perhaps he has followed recent Western studies, including some from American universities, which demonstrate falling per acre yields of GMOs over time, as compared to normal seeds, while costs actually rise over the long term. One important study that suggested these trends was recently done by the University of Iowa.
There's something else going on here, however, and I hope you noticed it: Mr. Lyushnyak's argument is very similar to language used in the debates on GMOs in neighboring Russia, and very similar to the language of the Russian agricultural ministry and its various spokesmen in their non-GMO policies.
And this brings me to some very high octane speculation: there is, of course, no love lost between The Ukraine and Russia for a variety of reasons: the forced collectivization of the kulaks under the Soviets, and the resulting famines and genocides being one. But it is interesting to watch market forces driving both nations to take similar stances vis-a-vis the GMO issue, and that might, with time, become a basis on which to rebuild bridges. After all, I cannot imagine that Ukrainians right now are thinking that US corporate dominance, or being puppets for Washington, has worked out any better than being puppets for Moscow, and agriculture is that nation's chief strength. Time will tell of course, but it is an intriguing convergence...
See you on the flip side...