Excerpt of an open letter to Oxfam
Oxfam America’s endorsement of biotechnology sets a very dangerous precedent of being used by the industry in their struggle to force the adoption of GM crops in spite of strong global resistance. The book based on the outcome of Oxfam America’s project and the shocking endorsement of transgenic crops in the face of diverse and voluminous literature countering their stance, threatens to damage Oxfam’s relationship with longtime allies and its reputation as an independent organization. Oxfam, with this study, appears to be siding with corporations, who have used cotton in their efforts to promote GM crops as a whole. Bt cotton is a Trojan horse for future GM crops, including sorghum, cassava, maize, rice and all the staple crops in the world.
This reckless move also raises questions whether Oxfam America’s position endorsing GM crops is a result of significant funding from the Rockefeller and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations. The Rockefeller Foundation provided financial support for Oxfam America’s Biotechnology and Development report. In November 2009, Oxfam America received a $491,270 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation “to support the monitoring of bacillus thuringiensis cotton impact in West Africa.” These two foundations are explicit promoters of biotechnologies. The Gates Foundation has important ties with Monsanto, the leading company in the biotechnology industry, which has been using ‘revolving doors’ with Foundations and Government Agencies, to erase obstacles and reach its current leading position on the market. Unfortunately, historically and today, agroecological research and development receives a fraction of what biotechnology R&D receives, which this grant by the Gates Foundation perpetuates.
Furthermore, Oxfam America supports the Global Food Security Act of 2009, also known as the Lugar-Casey Act, and claims it will “improve long-term food security by investing in long-term agricultural development.” The section 202 of this Act includes “research on biotechnological advances appropriate to local ecological conditions, including gm technology.” This bill gives favored treatment of biotechnology that is controlled by two or three companies, mostly by Monsanto which has invested over $8.6 million in lobbying Congress last year to pass the Lugar-Casey Act.
Oxfam America is surrendering to the biotech industry and their corporate extensions and private foundations. By doing so it is selling out those it has committed to help and support, including resource-poor farmers, and all those defending health, biodiversity, and the environment. We hope Oxfam America will retract its stance on biotechnology and join the global farmer, environmental, and justice movements united around the world calling for an end to corporate domination and contamination of our food.
African Center on Biodiversity, South Africa (Mariam Mayet, Executive Director)
Bharatiya Krishak Samaj/Indian Farmers Association, India (Krishan Bir Chaudhary, President)
Center for Food Safety, U.S. (Debi Barker, International Director)
CNOP (Coordination Nationale des organizations Paysannes/ National Coordination of Peasant Organizations), Mali (Ibrahima Coulibaly, President)
Grassroots International, US (Nikhil Aziz, Executive Director)
Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam/Farmers Association Of Tamil Nadu, India (S.Kannaiyan, Organizer)The Oakland Institute, US (Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director)