Agriculture is not ‘agriculture’
Agriculture is not “agriculture”. The inverted comas that enclose the second agriculture are intended to inform that the methods, tools, aims, and values of the practice of agriculture in the past, covering before 1973 to the era of our ancestors, are different from the methods, tools, aims and values of the practice of agriculture after 1973. The difference is due fundamentally to the fact that in 1973 Dr. Cohen and Dr. Boyer invented how to use enzyme, known as restriction enzyme, to cut and join the deoxyribonucleic acids (DNAs) of two completely different and distinct organisms.
DNA is the store of what are called genes. The different products of the expression of the genes which are produced according to some very rigid rules, give all living creatures their different characteristics. As an illustration, they make all human beings different from all animals and all plants and every human being different from every other human being, man or woman, by at least one characteristic.
Cutting and joining the DNAs of at least two distinct organisms, e.g. the DNA of a snake and the DNA of a bacterium, with an enzyme, putting the two distinct DNAs joined together into another bacterium, adding to this bacterium at least four different genes, and inserting the bacterium carrying the different DNAs and genes into a plant or animal source of food which has its own DNAs and genes, e.g., corn, rice, cassava, cow or chicken, is how what is called genetically modified organism (GMO) in the practice of “agriculture” is produced. It is like putting the sperm of a man in the egg of a female cow. This Cohen and Boyer method of producing GMO violates several of the rigid rules of genetics. The violations make the farming that is based on this “agriculture” produce “GM foods” and not foods. Foods are produced when natural and organic organisms are used for agriculture and farming.
By joining agriculture to food and joining “agriculture” and “GM food” it is noted that the method of agriculture produces plenty foods that are safe and contain all necessary nutrients while the method of “agriculture” produces “GM foods” that are toxic, lack vital nutrients, and are deadly. Because of the differences revealed here between agriculture and “agriculture” and between food and “GM food” no demand, recommendation, declaration, policy or law intended to justify, promote or sustain “agriculture” or “GM food” can be right. All the issues concerning them should be completely resolved first.
Another sources of insight into the difference between agriculture and “agriculture” is that the former Minister for Agriculture declared while he was in office that “Agriculture is now business and not for development”. The declaration means that the aim of agriculture which was practiced before was development while the aim of “agriculture” which is practiced now is business. This is very significant and serious because it reveals that the aim of the practice of agriculture in Nigeria was feeding Nigerians while the aim of the practice of “agriculture” now is export trade.
This difference makes the value of agriculture different from the value of “agriculture”. The value of agriculture is feeding Nigerians in order to keep them alive and healthy, make them enjoy longevity, and give them energy for work so that they can develop themselves and the nation, while the value of “agriculture” is export of foods to earn money and have wealth while people lack food, eat GM foods which are toxic and lack vital nutrients, and die early.
Based on difference in aim and value between agriculture and “agriculture”, it is obvious that food security cannot be achieved with “agriculture” while it can be achieved with agriculture. It is also clear that it is wrong to say that “Focus on agriculture will reduce food import” (Prof. Pat. Utomi, Punch, Friday, Feb. 12, 2015, p. 10) because “agriculture” is about producing foods for export, export of food creates food scarcity, and food scarcity makes inevitable food importation.
The other differences between agriculture and “agriculture” are: Based on the practice of “agriculture” foreign companies are begged to come and invest in “agriculture”, they are given lands some of which are taken from local farmers and natives; our land laws are changed to make this possible and justified, and they obtain patent right on the native and natural plants and animals that our farmers have been producing foods with, their genes, and the knowledge that they gained about plants and the soil over many years of the history of farming. The patent right means that our local farmers must pay researchers and foreign companies whatever amount they demand any time that they want to use the native seeds, stem, genes, and the knowledge that they acquired for farming before they can farm with them.
In order to make our farmers accept the theft of their plant-based sources of farming and the usurpation of their lands, they lie to our farmers that the re-engineered forms of our native and natural plant and animal sources of foods, GMOs, re-engineered by applying Cohen and Boyer method and tool, are safe for farming and that they produce more than the native and natural organisms. These lies make our village farmers, and increasing number of educated Nigerians, who are becoming farmers, buy the GMOs and farm with them in the place of our native and natural organisms.
There are many other reasons why agriculture is not “agriculture” and, therefore, the promotion of “agriculture” and making policies and laws about it as if it were agriculture, is absolutely wrong. These make the redress of the error absolutely necessary.
Appeal is made to the president, governors, legislators, ministers, advisers, and all Nigerians to take very serious note of the difference between agriculture and “agriculture”, food and “GM food” provided in this article and discontinue with all the policies and actions which for about two decades have been carried out on agriculture because of their consequences. The consequences include diminishing available foods for consumption, increasing cost of available foods, increasing cancers, diabetes, kidney, liver and heart diseases, and deaths. They also include reducing fertility of women and the soil, pollution of our waters and death of fishes, and theft and transfer of our native and natural sources of foods to seed and gene banks in the USA and Europe by the IITA, Ibadan—which also owns a private seed bank. Added to these are more virulent and deadly viruses due to the use of viruses for all genetic re-engineering purposes.
Odor is of Pieray Awele & Associates, and could be reached at PrinceAwele@gmail.com, 08103038549
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