Bill Gates vows to defeat hunger & diseases in Ethiopia: Could entrenched political interests allow him? — PART III BY KEFFYALEW GEBREMEDHIN

April 21st, 2012 Print Print Email Email

Up until now, we have been in conversation the size of a half-marathon, prompted by the two articles under this title. The constructive criticisms received, most of all my compatriots’ guarded optimisms that have been punctuated by strong distrusts of politics, power and riches have been, have sufficient justifications and are, therefore, extremely instructive.

In general, representative comments of the majority of views can be filtered into three streams. The first one is brief, precise and categorical and, as one of them summed it up, “The root cause of famine or poverty in Ethiopia is poor governance.”

Feeling for the indignities suffered by a proud nation because of the interminable cycle of hunger and famine, the second stream cautions against this unfortunate situation being exploited to turn the country into the largest experiment in the developing world in genetically modified organisms (GMO) via improved seeds developed in laboratories.

In this context, citing the example of Mexican farmers, I presume in the 1970s, one of them compressed everyone’s concerns stating that once GMO contaminates “the natural crops or seeds, the local farmers will never be able to use or grow their [] GMO free seeds, without buying GMO seeds.”

If this question is about the so-called ‘terminator gene’ and if I have understood him correctly, I heard on December 18, 2011 on the BBC our illustrious native son Prof. Gebisa Ejeta strongly disagreeing with that assumption in AC Graylings’ Conversation with Gebisa Ejeta .

The third stream has rather reduced the whole exercise to a swordfight between Meles Zenawi and Bill Gates, portraying both men as well practiced in getting their ways. Even then, it wanted to see reforms to go through to enable the country take advantage of new technologies, to help it, combined with its innate endowments, to ensure its food security.

It means that, therefore, we essentially would have to stick together for a while longer until we bring this conversation to its logical conclusion. The above issues need to be discussed, if we are lucky the concerned officials and experts, among others — Mr. Bill Gates, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Prof. Gebisa Ejeta and etc.— chipping in their perspectives.

I invite them through this article to seize the opportunity to respond in some form to the above three concerns, comments or questions. I do believe that these are not only Ethiopian concerns, but also issues on the minds of people the world over. One only needs to take the pressure already building on the United Nations, as it is preparing for the RIO+20 Conference next June. Civil Society Organizations are demanding banning of GMOs altogether, which goes a long was as an example of a world divided on the issue.

I included the illustrious native son Prof. Gebisa here possibly to help with making the sciences that are going into agricultural reform in Ethiopia understandable by ordinary people.

Still the question is what could Bill Gates’ motive be in doing what he is doing? Money? Arm-twist developing country leaders and have them pursue his strategy of transforming agriculture so that seed companies could make more money and his share in their companies grow? Power? His motivation goes beyond that! Already in his Annual Letter 2012, this is the hint he gives:

The world faces a clear choice. If we invest relatively modest amounts, many more poor farmers will be able to feed their families. If we don’t, one in seven people will continue living needlessly on the edge of starvation. My annual letter this year is an argument for making the choice to keep on helping extremely poor people build self-sufficiency.

For now, we should be content with what we know about he science of “philantrocapitalism”, as Addis Fortune referred to it in August 2011. Instead, we need to turn our attention to what is happening on the ground in Ethiopia, in response to the measures recommended by Bill Gates, i.e., the creation of the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA). As we discussed in the previous two articles under this title, its stated objective is to help transform Ethiopian agriculture.

A year in the life of ATA

For the last one year, ATA has been busy trying both to find its feet on the ground and also carry out its tasks. Its mandate of ATA is consistent with government’s five-year plan (FYGTP), at least, according to what the ATA has put on its webpage.

At the ATA, they say they take a systemic approach to the Agency’s mandate and address constraints to the productivity of Ethiopian smallholder farmers as its high priority program area, for which its approach would be simply problem solving . This means:

• Firstly, it develops a vision and roadmap for each sub-sector, and identifies and prioritizes the solutions with the aim of unlocking the bottlenecks.

• The second task has been to put in place implementation support. This means that partners play a major role in the realization of ATA’s mandate. Its supports and coordinates the activities to be implemented through the partner bodies.

In this context, the ATA team has been working for a little over a year now on interventions in:

• Teff testing and demonstrating productivity enhancing technologies. They have not specified what technologies these are;

• Seed interventions: Building efficient and well-regulated seed sector that provides farmers with affordable, high quality seeds of improved varieties for all key crops through multiple production and distribution channels. This involves testing and demonstrating the use of complex fertilizers to ensure that they respond to the different agro-ecological conditions and soil types; and,

• Creation of network of primary cooperatives: Up to now ATA has selected “50 representative leaders from government promotion agencies, federations, unions and primary cooperatives from four regions that shared their experiences in cooperative development.”

I should point out here that, according to recent media reports, ATA, in coordination with the ministry of agriculture, has drafted regulations governing seed distribution and the draft is before the council of ministers.

Also, I should point out that I couldn’t say with certainty what criteria were used for the selection of these 50 ‘representative leaders’, referred to above. It would be a disaster all over again, if those they chose are the very agents of the ruling party, who would only act as spies and affect with fear and suspicion the independence of other farmers to freely express their concerns and ask for help or raise systemic problems.

If that is the case regarding the election of these ’50 representatives’, one needs to restrain expectations about meaningful rural/agricultural reforms being realized. This is simply because, it would be regurgitation all over again of failed policies and dysfunctions of the present and the past.

Is everything about ATA as novel as they make it sound?

These activities in which the ATA has now been engaged are hardly new innovations for those Ethiopian scientists and agricultural experts still in the country. In this connection, recall what Sweden had experimented for more than a decade in integrated agricultural development known as ARDU & WADU. There was also the extension program largely supported by the United Nations and the United States.

ARDU for Arussi Rural Development Unit and WADU for Wolaytta Agricultural Development Unit experimented with the technologies of the time in respect of seeds and soil conservation. The two were developed as demonstration stations for the wider neighborhoods now in parts of Oromia and SNNPR to catalyze agricultural development in central and southern Ethiopia. Both projects were terminated almost around the onset of the revolution in 1974.

Impressive about ATA now is the resources muscle it is flexing, including the latest technologies, especially the seeds technology and the expertise it could mobilize at any time.

Before they were compelled to leave the country, many Ethiopian scientists—most of them products of the Alemaya University hugely benefitting in further education with US scholarships in cooperation with Oklahoma University—had similar objectives and approaches for the country’s development. In post-1974 and post 1991 Ethiopia, they felt their skills were unwanted, when the excessively ideological and politically overdosed state could find no time for their skills or resources to support their work.

At the height of their frustration, in September 2, 2011 some agricultural scientists organized a seminar presumably for Ethiopian journalists. It was entitled Media People Sensitization Workshop on the Generic Seed Issues, Ecological Agriculture and Farmers’ Rights. I dare say it was an attempt to get government’s attention, in vain though.

If not that, it was an attempt to send message to ATA of sharing similar views, while at the same time giving a reminder about the importance of preserving traditional knowledge, especially about seeds and biodiversity, the farming population has maintained for generations.

Amongst the many such scientists, a few of them with such concerns were:

• Dr. Melaku Worede, an internationally acclaimed Ethiopian scientist who has been recognized for the work he has done in plant genetic resources. He is also winner of Right Livelihood Award, commonly referred to as Alternative Nobel Prize, the Herman Warsh Memorial Award, USC Canada’s Seeds of Survival award, etc.,

• Agricultural research scientist Regassa Feyissa and Director of EOSA;

• Dr. Bayush Tsegaye, a crop genetic researcher in the Ethiopian Organic Seed Action (EOSA),

• Dr. Gemedo Dalle of the Ethiopian Institute of Biological Conservation; and,

• Ato Ayele Kebede HBF program manager.

At the seminar, Dr. Bayush Tsegaye stressed:

Poor farmers face challenges to meet the demands of high input varieties. In addition, loss of time-tested traditional knowledge and practices of farmers is getting more and more serious over time.

She said that farmers are told to get better harvests and ensure the country’s food security using improved seeds. Unfortunately, she remarked about the emptiness of this message because of the wide gap that exists between the amount of improved seeds that government could supply and the huge demand out there.

This is because of the lack of capacity of state enterprises, which are in charge of developing and disseminating improved seeds. They could not even meet the demands of 15 percent of Ethiopian farmers, as this webpage this matter in an earlier article.

On his part, Dr. Melaku Worede said that the issue of protecting and properly using farmers’ variety seeds is currently becoming a crucial issue in the field of agriculture, in which the media could contribute their part in the process of bringing about a resilient and sustainable agricultural system in the country.

The lesson of that seminar is sharing information with the public, much as it is about the rights of farmers, to point out the need for a roll back by the system that imposes control measures on farmers, instead of empowering them by allowing them to participate freely along with experts working on their side. This is also a lesson that needs some advocacy, if the Bill Gates and his team of experts are to make a difference.

Of course, there is optimism now, because in the past it was not only poverty being an obstacle. The problem was also in the nature of government in Ethiopia, past and present, who have little persuasion to give incentives, such as free seeds and other inputs, costly as it could be. In fact, for some odd reasons, farmers or other individuals, who had won awards usually, end up in prison the following year.

Anyways, with the huge support behind it, one can assume that, including substantial resources, ATA and its partners, could be capable of doing better and achieving more.

(To be continued)

  1. aha!
    | #1

    You have received comments on all fronts with a comprehensive approach to bringing about increased productivity on the existing farmholdings and improve the health of that population as a whole. Bill and Melinda gates foundation being to complemnt the existing FYTGP five year plan but not to serve as budget support on the plan not alone to be controlled by a council of ethnic fedralism, secessionism and totaliarinism, which is a culprit the humanitaria, economic, political crises in Ethiopia.

    You also narrowly focused on genitically engineered seed and fertilizer sales and distribution as a new science and technology as your focus, to which you have been informed that it has been tried under EPID. You also condemned the existing Ministry of Agriculture and never even even mentioned Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Reseach, implementing the demonstration research aspect of the ATA project in conjunction of renowned reaearch organzation (CSIRO), Australia to facilitate the breeding program incorporating the native species gene pool of a variety that frost resistant, not genetically modified seed for what purpose other to bring to an extiction of the indigienous gene pool along with your fantacy for use of fertiliser to economic benefit to the farmeres in the highlands of rolling hill with out the accomation of tillage practices, terracing and companion cropping to hold the soil in place and for which there is a project in place, which is the realm of the Extension department of the Ministry of Agriculture, through the assistance of Soil conservation Department in USA funded the UNDP of the united nations to Ministry of Agriculture and Ethiopian Agricultural Research organization.

    You interjected the name of one of our renowned agronomist who came up with drought resistent sorghum fromworks outside of Ethiopia and have not named a single person inside Ethiopia that came up with drought and frost resistant barley crop working at the Ethiopian research organization, where currently oats has replaced barley in the highlands in Shoa at least, where farmers do not have ownership of land property as one the means of production,to make one own decision for inputs into ones own farm instead of being debt ridden by TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises, let alone drinking fertiliser polluted water and let alone to live and farm any where in Ethiopia.

    We need to freely brain storm ideas as to how we need to revitalise the arable lands in an ecosystem management approach for sustanaible productivity to raise farming crop, livestock and vegitales and poulty from age old subsitence and now even going below that level, while the debt for seeds and fertilisers. How can one measure the GDP of this type of Agrarian economy, unless one pulls it out of thin air. Is it from the taxes collected, when they should not even pay taxes with out representation.

  2. aha!
    | #2

    Further more we need Agriculture Transformation Project(s), but not Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), the admistration and beurocracy pertaining to the ATP should be left to the Extension Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Institute of Agicultue organization and the council of ministers is an an added burden to the new agency, leaving the major operators out on the side line.

  3. Anonymous
    | #3

    Hmmmmm! Have been wondering about this guy, who is this KEFFYALEW GEBREMEDHIN and what is his back ground? I’m wrong to think that he seems to be a supporter of Meles and the rest of TPLF lebas trying to convince Ethiopians that, the deal Meles has been trying to get with Bill Gates Organization has no hidden agenda on Meles’ part. Knowing Meles’s criminal records, it is impossible at this point to believe that Meles would do anything to help Ethiopians. My guess is, Meles will try to direct the Bill Gates Organization to do something around the Tigrea province than other parts of Ethiopia. Ethiopians have the responsibility to alert and inform the Bill Gates and his wife Organization the amount hate Meles has for Ethiopia and Ethiopians with the exception of his ethnic group.

  4. Dawi
    | #4

    Anonymous said:

    [[....alert and inform the Bill Gates .. hate Meles has ...exception of his ethnic group....]]

    You see “Investors” think in terms of productivity and bottom line our personality/ethnic conflict doesn’t have anything to do with their decision. That is our problem to resolve.

    Bill Gates recently said:

    ‘The Global Fund is one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year.’

    “invest” it the key word.

  5. bimm
    | #5

    The famine ,hunger and starvation in Ethiopia is all man made. Ethiopia has natural resources unparalleled in Africa- water, fertile virgin land and a wonderful environment suitable to grow crops all through the three seasons of theyear. So why on earth is it starving?

    woyane is selling of the most fertile land to commercial crop growers from india, china, pakistan, arab sheiks and alamoudin for pennies and displacing the entire population in Gambella, afar, benishengul, western Ethiopia. who is benefiting from this except the foreign invaders who have been invited by woyane to ensalve our people and to destroy the land.

  6. (Please Read Me For Truth)
  7. (Please Read Me For Truth)
  8. Anonymous
    | #8

    You see Dawi, there is a significant difference between the foreign investors who are stealing land in Gambela and other parts of Ethiopia at the cost of human lives to make money for themselves and their families with the blessing of dictator Meles. In the other hand, Bill Gates and his wife Melinda started their Organization to save lives using their own money. The difference between the Saudi and the Indians investor in Ethiopia and the Bill and Melinda Gates Organization is comparing a poisonous snake and a loving pet.

  9. Derese
    | #9

    Privatization of land and increasing the productvity of every person working on the land is the optimum solution to overcome the problem of food sufficiency and producing raw matrerial for light industry.There are simply too many people working on the land while Melese is giving the fertile lands to Arabs and Asians.Now we knew why melese Had said “privatizaation of land is on my dead body.” i.e to Starve the Ethiopean people and sell lands to enrich himself and his clan.
    therefore,Mr Gates can only succeed if he starts his mission with privatization of land which I very much doubt.

  10. Anonymous
    | #10

    ከመለስ እና ሚስቱ የአመታት ግዞት ነጻ ለመውጣት የ እስልምና እምነት ተከታዮች የሚያካሂዱት መጠነ ሰፊ ተቃውሞ ብሄራዊ ይሁን:: ፕላን A.አርብ አርብ ከሙስሊሙ ህዝብ ጋር ህዝበ ክርስቲያኑም ተቀላቅሎ አመጹን ማጠናከር ፕላን B እሁድ እሁድ ከህዝበ ክርስቲያኑም ጋር እንዲሁ የሙስሊሙ ህዝብም በመተባበር አገዛዙን ማርበድበድ ፕላን c የዚህን ሁለገብ ተማሪው ነጋዴው ገበሬው ሰራተኛው ብሎም ወጣቱን በማስተባበር በመጪዎቹ ቀናት ከጫፍ እስከ ጫፍ ማቀጣጠል ፕላን D በቅርቡ ይገለጻል…

  11. Anonymous
    | #11

    Can you please enlighten me who this KEFFYALEW GEBREMEDHIN is. I’m dying to find out who he is, what he does and his background is. I might be wrong, but, I just don’t trust him and I see him as a salesman of Meles’s agenda and propaganda. Please prove me wrong.

  12. bonger
    | #12

    TPLf politbureau are salivating in their mouths with the prospect of Bill Gate’s cash landing in their lap. That is why the insatiable woyane junta who have already amassed billions of dollars in foreign accounts are rolling out the red carpet to anyone with cash to ‘invest’ knowing that it will end in their pockets.

    Over the last 20 years the woyane could have improved the livelihood of millions of Ethiopians if they have had good intentions for the people and the country.
    But the woyane wasted their time in creating and spreading hate and division among the people on race/ethnic lines, relegious lines and political lines to make the people governable.

    The woyane have created a divided community not at peace with itself to their liking, and this hardly the way to improve the lives of people.

    A society where people on the top are deliberately planning the demise of the whole community has no future but total destruction.
    To the woyane, their cunning and trickery could appear to them an act of genius, but it is total foolishness and the system they created will totally annhilate them.

  13. aha!
    | #13

    Derese is right, private property ownership as one of means of production is essential part of a free market economy. This regime which embraced the three ideologies of ethnic fereralism, secessionism and totaliarinism in addition to its firm grip of divide and rule policy of self rule and separate development as well as ethnic cleansing of the Amhar ethnic group from other regions, recently does not allow for accumulation of wealth through Real Estate Transactions as well as using the land as as a means of production, pride, security and ability to transfer to ones offspring. When I say this an Ethiopian saying comes to mind: “በሚስቲና በሪስት ከልድ የለም: ኢና ይገቢር ካላችሂሁ ዚንጀሮም ዪገቢር የንጉስ አይደለም ዎየ የሚችረው ምድር” to express ones ownership title and ones economic freedom, that is now reduced to serfdom. In this type of basic frame work of totalirinism in a State cpitalism economic model how does free market fit in for the silent majority of Ethiopians in which the farmer is allowed to make own decision for any inputs agaist borrowed capital, where in this case, I presume it is a free delivery of GMO seeds and fertilizers.

    Assuming that is the scenario you are implying, would it not be better to distribute $10, 000 dollars each in the hands of the farmers in their local private banks for them to use it for inputs they deem feasible upon the advice of extension agents and experts from the research organization, rather than wasting the money through the burrocracy of an Aggricultural Tranformation Agency, on top of budget set for extension services and research studies, complementing the ATP projects.

  14. aha!
    | #14

    In addition to the suggestion above and to the exclusion of ATA and the Council of Ministers and Killil Mengistats administrators is to invigorate the Soil and Water conservation Department of Ministry of Agriculture to head off the Civil Core Conservation Program in conjunction with Extention Sevice Department.

  15. ananymous
    | #15

    If Bill Gate and his charity would like to save Ethiopia he might need to first develope a micro-chip that would get rude of all weyanes and their thugs; then concentrate on agriculture and other Ethiopian people’s need.

  16. Gigi
    | #16

    while so many Ethiopians ignord Ethiopias problem willingly or not willingly Bill and Malinda are doing much to save poeple of our nation from so many famin and diseas

    the world and sociyeties(people)can get conterold and destroyed (killed) by bad people like Meles if he sayes,

    I want to make money no matter what
    I will farm for both of us
    every body eats what I eat
    eat every thing you have and will figer out some thing els
    their are better people than you who needs tyo eat
    indea farms in Ethiopia at the expenc of the Ethiopian people
    buy all the seeds possible and throw it in the ocean
    buy all the food possible and send it to some other country
    control all the farming sector so people can live at your mercy litraly
    kill and abanden traditional farmers so it is all under your control
    not making the international comunitys and our childerns to be aware of the need of agricultur and food preparation and productivity to our existanc and it is a presur point that you dont want pushed at you
    and if people fell to promot it as bussiness to a serton point and so on…….

    it is not a presur point that I want pushed at me or at any body.

    if teff wont exist tomorow, I know I will miss like so many but……you know…..

  17. love
    | #17

    Please Read Me for Truth,

    You did your search and very correct. I suggest people read and research on your own before perpetuating the plight of the the Ethiopian further.

    People please including the writer do not spread misinformation until you do your own research the agenda behind Gates or any other coming to Ethiopia helping for aid. Even the aid sounds like good will there IS A CATCH, THERE IS NOTHING CALLED FOR FREE LUNCH! I can’t stand people who are looking for hand out because we are “poor”. As the writer mentions, understand this, our enemy to poverty and starvation is first and foremost, foreign intervention, followed by bad governing, followed by our own perpetuation and division. This is what is causing poverty and hunger. If you don’t see the obvious then you are blind.

    Please look for a documentary, forgot the name, the story about Canadian Farmer and Monstanto. The farmer won the case is now traveling around the world warning about Monstanto. The goal is to enslave farmers once they are out of GMO seeds. The natural seeds will soon be extinct therefore, farmers will have no choice but to turn to the giant seed company, Monstanto. Let us say if the world’s farmers depend on Monstanto, can you imagine? If they don’t agree with certain farmers then you will no longer get the seeds and starving the death of a nation. Monstanto once it owns the seeds all over the world, it has the ability to manipulate the genes. If they don’t agree with farmers then you could be getting bad seeds that could wipe the population of a nation. Of course every foreingers coming East, West etc, come with palm leaves seemingly to help “because we like hand outs” and what they have on the paper could be different from their goal. Of course they are not going to tell you, but will paint rosy pictures and consequence will not be obvious after it is too late. Population decrease is also on agenda through gMOs and vaccine.

  18. Anonymous
    | #18

    Love, please say it ain’t so, are you saying the Bill Gates Foundation has ties with Monsanto Corporation? If it is true, that would be a great disappointment and shame! I have seen the devastating documentary what Monsanto Corporation had done to poor Mexican farmers.

  19. aha!
    | #19

    Love! has a point there but I am not looking at it as conspiracy theory of the use of GMO seeds by monsanto, i am inclined to old fashioned plant selction and cross breeding for drought resistsnt barley or other crops like sorghum for drought and fost resisistant, than the recommendeded GMO seeds which accelate the extinction of the genetic pool of indigineous varites of food crops much in the same fashionas maize crops in Mexico and lehman grass from south Africa taking over the native grass species of the South west of Arizona. THe GMO seeds may not have been bred for drought and frost resistant any way, and use of fertilisers may not be feasible economically, to say the least about polluting drinking waters from streams. So why even bother, unless it is intended to create a demand for the seed and fertilizer companies abroad and the middle men of TPLF and TPLF affilaited enterprises.

  20. aha!
    | #20

    B. imm! is is partially right, but the real cause to drought and famine is global warming, which should have been mitigated by producing food crops in the irrigable areas of the river basins with the long term development aid program. But the TPLF/eprdf regime continues to depend on humanitarian aid of food aid, which is bulky and costly and lacks of distributing it fairley and uses food as a strategy to divert the focus of the individual from politics to food shortages, which is considered as natural disaster, intenfied after 2005 election. I think shortage of food grains were mostly due to drought, inflation and unfair distribution and governance under ethnic federalism, secessionism, totaliarinism, hindering fre market capitalism, democracy and individual, freedom, liberty and equality, are the contributing factors, which are the nevertheless manipulated by the TPLF/eprdf regime.

  21. ጉረኞች
    | #21

    The issue is far more complicated and it is not a simple choice between GMOs and traditional varieties. The question we need to answer is– do we expect 80% of the farming population to remain as subsistence farmers for all of their life time or do we want them be more productive to produce surplus and have some more money in their pocket? If we want them to be the latter, we have to be comfortable for farmers to use the available technology including GMO. Farmers should not be expected to be the guardians of traditional non-productive seeds, unless they are willing to do so. A democratic government should let all options available to farmers and let the farmers decide what is best for them. The farmers should not be subjected to the choice of the government, scientists or seed companies. Time and again farmers have demonstrated tremendous ability when it comes to choosing what is best for themselves. Those scientists mentioned in the article are just doing their job as their objective is protecting traditional varieties. Naturally, they will be against GMOs. Allow Bill Gates company to pursue advancing the GMOs. Free choice will play the balancing act. It is laughable to expect all the fund to go to the development, when the butcher and the most corrupt individual in Ethiopia Meles Zenawi is the chair of the steering committee ATA. The institutional arrangement spoils any kind of fair resources distribution. We know which kilil will benefit from it.

  22. aha!
    | #22

    Looking back into the feed back from your commentartors as 1) poor governance, 2) GMO seeds and 3) swords fight between Meles and Bill Gates, without specifying what that swords fight is all about, I would like to elaborate on those, three points. I believe, toched upon with regards to GMO seeds in agreement with Love’s assertions, in contradiction to your assertions of GMO seeds as “gene terminator”.

    The first premise of poor governance need to be elaborated in terms of the constitutional frame work of the constitution being ethnic fereralism, secessionism and totaliarinism as hinderance to free market capitalism, democracy and individual freedom, liberty and equality that allows for democratic rule and dmocratic government with independent branches of government free of ethnic minority or majority ethnic rule, with private ownership of land and availability of capital to the silent majority of Ethiopians as prerequisite to implement the Agicultural Transformation Projects, not Agricultural Transormation Agency (ATA), but limited to Extension Deparment, the the Soil and water Conservation Department, the Ethiopian Research organization of the Ministry of Agriculture to implement the ATP projects.

    The ATP projects need to included the Multiplication of certified seeds of the existing varites of sorghum for drought resistant in the lowland tropics, breeding locally for drought and frost resistant barley and or adopting the newly adapted oat varity to replace barley crops, and breeding for drought resistant Corn/maize crops from the indigeneous crops. I do not believe the Monanto GMO seeds are bred for drought resistant, while they be bred for high yiel of by recombination of genes for high production, I presume, while it does not serve as “gene terminator”, and you to corroborate that assertion with dr. Gebissa Ejeta, the assertion by your commentators were looking at it in terms of displacement of the indigeneou varieties with high gene pool over time, I presume. Whereas, the Bill Gates foundation is geared not to replicate ARDU and WARDU , unless otherwise as certified seed seed production Centers funded by the foundtion, the idea of importing GMO seeds and fertilizers seems nothing more than creating a demand for Monsanto Corporation and Norwigian Fertitilizer through the middle enterprises of TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises leaving the farmers debt-ridden with GMO seeds and fertilisers, except in this case it be a free supply of seeds and fertilizers, I presume to meet the objectives to increase productivity and health of small farmholdings in the arable lands of Ethiopia.

    To implement the modified ATA project to ATP projects, even with current system of government, the concept of ATA must be reduced to a concept of of ATP and program of importing GMO seeds and fertlizers must be limited to mulitipying certified seeds or its equivalents adapted for Ethiopia in ARDU and WADU like settings in ecosystem management approach of the arable lands of Ethiopia and making full and effective use of the funds from the Bill Gates foundations disbursed through the UNDP hiring outside experties and monitoring the progress of the ATP projects, which is different from the current set up.

  23. love
    | #23


    What is the purpose of farmers producing food? To provide healthy and nutritious food available for a nation at the same time farmers live in just economic system where they are able to grow food and at the same time benefit themselves. It shouldn’t be based what the farmers want, it should be what the nation want when it comes to food production. You mean the farmer can do what they want even if they produce unhealthy food using GMOs what not, that is risky for population as long certain farmers can get more benefit than other farmers for mass production and benefit by growing unhealthy food for a nation? I don’t mind if any farmers benefit without monopoly but their main purpose should be have food available that is nutrious and does not have bad effect in the long run for a nation eating this food. What they should be encourage is also food production using advanced tecnology in terms of tractors, etc. I also do not oppose to as Aha explained above that technology that makes drought and disease resistant method can be used of course but the issue coming from seed companies maybe different and different agenda.

  24. ጉረኞች
    | #24

    We need to remember farmers suffered the most from cyclic drought and poverty. All those emaciated faces we see in TVs are farmers, although you might argue the starved urban dwellers have increased by many folds during woyane regime. I do not agree with the idea that poor subsistence farmers should be responsible to carry the burden of the nation. They should be offered full right on what to grow in their pieces of land, except harmful drugs. My understanding is all GMOs are not the same. Some GMOs are not that bad as they are portrayed by environmentalist. The dangerous one are the so called germination terminators which were designed, in the first place, for large scale farmers in developed countries.

    I completely agree with your assessment. The Agency has no purpose as it is duplicate of the already existing agencies. It was created none other than complete control of the project by TPLF mafia. With regard to which varieties to grow, I still believe that the choice should be left to farmers. There are a lot of high yielding varieties bred locally, these varieties might be superior from varieties imported by the project. It is waste of time and resources to import unfamiliar varieties to farmers and convince convince them to grow. The point is farmers will be forced to take the package (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, etc all together) instead of picking what they want and leaving out they do not want. If farmers have the choice they might take the fertilizer and leave out the seeds and pesticides or some kind of combinations depending on their own experience and need. That, I think the project will not allow them to do.

  25. aha!
    | #25

    Love! I believe the GMO seeds are genetically engineered varieties by recombination of genes for high yield, while the nutient value of the grain crops remains in tact and perhaps not for drought and frost resistant barley or other crops locally by experts at the Ethiopian Research Organization. Grains for humanitarian as well as for sowing along fertilizers are imported from abroad, thus creating a demand for seeds and fertilizers in the developing countries for multi-national corporations, since in the case of Ethiopia there are no drought and frost resistant varieties and certified sedd production stations as well as producing food grains under irrigation with long term development aid program to mitigate droughts and possibly curb inflation in a country trapped a system of government trapped under ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism that does not allow free market capitalism and totalianism to say the least that individual freedom, liberty and equality has been superceded by ethnic and secessionist rights coupled with totalirianism; a system/constitution that is permeated by exploitation, political and economic strangle hold of the countries resources by TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises, cadres, foreign corporations and countries to say the least about the degradation of soil and water resources of pristine lands.

Comments are closed.