On Thursday, November 22nd the AP Human Geography class had the pleasure of visiting the West African Headquarters of ICRISAT. Below you read about the vision and mission of ICRISAT and two students' opinion on GMOs. Also, you can see the whole AP HG class learning about sorghum and millet. Visiting ICRISAT was very educational and great way to learn more about how some AISB parents are working to improve the world in which we live.
ICRISAT which is a non-profit organization that is working on agricultural research. The mission mission is to reduce poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation in dryland tropics and create a vision of a prosperous, food-secure and resilient dryland tropics where it will not be hard to get food because they work on ways to improve agriculture in places with a dry climate. ICRISAT is now working in 55 countries with a semi-arid climate where they grow crops like millet, groundnut and sorghum.
There is one main biotechnology company in the US called Bayer that produces chemicals that are used as herbicides and creates many GMOs. This company is a private company, meaning that it is not being subsidised by the government therefore, the company works for the profit. The main goal of this company is to create/come up with solutions against the increasing population and world hunger, surely, so why does it have to be involved with politics? Why should we let people that have little knowledge in biotechnology decide for hundreds of people? Why should let those people interests rule over a large number of human lives?
Bayer is a company that seems to have as first goal to improve the economy and bring more money into rich people's pockets, rather than improving human lives and bring safety to poor people. Bayer works towards the greater good of commercial farming. It is not beneficial at all for small farmers. Small farmers usually use organic seeds and not modified seeds. To get those modified seeds they oftentimes have to collaborate with those big companies and start getting involved in some shady businesses and end up struggling because there is only one rule in the contract,” ride or die” . Since GMO seeds are not natural, small farmers can not grow seeds and then keep some of the seeds that have been collected to plant them again. You can only use those seeds once.
In Mali, ICRISAT, works towards the greater good of the population as a whole in order to give them a better life, without profiting from them. They use the government aides, in order to help small farmers improve their conditions of life by helping them increasing their incomes. In general, small farmers do not have a stable lifestyle, but with the help of NGOs such as ICRISAT, they can meet their family needs and their commerce.
From my point of view, ICRISAT does not really create GMOs, but rather creates Smart Food. They look for different ways to improve crops and seeds, make it easier for small farmers. Instead of coming up with a all new seed that didn't exist before.