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Scrutiny
  
Live hungry? Or die eating GM?
The US vs EU trade war is stupidly ignoring millions of poor Africans
21/08/2008

Africa is experiencing the worst, not only because it is poor but also because the unending US-EU trade war which is going on for decades, is forcing millions of them to live in starvation.

Numerous think-tanks across the US and EU have analysed the trade war, but very few have expressed their concerns over its implications in third world countries. The trade war started in 1989 with US’s excessive export of hormone-treated beef to Europe. EU suddenly banned beef exports from the US and appealed to WTO on ‘human health grounds’. In reality, the EU was frightened as the beef market was gradually being monopolised by US exporters. US reacted belatedly in 1993 accusing EU of having a discriminatory trade policy for Carribean banana producers! When US envisioned grasping the world food market by inventing genetically modified (GM) foods, EU completely denied the exports of such ‘stuff’. US refuted EU’s allegation of social, economic and ecological hazards. But as the ‘war’ continues, EU’s warning against GM crops has left Africans in a dilemma. Zimbabwe, Zambia Uganda and many others are frightened to accept GM foods as this may ruin Africa’s relations with Europe; subsequently, Africa may lose its agri-export business in Europe. Africa is also frightened of losing aid from the single largest continent to aid Africa, that is, Europe.

The question facing the world is, should one embrace abject poverty and killing hunger rather than accepting GM foods? Or does it make sense [even a little] to save a few hundred million people by taking a temporary chance on GM foods? We know of 315 million Africans and above, who continue to live – and die – in sickening hunger and abject poverty who’ll choose the latter option with some tears and many smiles...

By:- Akram Hoque
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