January 30, 2010

rice politics

Published on Saturday, January 30, 2010 by The Nation
'New Haiti,' Same Corporate Interests

by Isabel Macdonald

In the wake of the earthquake that has killed more than 100,000 people in Haiti, the foreign ministers of several countries calling themselves the "Friends of Haiti" met on Monday in Montreal to discuss plans for "building a new Haiti." Participants in the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti, who included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; representatives of international financial institutions including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive came to what Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, the conference chair, referred to as a "road map towards Haiti's reconstruction and development." However, the Latin American countries of ALBA--the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas--who held a counter-conference, and several grassroots Haiti solidarity organizations, who organized protests outside the conference, expressed skepticism that the "Friends of Haiti" and the international financial institutions would work to further the interests of ordinary Haitians.

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The West Indies Free Zone "tax-exempt plants assembling for export, which are known as maquiladoras in Spanish. "The investment climate [in Haiti] is much warmer than the temperature in this room," Canadian ambassador Gilles Rivard remarked at a conference, with North American apparel firms—Gap, Levi Strauss and American Eagle Outfitters and from Citibank and Scotiabank. The New York Times correspondent noted that "Haiti's extremely low labor costs, comparable to those in Bangladesh," are what "make it so appealing." (NYT, Oct. 5)"

Interest in Haiti's maquiladora sector seems to have grown after the government turned back efforts earlier this year to raise the minimum wage in the industry to 200 gourdes a day (about $4.97)".

from here

January 21, 2010

Trails of the Triffid

"If you're going to play around with [genetically modified] crops, once the genie's out of the bottle, once it's in the environment, you can't control it,"

"Mysteriously, Triffid has reappeared in commercial crops".

Flax is mainly self-pollinated but around five percent of pollination occurs through insects. There are no prolific wild relatives in Canada that cross with flax.
Yet it spreading through the prairies and ending up overweight in the inspector's samples, and in organic fields? Like transgenic corn in Mexico, flax has been prohibited and yet contamination is widespread and significant in both countries, both crops. Is this a covert policy to slip in genes in the genome and win compliance with inevitability of its spread?

Alan McHughen (read about him in Brewster's Kneen's book Farmageddon, which if you cannot find in your library is available here www.ramshorn.ca. McHughen is the designer of the GMO flax and apparently promoted his book with a big mail out of packages of Triffid flax.

And then there is this:

SASKATOON, SK—Grain company Viterra wants to force all farmers wishing to grow flax in 2010 to purchase certified seed. A Viterra spokesman delivered that message in a presentation on January 11 at the Crop Production Show in Saskatoon.
Viterra and others are pushing the requirement for certified seed as a purported solution to the problem of the Triffid contamination in flax shipments to Europe. Triffid is a genetically modified variety not approved in Europe. But the NFU believes that the proposed certified seed cure is the wrong one, and that there will be long-lasting and negative side effects.
“The best solution is to test the seed supply, both farm-saved seed and certified seed,” said NFU President and flax producer Terry Boehm. He continued: “It is false to simply assume that certified seed is safer than farm-saved. For one thing, it is almost certain that the certified seed system is the source of the Triffid contamination farmers are now facing. Furthermore, it has now been determined that two varieties of flax are contaminated with Triffid at the breeder seed level".

More from the NFU

here's to the right to choose raw milk

Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt walks out of a Newmarket courthouse not guilty of bovine milky mischief.

"The judgment is the culmination of a three-year legal battle that has made Mr. Schmidt a star in a growing international food-rights movement fuelled by mistrust of the industrial food system.
Today's ruling means that raw, or unpasteurized, milk produced by Mr. Schmidt's cows – heritage Canadiennes bred near the town of Durham, Ont. – can legally be distributed to the small network of consumers who have bought “cow shares” in exchange for access to the animals' unprocessed milk". Globe story

And Michael Schmidt’s blog.