The Silent Bomb and Monsanto’s Mistake

In 2008 a Silent Bomb struck South Africa, the massive fallout and shockwaves ran unnoticed throughout our society. People may have complained about the rising prices in shops, and wondered why the government has not fixed the problem. However they have no idea what caused the problem, they just sit around and wonder at the rising cost of food.

The bomb that struck is significant to every person in this country and will have far reaching ramifications for neighboring countries that used to rely on our food production. 2008 was the first year in over 70 years of agricultural production that we became a NET FOOD IMPORTER! Up to this point South Africa was a NET FOOD EXPORTER, what this means is simple, but tragic. We are no longer able to produce enough food to satisfy our own needs, we now have to import food to feed the people of this country. The ramifications of this are far reaching and it will strike every person in this country. However it’s the middle and lower classes that will be hit the hardest. The rich may just downgrade slightly and not feel the effects. They generally have a wider financial buffer before their lifestyles are negatively affected. The poor and middle class very often have a thin or no buffer to keep the wolf of hunger away from the door.

The very first thing that will happen, and this we have seen over the last year is that food prices will continue to increase. Guys, let’s be realistic. Once you start importing food there are additional charges and fees (transport, duties, margins, commissions etc) that need to be added onto the basic cost of the product. This will all get passed onto us, they will not take the knock. So be ready for prices to keep going up.

With more and more of South Africa’s basic requirements being imported, very soon you will see our trade deficit start to grow to proportions that are unmanageable and it will start to impact on the broader lives and lifestyles in South Africa. We used to earn foreign currency every year with our food exports, now we have to purchase foreign currency (running up a trade deficit at the same time) to be able to buy food to feed our country, a country that just 2 years ago was self-sufficient, on the food side at least.

Next, the carbon footprint of South Africa goes out the window, and no amount of fancy carbon accounting will fix the problem. But here’s the wake-up call. The man in the street that is living on the breadline, does not give a fig about the carbon foot-print of any company. He wants food at a price that he can afford. Carbon footprints, Green energy, Eco-responsibility and all of those wonderful and commendable things mean nothing when a nation cannot feed its own.

The fastest way you as an individual can start getting some food security, is to grow your own. If you cannot take possession of your own food security, you will always be dependent on another. Be it your job, your local supermarket, your neighbor, your friends or family, local government or the State. If you are reliant on anyone they have a hold over you. Or on the flip side if they cannot get supplies, no matter how much money you have, you will not be able to purchase anything.

Look at our recent elections for example. The ANC used food vouchers to secure votes. I witnessed this firsthand where the ANC was handing out food vouchers for a local shop to ‘supporters’ that had to hand their ID books to ANC officials. They were then told that they would be able to check if they did not vote ANC. (Please note that these were ordinary people that approached the ANC on the street, and not people on bona fide State support) This is a typical example of using food for political ends. And it’s not a new practice, ZANU-PF is doing the same in Zimbabwe and many other countries have used the same tactic. Even the UN will use food to control people. As is evidenced in one of my favorite quotes:  “Food is power. We use it to change behavior. Some may call that bribery. We do not apologize.” Catherine Bertini, UN World Food Program Executive Director. The question is, do you want to be reliant on another for your family’s welfare? Or is it wise to leave your families welfare and food security in the hands of another. Personally I don’t think so. It is your duty as a parent to be able to support your own family and if possible to have enough to share charitably or otherwise.

Please do not think of this as a scare tactic, this is reality. Trying to ignore it does nothing for your own food security. Take a look at the breadbasket and previous poster child of Africa, Zimbabwe. Not one of the expats or refugees that are leaving that country in droves, thought that they would have to find employment elsewhere to be able to feed their families. Simply put, all that happened was that Mugabe took the productive farms away from the people that were feeding the country (and the rest of the world).

I’d like you to have a look at this book (Downloadable Free). This is a chilling account of what is happening to South Africa’s productive farms. It’s happening quietly and with State backing to ensure that they keep their promises to the voting masses. In my mind it looks like they have not given any thought to the long-term consequences of their actions. All they want is to remain in power and not disillusion the masses. If food prices go up, so what. We can always import more from elsewhere. Our situation as a new Net Food Importer means drastic action needs to be taken.

The only problem we have is that a couple of other countries have also recently become net importers of food. Amongst them are The USA, China, India, Malaysia, the UK and Japan. Every one of these countries is on the offensive and they have, or are in the process of setting up long-term forward contracts for food supply with the few countries worldwide that are still net exporters. There is only a finite amount of ‘excess’ food in the world. Where is South Africa in this race you may ask? Well our guys have not even woken up yet to the fact that we are up a creek and there isn’t even a mielie cob around to help us row.

We have not even discussed the threat of GMO foods that have been forced onto the South African public without any public participation. The large GMO producers have successfully made South Africa a GMO laboratory where Heirloom, Traditional and Open Pollinated varieties have been infected with GMO pollen. ‘All the evidence’ shows that GMO is the best thing since sliced bread, however the problem we have is that all of the evidence is slanted and prepared by a) GMO houses b) Scientists that have their research grants supplied by GMO houses or c) Universities that are sponsored by GMO houses. All impartial evidence is wiped sorry forced sorry explained away and serious anecdotal evidence is discredited as not having any scientifically credible weight, as it’s not…… scientific. However here is some anecdotal evidence that is pretty indisputable.

What is scary for me is how little information is out there on this specific GM crop failure (or any others for that matter).  My question on this issue is twofold. First, the farmers have been gagged from speaking out about what happened. Why? This is a free country, or is it only free if you toe the line? What threats were made to these farmers? And who was in on the threats? Second, the farmers got paid out for their losses. However they have also lost an entire growing season. The food that they tried to grow cannot be replaced by money, as the cash value of the payout is far lower than what the food value of the expected crop was. Also we will have to import additional maize to make-up the shortfall of the Monsanto Mistake. What happens in a world where every crop is a GMO and there is a colossal Monsanto Mistake? Will they feed us with paper bills? In this mistake 200 000 hectares was lost, working at a conservative harvest of 4 tons per hectare that’s 800 000 tons of food. The retail value of that food is R 2 400 000 000.00 (working on R 3,00 per kg of maize meal) In English it’s over 2.4 Billion rand that’s been lost to our economy, and I’m being conservative.

People, You need to wake-up and look at taking control of your own personal food security. You can do this by planting your own veggie garden, plant a few fruit trees and one or two nut trees, you will not regret the small investment that you make in your food security, especially when prices start to go through the roof. When looking at food security you need to take into account the sustainability of what you are planting. The very first step is to look at the seed you are planting. Can you take the seed from the fruits of you labor and re-plant them? If you are planting hybrids and GMO seeds there is no way that you will be able to re-use the seed. Hybrids will not breed true to type and GMO’s in my opinion are a massive risk, health wise and possibly will not be able to reproduce anyway (they have been engineered that way). Or if you do re-use GMO seeds you may wind up like this farmer, who never even purchased  GMO seed.

Every single seed that you can purchase on this site WILL breed true to type, we have a growing (‘scuze the pun) selection of seed that will give you the ability to reuse the seed from your harvests, year after year without the need to rely on any third party to provide you with specialized Hybrid or GMO seed at exorbitant costs and conditions.  Our seeds have historical, production, taste, history and self-sustainability as the foundation of what we supply. When God made these seeds, he made them perfect for our needs. Man has never been able to improve on the original design by genetic manipulation. Help keep it that way by growing Traditional and Heirloom seeds.

What’s in my Garden?

With winter now firmly entrenched, what’s left is to clean-up from the last harvests of summer. We picked our Gooseberry bushes over and had cooked oats for breakfast with the last of the Gooseberries. Nicola has kept a whole lot aside for jam and I have a whole lot washed and drying for seed. Our stocks of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower continue to be reduced, by ourselves, the pig’s and Lacy our Dexter cow. We still have peas, carrots and beetroot that we can pull fresh over winter but I’m afraid we did not plant smart enough with the rest. Well, hindsight is an exact science. At least we have the stored harvests that we ‘put by’.

Most of the trees in the orchard have lost all of their leaves, it’s only the apple and pear trees that are stubbornly keeping their greenery. Everything else has died back. Most evenings I’ll go out and have a look at where the pruning cuts will need to be made in mid July. I love pruning, and watching the response the following season.

Our wheat is coming on nicely and I can’t wait to harvest our fresh wheat in spring. As for the rest of the garden we have added in a few extra beds so that we can expand our main garden for better planting of required crops. Now it’s a case of maximizing the manufacture of compost for the spring season. I’m fortunate in the fact that I have a friendly neighbor that often drops a few cubes of kraal manure off for me. This compliments the pigs, sheep, chicken and our two cows additions to the compost heaps.

The Edible Quote

“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independant, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to it’s liberty and interests by the most lasting bands.”

Thomas Jefferson 1785