Ethiopia. Basket Case or Organic Horn of Plenty?
15th February, 2009
Ravaged for decades by famine and war, Ethiopia is trying to eliminate hunger for good with organic farming. Robin Maynard met the man spearheading the campaign
Dr Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, director-general of the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority, is dedicated to overturning the stereotypes of despair and dependency that attach to his country. A courteous, quietly spoken man, for the past 30 years he has been in the vanguard of driving an environmentally sound, grass-roots agricultural revolution in Ethiopia.
On top of that challenge, in recent years he has, as the spokesperson for the Africa Group in negotiations to establish the Cartagena protocol on trade in genetically-modiﬁed organisms, faced down global GM giants like Monsanto and Syngenta, refuting their claims that GM crops are the answer to Africa’s hunger and poverty. In 1998 he and representatives of all the African nations (bar South Africa) signed a declaration condemning Monsanto’s marketing attempts to characterise GM crops as the solution to world hunger. In 2000, along with international consumer and aid agencies, he was at the forefront in ﬁghting off US attempts to dump GM crops on Africa as ‘food aid’.
If Africa is, in Tony Blair’s words, the scar on the conscience of the world, then Ethiopia is surely an unhealed scab. Smarting from...
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