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WEST AFRICA: Black-Eyed Peas Key to Economic Development

Society & Culture  (tags: world, society, politics, culture, economy, development )

- 2758 days ago -
The black-eyed pea, commonly known as the cowpea, is the new kid on the block when it comes to improving the welfare of women and their families in West Africa, researchers say

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patrica and edw jones (190)
Saturday October 2, 2010, 12:37 am
These poor people - our hearts go out to them for their resourcefulness in the face of adversity. God Bless them.

Philippa P (154)
Saturday October 2, 2010, 2:12 am
Women can be so resourceful, especially if they are trying to feed their children. I hope their circumstances improve. They deserve it.

Jytte Nhanenge (64)
Saturday October 2, 2010, 10:08 am
Thank you for the post Cal.

On the surface this looks like a good idea. The cowpea is healthy, thus it may improve nutrition in African children, which is extremely important. Moreover, the peas are used for income generation, which will benefit women who badly need to increase their income, since data informs us that 70 percent of the absolute poor are women. However, as we should know by now, as soon as there is money to earn, corporations enter the scene. That seems also to be the case here, because there is something about the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), which is not altogether right. On their website they say: “IITA is Africa’s leading research partner in finding solutions for hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. Our award-winning research for development (R4D) addresses the development needs of sub-Saharan Africa. We work with partners to enhance crop quality and productivity, reduce producer and consumer risks, and generate wealth from agriculture. We are a nonprofit organization founded in 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and supported primarily by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR, We work on the following crops: Global: cowpea, soybean, banana/plantain, and yam, sub-Saharan Africa: cassava and maize”

Then I checked their primary supporter CGIAR on the below URL: Among its partners are the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation! As you may be aware, Care2 and SEN are in the middle of a petition against Gates Foundation for investing millions of dollars in Monsanto, the huge food corporation that is promoting patented GMO globally. In addition, together with the Rockefeller Foundation, the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation have founded Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) of which also CGIAR is a partner. AGRA intends to expand the flawed Green Revolution and its chemical agriculture to Africa. It will mean that the precarious African soils will be toxified, while the limited water resources will be exploited for the purpose of profit making to the elite. I will not here mention all the negative side effects from scientific agriculture. Please see the petition letter to Gates Foundation on the below SEN link (and please sign the various petitions against GMO, Monsanto and Gates if you have not already):

Gates is not only involved with Monsanto financially they also seem to share staff:

Although it is not (yet) legal in Africa (apart from in South Africa) one must expect that AGRA and friends will introduce the GMO seeds for two reasons: GMO is a natural extension of chemical agriculture and Gates is involved with Monsanto. Have a look at Kathy’s post:

There is big money in GMO and Gates does not invest in anything that does not give profit! In fact his Foundation seems to be more interested in profit making than poverty alleviation. Have a look at this link, which Kathy also found:

Back to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in Nigeria: This URL shows their investors and donors:, among them is Chemonics International Rockefeller Foundation United States Agency for International Development Norway

Do you recall that Rockefeller, Gates and the Norwegian government are storing seeds at the "Doomsday Seed Vault" on the Svalbard in the Arctic? Have a look at the scary explanation in the below link which I believe Tippers found for us some times back.

However not all is bad. One of the IITA donors promote organic cocoa and fair trade
International Fund for Agricultural Development

When we do not know what it means to enhance the crop quality of the cowpea, we need to be suspicious as soon as we notice that IITA and CGIAR are connected to Gates, Rockefeller and hence indirectly also to Monsanto. My best guess is that these healthy peas eventually will become engineered and developed into an expensive crop that will be patented and owned by the rich corporations. As we know from experience that means poverty and hunger for the poor women and children in Africa. Hence, those well meaning people who initiated the activity will feel cheated.

I must add that it was my friends Kathy and Julie who found out about the shady part of the cowpeas. Kathy had found a similar article to this one, but after Julie’s splendid “detective mind” scrutinized the issue, Kathy did not want to post it in order not to confuse people. Nevertheless, after having considered it a bit further, I think it was good you posted it Cal. It gave me the opportunity to research it more and thus to comment on it. We need to learn and understand the manipulative strategies of these profit seeking entities. Thus, whenever we discuss poverty alleviation and feeding the hungry, we must be extremely suspicious and careful because everywhere in the food chain we will find these greedy corporations ready for their catch. Hence, I owe my new found suspicion to my friends Julie and Kathy.

Peter B (54)
Saturday October 2, 2010, 1:25 pm
noted and shared thankyou Cal

Past Member (0)
Saturday October 2, 2010, 4:12 pm
Noted, thanks. I hope the dream for improvement isn't marred by GMOs, which would be even worse.

Julie P (154)
Saturday October 2, 2010, 6:44 pm
Many are looking to science to resolve the issue of hunger, without taking other factors into account.

If you wanted to assist African farmers to achieve sustainable farming practices in a deforested, desertified area with degraded soil and limited water which of the following would you choose?

A) Focus on soil improvement, replanting of native trees and crops from heritage seeds chosen for their performance in the specific environment or,

B) Focus on genetically engineered crops and pesticides that the farmers would be required to purchase every year, as the GMO seeds may not be saved. GMO crops with the associated impacts on health, soil and water from pestcide use.

In my opinion, for true sustainability, the control of seeds must be in the hands of the farmers and the enviornment must be protected from further degradation..

Sunday October 3, 2010, 12:58 am
Thank you for sharing Cal!
Still thinking about Jytte Nhanenge comment... And hope for the best!

Past Member (0)
Sunday October 3, 2010, 2:12 am
Thank you for doing all the research Jytte, good job. It's always important to look behind all the PR hype.

Good point, Julie.

Beverly L (72)
Sunday October 3, 2010, 6:48 am
Never underestimate the power and resourcefulness of a woman, especially when it comes to taking care of her family.

Past Member (0)
Sunday October 3, 2010, 8:28 am
Jytte, I didn't read your comment carefully enough this morning.
Thank you also to Julie and Kathy for the detective work, great job.

Gary C (5)
Sunday October 3, 2010, 9:13 am
noted thankyou....

julia C (42)
Sunday October 3, 2010, 11:51 am
here we go again. it sounds good, but when i hear they want to start making peas that are easier for this better for that, aren't we back to hybrids which are the next bad thing after gmo?
immediatley any kind of diversity wants to be eliminated.
corn doesn't get classified by the size of the kernel or the size of the cobb or the hieght of the plant or the colour... and so on.... now it is how many bushels per acre. The Omnivore's Dilemma by micheal pollan explains it a lot beter.

julia C (42)
Sunday October 3, 2010, 11:58 am
thank you jytte for your great imput.
for those to come who read this article i suggest strongly that you read JYTTE's comment.

Mrs Shakespeare (35)
Sunday October 3, 2010, 11:40 pm
ROFL I seriously thought you meant the band! xD
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