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Fuuuuu....dge... (Rajiv Shah Nominated to USDA)

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 15:30:26 PM PDT

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I was just finishing up a post about the USDA's new organic garden when I got an email (subject: Second Green Revolution, anyone?). Yikes! So I went to have a look. We've got a new nominee to the USDA. I guess after they nominated Kathleen Merrigan to the Deputy post and Doug O'Brien as her Chief of Staff, they felt that their "sustainable ag" quota among USDA leadership was filled? Perhaps the decided to balance it out by looking for the biggest douchebag they could find?

The nominee is Rajiv Shah as Under Secretary of Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist at USDA. And who's Rajiv Shah? He's the Director of the Agricultural Development Program at the Gates Foundation. In other words, he's the guy heading up all of the bad shit going on around the world.

And... here's what Vilsack thinks about him:

Dr. Rajiv Shah is a globally recognized leader in science, health and economics ... disciplines that are critical to the missions of this department," said Vilsack. As Director of the Agricultural Development Program at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rajiv has a profound influence on helping the world's poor lead healthy and productive lives. With his extensive background, Rajiv will help guide advances in food safety, nutrition, energy and climate, agricultural productivity, and global food security-to name a few of USDA's challenges.

I don't know much about Shah as a person, but I am incredibly frustrated by the destructive and paternalistic approach the Gates Foundation has taken to "help" the developing world feed itself. They are pushing to continue and expand all of the worst of Western agriculture into the developing world, to essentially privatize the means of food production. And they are doing this despite the harmful results the same approach has already had in other parts of the world. So now they'll have their man on the inside. Terrific.

UPDATE: Here is what the NY Times had to say about Shah.

Jill Richardson :: Fuuuuu....dge... (Rajiv Shah Nominated to USDA)
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Yet another reason... (4.00 / 3) keep fighting!

Lest anyone out there had thought about taking a rest...

I wonder (4.00 / 2)
if Bill and Melinda eat that crap.  You can bet they won't ever live near those fields or eat that food.

Maybe Not (0.00 / 0)
There is a lot of very interesting work going on behind the scenes on creating seeds for poor people around the world.  Dr. Howard Shapiro, founder of Seeds of Change, is working with dozens of plant breeders to develop crops that can grow in various parts of the world where there is subsistence farming. The concept is to create seeds that can be drought tolerant, or thrive in tropical climates or any other challenging environments.  They will not focus on 1 grain, but look at local or indigenous crops help keep as much of the local culture intact.

He personally challenged Monsanto to use their talents to support the same cause.  NOT with GMO seeds, there are, according to Howard, a dozen ways to alter seeds that do not include GMO.

The challenge was very specific. We are developing these seeds to give them away for free to poor farmers.  You can join us, or try to sell your seeds to countries that receive our free seed.

The Gates foundation is in conversations with Howard on utilizing these new seeds once they are commercially available.

hmmm (0.00 / 0)
i'm not so sure we should be so fast to jump to judgement with him.

i think the fact that someone like him was even appointed is a step in the right direction at least.

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