How IITA is destroying food biodiversity in Africa

Global Africans need to join revolutionary forces towards putting an end to the disruptive GMO agricultural practices that IITA is using to control Africa's food supply

InformAfrica reports on how the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is destroying Africa’s traditional agriculture and limiting food biodiversity on the continent, with the introduction of their controversial and health risky genetic engineering practices.

Yellow Cassava Nigeria GMO

Here is an image of the actual GMO Yellow Cassava, introduced in Nigeria by HarvestPlus/IITA

What is Food Biodiversity?

Generally speaking, food biodiversity is the production and consumption of food varieties: crops, livestock, vegetable, fish, fruits, etc., all of which are important source of nutrients.

Instead of encouraging the consumption of food varieties, agricultural biotech scientists with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) operating in Africa, are limiting biodiversity by genetically re-engineering Africa’s staple food crops.

Imagine instead of eating a combination of cassava, carrots, okra, sweet potato, vegetables, banana, etc. IITA scientists wants to limit our food choice by extracting certain DNA traits from let say carrots, okra, sweet potato, vegetables, banana; and inject these foreign genes into cassava for us to eat.

This brings us to the controversy surrounding cassava (traditionally white on the inside), which has now been genetically modified to include a synthetic form of beta-carotene that produces cassava tuber that is yellow on the inside.

The new gmo cassava is called “yellow cassava“, it is also misleadingly called “vitamin A cassava” or “cassavita“, with three controversial varieties (UMUCASS 36, UMUCASS 37, and UMUCASS 38) recently introduced in Nigeria by HarvestPlus and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

What is the claimed reason behind this new yellow GMO Cassava?

IITA says they want to help Africa combat vitamin A deficiency that leads to blindness. Therefore, the only solution they have is to systematically destroy cassava, one of Africa’s key food crops.

The other claimed reason by the IITA is that the yellow cassava would make Africa a fortune from agriculture because they engineered the yellow cassava to yield fast, yield more and have a longer shelf life.

You see: money is often the root of evil, and that’s one of the motives behind the GMO yellow cassava.


Nollywood actors to promote GMO Yellow Cassava to Nigerians

In a 2011 report, Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN) says the IITA is involved in GM research, and demanded the IITA to halt any research on genetically modified cassava in Nigeria, but they refused.

“We can get vitamin A from carrots,” Mariann Bassey, coordinator of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN), told reporters back in 2011 when the yellow GMO cassava was announced in Ibadan, Nigeria.

“We do not need this so called ‘biofortified’ cassava. Why will you (IITA) not leave this classic Southern crop alone?”

Bassey said biofortified cassava research was a replay of what she termed the ‘Golden Rice hoax’. According to Bassey, the infamous Golden Rice, developed in 1999 and offered as a panacea for vitamin A deficiency (VAD), had fundamental problems. She said an adult would need to eat around nine kg of cooked rice a day for the required intake of vitamin A, whereas eating just two carrots would suffice.

“We perfectly understand the lure for cassava, a staple food crop consumed by millions of people all over Nigeria and many parts of the world,’ said Bassey. ‘But aside from profits, you want to use this ‘biofortified’ gimmick as a major frontier for the control of the food supply of a vast number of our people and as an in-road for the legitimization of biotech crops in Nigeria.” (Source:

In case you didn’t know, the traditionally white and natural cassava plant (tuber, root and its leaves) is used in combination for the treatment of various ailments including inflammation, conjunctivitis, sores, diarrhea, flu, hernia, and several other health problems including cancer.

Now, with the introduction of genetically modified yellow varieties, Nigerians and Africans are left with undisclosed health risks associated with the GMO yellow cassava. To make situation worse, they are now deceiving local farmers to switch to yellow cassava instead.

Note that numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced around 1996 in the U.S. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise due to genetic engineering in food production. (Source)

Read more on the dangers of GMO foods in Africa below:

Information gathered from HarvestPlus / IITA website, shows their GMO agenda in Africa is sponsored by the following institutions:

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – sponsors GMO farming and lethal vaccines in Africa
  • Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  • European Commission
  • The International Fertilizer Group
  • International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI)
  • Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA)
  • Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)
  • Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture
  • United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID)
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • The World Bank
  • World Food Program

How is the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) destroying agriculture and food biodiversity in Africa?

IITA is destroying Africa’s traditional agricultural system and limiting food diversity on the continent, by introducing controversial and health risky genetic engineering practices that has been banned in many countries. GM and Biofortification in agriculture comes with risks–only the inventors and their corporate partners are promoting and forcing adoption of the bio-technology on farmers and consumers.

The question now is, how can global Africans join forces to put an end to this disruptive agricultural practices that the West is using to control Africa’s food supply?

Composed by Kevin Onuma, for
InformAfrica — Informing Africans on the continent and in diaspora

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