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Gutting Agricultural Research Kills!

April 15, 2008 (EIRNS)—"Now we're paying the price for decades of neglect of agricultural research," said Robert Zeigler, Director General of the International Rice Research Institute, based in the Philippines. The IRRI is one of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) institutions around the world, set up under the initiative of Franklin Roosevelt's Vice President Henry Wallace, which have been the backbone of the Green Revolution since World War II. Zeigler, in an interview with EIR in December 2006, warned precisely of the current grain disaster if the collapse of grain stocks (due to globalization dictates), the gutting of research funding to the CGIAR and related institutes, and the insanity of biofuels were not immediately reversed.

The IRRI newsletter for April-June 2008 quotes the former head of the Thai Rice Exporters Association claiming that the price of rice "will have to rise to the point where rice can compete financially with fuel crops," which demonstrates the urgency of the call by Lyndon and Helga LaRouche to immediately end Al Gore's biofuel genocide.

The same newsletter reports that recent pledges of funding for IRRI from Japan, Germany and the UK, are being eaten up by cuts in aid from the US. IRRI is increasingly dependent on donations from the Bill Gates Foundation to sustain even their slower pace of research, even while the growth of per-acre yields stagnates, and famine spreads worldwide.

During the same time period that the IRRI and sister R&D centers experienced funding cuts, research results for seed improvements were—for the first time in history—allowed to be patented by Cargill, Monsanto and others of the agro-cartel, which are now making a killing off biofuels and food shortages.