Countless of Maui County voters are campaigning over a measure that will prohibit the growth of GMO crops until studies conclude that they are safe for consumption. Mothers are going door-to-door in hopes that they will convince people to back the ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops, which are detrimental for human health. On the other hand, a group of people backed by companies that grow crops are referring to this measure as a ‘farming ban’ and they are urging its rejection.
The ballot measure is scheduled to be finalized on November 4. Since its announcement, dueling campaigns over the prohibition of cultivating genetically modified organisms until studies prove they are safe have erupted. This isn’t just a local problem for a county of 160.000 residents from the middle of the Pacific Ocean. As a matter of fact, the ban’s effects will ripple through the entire nation. That is because many corn-seed producers develop and research new varieties of GMO seeds at Maui’s farms.
However, if the motion is passed, seed development ill be more expensive for Monsanto Co. & Dow Chemical Co. Subsidiary, Dow AgroSciences, Kendall Lamkey, chairman at Iowa State University agronomy department says.
[quote]”It’s not going to stop it but it will slow it down. The companies will adapt. I mean there will probably be workarounds for this that may or may not cost more money and may or may not raise the cost of goods to our farmers.” – Chairman Kendall Lamkey[/quote]
Reports say that roughly 90% of the corn grown in the United States is genetically engineered and it was developed at Hawaiian farms. Although there has yet to be any proof that GMO seeds are not safe, as compared to its conventional counterparts, people are still afraid.
[quote]”Corporations can come in here and run our island as a chemical experiment where they ship out the profits and we have to deal with the pollutants?” – Mark Sheehan, leader of anti-GMO group behind the ban[/quote]
Both sides are extremely passionate in their claims. Activists have taunted each other at the Maui Fair this month. The Maui Fair is usually a laidback event with carnival rides and exhibitions. Sheehan, from the Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the Aina Movement (SHAKA Movement) group, is still holding community meetings. Mothers are particularly concerned about this situation. Reports say that at least 30 of them have been going door to door.
“I think about 600 doors a day, they’re knocking on. These are not paid employees.”
It is unclear which side will be victorious before Election Day, but the initiative might trip up Dow AgroScience’s global research pipelines if no legal challenge appears. Like many other multinational giants, the companies also conduct research in Hawaii because of the year-round warm weather (four crops per year instead of two). In other words, they are moving their research forward by two to four generations a year, instead of one.
“Just by pointing it out, we have raised an issue that has been buried here for a long time,” he said.