DECEMBER 11, 2012
Illustrating that government spending has spiraled out of control, the U.S. is dedicating millions of dollars to improve the production of the common bean in order to help the world’s “food insecure” areas like Africa.
It’s a tough pill to swallow as the homeland suffers through a growing financial crisis and a mind-boggling $16 trillion deficit, not to mention record unemployment. The Obama Administration always seems to find plenty of cash to support its favorite leftwing causes, both in the U.S. and abroad.
In this case American taxpayers will dole out $4.5 million to support research that will ultimately improve the common bean, a main staple produced throughout the world’s food insecure areas, including East and South Africa. The goal is to solve critical production and disease constraints in a crop that is the primary staple for more than 200 million Africans, according to an announcement issued this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Of particular interest to USDA officials is that beans are “cultivated mostly by women.”
The bean study is part of President Obama’s global hunger and food security initiative (Feed the Future) which essentially finances costly projects that supposedly address the root cause of hunger and poverty as well as long term solutions to “food insecurity.” This is done by linking U.S. research and scientific innovations to effective adaptations in the fields across developing countries, in this case Africa.
“Over the next 50 years, we will need to produce roughly as much food for the world’s population as has been produced in the entire history of mankind,” said Catherine Woteki, USDA’s Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. “A challenge this serious and urgent requires the best and brightest ideas in food and agricultural science.” Not surprisingly, this doesn’t come cheap.
The $4.5 million for this particular project will be divided by five research institutions, most of which are already publicly funded. Michigan State University will get the biggest chunk, $1.9 million, to develop common bean germplasm with resistance to major soil pathogens in East Africa. The University of Nebraska will get over $1.3 million to reduce fungal problems in common bean breeds in Eastern and Southern Africa and Iowa State University $250,000 to study the reproducible transformation system for the common bean. Cornell University, the only private recipient, is getting $1 million to study beans in Western Kenya.
Indeed this is a noble cause, but it’s highly likely that there are plenty of domestic programs deserving of these funds. To tackle food insecurity in the U.S. the Obama Administration is doling out record numbers of food stamps and offering states cash rewards to sign up the most recipients. As a result a record 48 million people receive food stamps in the U.S., according to the latest government figures.
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