La "Patate Bt", nécessaire comme mamelle sur un taureau!

"Maintenant que les fermiers sont plus instruits et qu'ils commençent à comprendre que la grosse industrie est seulement là pour "faire de l'argent", on ne peut qu'espérer  qu'ils vont reprendre en main le contrôle de leurs fermes avant qu'il soit trop tard et avant que les "Monsanto" du monde aient le contrôle complet de notre production alimentaire!"

Ronald Fournier nous parle de certaines pratiques agricoles, y compris une manière de vérifier la santé des plantes de patates et la relation avec le doryphore de la pomme de terre.

The "BT Potato":
As unnecessary as a teat on a boar hog

 

Ronald Fournier
President, Clearinghouse Group
Past president, Ford Alward Naturalist Association
Owner of Negentropy Farms & Phytotherapy Clinic
Consultant in Ecological Agriculture

July 1999

 

b.gif (429 bytes)eware of Greeks bearing gifts" is what the seer says to the Trojans when they receive their "wooden horse" in The Odyssey! The same could be said of Monsanto when offering the Bt potato to farmers. Here is a good example of a product which wasn't necessary in the first place, being foisted upon farmers and consumers as the "ideal" alternative to insecticides, when the very need of using those insecticides has been encouraged all along by those very corporations who made loads of money from bad farming practices and products that lead to the very "insect problem" they claim to fight!

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When the soil is in balance and healthy, when the soil microbial life is thriving and making available to the plant roots those minerals and micronutrients they need, the plant itself is healthy. When the plant is as healthy as it should be, there is no need for insecticides because the plant itself will fight off this predator! Shocking, eh?! I can see the so-called "Agriculture experts" laughing and imagining hordes of Colorado Potato Beetles (CPB) invading such a field. After all, "they" have been well conditioned to believe that theirs is the only way to farm!

In "Ecological Agriculture", the aim is to bring back health to the soil life. But why is it that we "need" to bring "it" back? Because it was taken away, depressed, put down and totally discounted as important to crop production.

One way to check and endeavour to improve the plant’s health is by checking the percentage of sucrose or degree of Brix content of the plant’s own juices. We extract some juice from the plant (leaf and/or stalk) and measure the amount of dissolved solids and sugar in that juice. The higher the Brix content, the healthier the plant! In most chemical intensive and short rotation potato fields these days, one can usually expect a Brix of 3 (poor health) to 5 (average but still unhealthy). When you check a potato plant grown under good conditions where soil life is healthy and the mineral content is sufficient and bio-available, we can see that the Brix is higher.

When you get a potato that shows a Brix of 8 or more, this is a different animal altogether. When you get to a Brix of 10 and 12, CPBs don’t bother it. Why? Because there is a "check and balance" built in with Nature. A really healthy plant (not the one that just looks good to the Agriculture-rep and/or the farmer driving by quickly in a pick-up truck), has a sugar content high enough that even if the CPB tries to eat it, that sugar will turn to alcohol inside the insect’s stomach and it will die of alcohol toxicity!!

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(photo: Consumers Association of Canada)

 

The way Nature has evolved and established balances is such that every species has its own niche and reason for being. Nature is not perfect; it constantly evolves and establishes new balances until it reaches some degree of equilibrium (and we humans are part of that process, at least the animal part of us is). The CPB, like many insect species, is a predator whose job it is to eliminate "that which is weak and should not reproduce", much like the wolf and coyote go for the weak animal in the herds before considering the healthy ones. Plants under stress exude a "stress ethanol" that enables insects to home in on the weak and attack it.

I always get a kick from the farmers who tell me that the CPB is "out to get them" and must be killed at "all cost" (and " pay" they do!). After talking for a while, most of them will have a tale about this field that grandpa never put fertilizers in, or that never had potatoes, or hasn't seen potatoes for 10 years or more, etc. And they’ll say that they planted potatoes there and, lo and behold, there were no CPBs there, or so few that it wasn't worth spraying. In the next field, the CPB had just about wiped out the crop and/or they had to spray quite a bit to save it.

They can’t understand why (and sadly, many don't try) the CPB ignored that neighboring field full of lush potato plants. Sadly, if Monsanto and the official "Agriculture reps" told them why, they might listen, but herein lies the trick! Monsanto sold them lots of chemicals over the years; now it’s trying to appear "green" by selling farmers a genetically modified potato that contains a BT gene (Bacillus Thuringiensis) to make the CPB sick and to kill it and then make the claim that farmers won't have to use that "bad insecticide" anymore! There is no need for that BT potato in the first place; there never was!! All that is needed is for potato growers to "grow up" and realize that they have to take back their farms well in hand and to stop relying on big business for advice on how to grow their own crops. That’s the farmer’s job. Industry has succeeded, with the help of Agriculture Department’s people trained by colleges "it" funded, in "dumbing down" the farmer and getting him to rely on outside "solutions" (pun intended).

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The farmer is probably one of the most intelligent people on this Earth. My favorite definition of "Intelligence" is "the ability to use and plan the use of all of those things available for the purpose at hand". The farmer has to do this all the time while factoring in variables such weather, season, seeds, livestock, breeding time, plowing, sowing, harvesting, and the list goes on and on.

Especially since WWII, industry has capitalized on this by telling the farmer: "Don’t worry about this or that, we have the solution for you to save you time and money"(HA!). Rural people tend to be trusty and so relied on the information they were given by the so-called "educated" people. Well, no more (I hope)! Now that farmers are becoming more educated and understand that industry is just in it for the money, one can only hope that they will take back their farms before it’s too late and before the Monsanto’s of the world have complete control of our food system! As a farmer put it: " The BT Potato is just about as necessary as a teat on a boar hog"!!!