The Norman Transcript

Headlines

May 26, 2014

Seeds of hope in Bangladesh

NORMAN — Editors note: This is part two in a two part series on grassroots activism

Farida Akhter is a tiny woman by American standards. Her hair is streaked with gray and her face etched with lines created by long years of compassion and concern. Akhter lives halfway around the globe in the emerging nation of Bangladesh where she engages rural women in a variety of grassroots movements.

The battles she fights are familiar to environmental activists around the world, but in Bangladesh — a nation roughly the physical size of Oklahoma yet with a population of more than 160 million people — the stakes are even higher.

Third world, developing nations are prime targets for exploitation by multinational corporations. In addition to abundant natural resources, Bangladesh offers a plentiful, low-cost workforce with few government regulations and minimal enforcement of the regulations that do exist.

In an interview with the Transcript in January, Akhter expressed concern about genetically modified organisms and the potential loss of crop diversity. Bangladesh is a tropical country with year-long growing potential for various crops and great diversity of vegetables. Akhter said large multinational companies have planted tobacco and GMO eggplant for export on land that once grew food for this highly populated nation.

Akhter has written extensively about the role of women in food production. Her concerns with protecting sustainability, diversity and how GMOs affect food supply are the same issues expressed by Oklahomans and others throughout America.

“Control over seed is the lifeline of the farming community,” Akhter said in an essay on seed generation. “Women are the ones who conserve, propagate and germinate seeds. The loss of seeds from the household also meant the loss of power for women.”

Because GMOs are protected by patents, those who own the seeds control vast acres of cropland and thus, the food supply. To increase profitability and productivity, industrial agriculture introduces monoculture crops at the expense of diversity and, some say, nutritional and other quality values.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Injury accident reported

    Transcript Staff Emergency crews responded to an injury accident around 10:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of 80th Avenue Southeast where there were reports of someone pinned. Several reports indicated a vehicle struck a tree causing one ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Photo Slideshow: James Garner through the years

    Photos of James Garner...

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisons expand reach to bring training to more officers

    McALESTER — Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno....

    July 27, 2014

  • SWIMMER Aquatic center could serve many community needs

    Michael Yoch could have been the kid with asthma sitting on the sidelines — could have been, but wasn’t. Michael had trouble running because of his asthma, which made it difficult to play soccer and many other sports his friends loved. ...

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Director leaves decade of memories

    Maureen Dolan is giving up the post as director of St. Joseph’s Early Childhood Development Center, fondly called “St. Joe’s” by the many parents whose pre-school children have spent their weekdays under her care over the past 10 years....

    July 27, 2014

  • Health officials prepare for flu

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Following a flu season in which a record number of Oklahomans died as a result of the virus, state and county health officials say educating the public and general common sense are vital to reducing both the death rate and ...

    July 27, 2014