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
  • Junior Police Graduation First Junior Police Academy graduates

    The room went dark and a slideshow flipped through photos of children participating in the first Junior Police Academy as kids chattered excitedly, remembering what they had done over the past two weeks. Norman Police Department hosted ...

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials say transparency lacking in Wal-Mart zoning

    Norman city staff recently admitted to withholding information from the public regarding a controversial zoning change in southeast Norman. If approved by the city council, the proposal will allow a Wal-Mart supercenter at Cedar Lane and ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Air Algerie jet crashes with 116 on board

    OUAGADOUGO, Burkina Faso — An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Nonprofit raises $3.9M-plus for new center

    The Center for Children and Families, a United Way of Norman partner agency, announced Thursday that it exceeded its public fundraising goal of $3.5 million and raised more than $3.9 million to complete the purchase and renovation of a ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Very bad week: Airline disasters come in a cluster

    WASHINGTON — Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel’s largest airport after rocket attacks. Two airliners crash during storms. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Wednesday: · 5:58 a.m. indecent exposure, 100 block of West Comanche Street · 6:08 a.m. burglary in progress, 100 block of West Hayes Street · 8:09 a.m. larceny report, 100 ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Angela Beth Mendinghall, 36, unauthorized use of a vehicle; driving with a canceled, suspended or revoked license · Daniel ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Immigrant children being placed with sponsors

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The federal government says more than 200 unaccompanied children in Oklahoma have been placed with sponsors so far this year. The federal government released a state-by-state breakdown Thursday of the numbers of ...

    July 25, 2014

  • OCU prepares to move law library downtown

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City University’s School of Law is moving its library into a historic building in downtown Oklahoma City....

    July 25, 2014

  • Grad to serve as delegate at camp

    William Long, 2014 Norman North High School graduate, recently represented Oklahoma as a delegate at the 2014 National Youth Science Camp. Long joined 100 other top high school graduates representing the United States and eight other ...

    July 25, 2014