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 Post subject: Wheat Breakthrough.
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:38 am  |  Posted from: Australia
  

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Wheat (maybe rice) is probably the most important food in the world and for Egypt its largest/most expensive food made more expensive by the fact that it imports most of it because its farms are hopelessly inefficient and its genetics/science much worse. There is now new hope of better times ahead.

In the past Egypt could feed itself until the early 60’s but since then it just lies back and imports food - including the biggest wheat imports in the world. A similar collapse is also true of manufacture, value adding to products like cotton, education, film etc. There is not a single thing that Egypt currently does that it did not previously do much better – except lock people up and drive the best abroad. Some industries like premium tobacco have entirely disappeared and the total current picture is massive imports, little local production and less exports. Egypt once exported a lot but that was before central planning, a government controlled economy and the other corrupt bits of it focusing on domestic demand like housing development.

There is little in current government policy that will change this and the gas/oil initiatives are a two edged sword that deliver few jobs. Its interesting that the military controlled industries contribute nothing to exports probably because they are appallingly run and produce things no one will pay money for (except if they have a monopoly - which they sometimes do like infant formula, import of pharmaceuticals, humidicribs, petrol in some locations, pasta, Chrysler 4 wheel drives, desert land, hotels in certain locations etc.). If they really had the national interest in mind they would develop new export industries - if they had the skills and imagination.

Its not just food and related science that is rotten because a lot is about attitudes including innovation and entrepreneurship which is entirely lacking. A few years ago the coy Royal Society did a major paper on science in Egypt and its strong language probably hides even harsher attitudes and changes in the past few years probably make things worse:

“in the domains of scientific research and education, where there is near-unanimous agreement that decades of under-investment, poor planning of the way research funds are spent, excessive bureaucracy, uninspiring curricula and political meddling have severely weakened a system that once regularly produced scientists who were among the best in the world. Reforms are ongoing and excellence can still be found in many fields, but freedom of enquiry, entrepreneurship and innovation are thin on the ground in both universities and
industry. “https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/projects/atlas-islamic-world/atlas-egypt-report.pdf

(Reads like a polite death warrant. So lots of money is available for every idiot project but not for important ones)

You would expect that a country that relies on agriculture would be strong in related science, training of farmers, water efficiency and veterinary science but no. Their not very useful Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute produces nearly nothing and in any case was established by/funded by the UNDP/FAO and still funded by everyone but the Government of Egypt. Like much that is vital in Egypt the government can’t be bothered and relies on western money to do the job it should have done if it wasn’t distracted by funding the world’s greatest army or building 300 gated beach Hitler bunkers.

The big new breakthrough in wheat is the determination of its DNA – five times more complex than human DNA. Its taken 22 countries 13 years to do this and opens huge opportunities for a quicker production of better wheat varieties to produce more and deal better with climate change.

All the major wheat producing and consuming countries were involved either with science or cash. https://cnrgv.toulouse.inra.fr/Projects ... Consortium. Four Australian institutions helped with the work. https://www.natureindex.com/institution ... d47a000000. The Turks, Indians, Jews and Chinese also helped out.

Egypt did nothing – except continue to complain about evil westerners/Jews/external influences/Turks. Meanwhile it increases its wheat acreage by 10% and its production goes down by 10% - that seems a 20% drop that would produce deep thought in most countries – but not Egypt. http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent ... wheat.aspx. Millions of farmers produce about 3 million tons a year from irrigated crops in Egypt – Australia in the current dreadful drought year produces about 22 million tons from dry lands – and another 10 million tons of related grains – from about 50,000 farms – most family owned. Maybe someone needs to move into the 20th century – and later into the 21st. Its never just about science if there fundamental problems like your farm industry is badly set up (legal prohibitions on larger/more efficient farms except if you are a rich connected person), over-managed to hell by 100,000 not very useful bureaucrats and access to capital almost impossible. Its system is broken but it won't face up to it and does what Newcastle mentioned in another post, taking the idea from Einstein (maybe) - "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

In typical media hype it seems that the breakthrough was in fact a year ago and published at that time. https://www.nature.com/news/small-group ... me-1.22924

That the not useful FAO was not involved is true to form – they stay well away from anything that might prove successful and stick to their specialty which is preserving their jobs by preserving the ‘welfare dependency’ of poor client countries. They are also not big fans of science because it doesn’t make much sense to staff with decadent reading degrees. Their current Director General is a poorly educated Brazilian ex academic and minister to the hard left populist de Silva/Lula – now in jail for corruption. He replaced a predecessor from Senegal who had been in the job for 18 years and had a notorious ‘management style’. He likes friends, particularly if they have no relevant skills, and recruited the wife of the President of wretched and chaotic Peru who is wanted for corruption – now she is arrested and to be tried. The alleged corruption was a payment (maybe $US150 million) from Lulu - something the FAO supremo might have been involved in. He has given his friends and close political ideologues Venezuela an award for curbing hunger which is a laugh, or a cry, because everyone knows that crazed government is starving its people. https://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Ne ... d=19421963.

Oxfam loves him which is the kiss of death unless you are an 'honorable' and left wing charity hero who wants cheap sex with young third world people whilst maintaining your establishment and religious ‘dignity’. As with all the hard left his approach is about distribution/justice rather than science or more efficient farming and unfortunately this drives their less than successful programs. When faced with failure on the Millennial Development Goals food targets (tragic, failed, naive and incompetently implemented – now abolished) to abolish hunger they do the Egyptian thing and ‘fix’ the historical stats to make them look good in the present – it works for the great unwashed and The loyal Guardian. https://www.scidev.net/global/food-secu ... ation.html

There are multiple other allegations of FAO corruption and US congress ‘concern’ about how it is run whilst the FAO sermonizes sanctimoniously about its virtue.

Why many UN agencies are headed, and their boards full of, failed politicians from failed states and why the UN adopts no merit/integrity standards for appointments explains why 80 years of ‘UN leadership’ has delivered so little and why Nobel economists prove that aid programs fail.

Checking this out has left me puzzled. Food, DNA, animals and climate change are central issues for the world yet, ignoring corruption and incompetence, the research area is like the Indonesian archipelago - 17,000 islands few of which are connected to each other. On the other hand the commercial side of the industry which turns science into products and also does pure science is highly consolidated and very large. You wonder how thousands of organizations, few of them large and all with their hands in the taxpayers pocket (always western pockets – never Egypt or rich Gulfies, Bill Gates and Rockefeller and many related others but never the Hawass Foundation or related crooks) will achieve big breakthroughs at this critical time. Many are staffed with ‘do-gooders’ – people who rarely achieve much practical effect in any area let alone in food.

Contrast this with the bomb. The nuclear theories had been around for a while but there was neither the money nor the massed intelligence to get it done. It eventually, in a crisis, took less than 3 years to do it on a scale that involved millions of people all well managed and co-ordinated. That consolidated and massed approach is now missing from how we deal more generally with climate change and food after nearly 20 years of wetting ourselves about it and even though we know the Paris targets are a joke and will achieve little to avert dangerous times ahead.


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 Post subject: Re: Wheat Breakthrough.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:59 pm  |  Posted from: Cyprus
  

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Pity they cannot turn the flood waters of the Nile at certain times of the year into Paddy Fields. But then again I believe the waters of the Nile are fast disappearing due to the new damn in Eithiopea! :( :(


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 Post subject: Re: Wheat Breakthrough.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:12 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Major Thom wrote:
Pity they cannot turn the flood waters of the Nile at certain times of the year into Paddy Fields. But then again I believe the waters of the Nile are fast disappearing due to the new damn in Eithiopea! :( :(

They did exactly that for several thousand years prior to building the Aswan Dam between 1960-70, it was called the inundation.

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 Post subject: Re: Wheat Breakthrough.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:47 pm  |  Posted from: Australia
  

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Left this out as an illustration of how change needs to be managed from a number of points of view and not command and control.

In the 70’s and 80’s the new High Yield Variety (HYV) of wheat was introduced into Egypt. It didn’t work although how badly it worked is not clear. In essence farmers were poorly trained and educated, if they were at all, about the benefits and the new variety was a dwarf with less straw. Because the new variety provided less personal livestock fodder and because the government set prices that favored fodder (from the straw) over grain it didn’t kick off even though it would have produced more wheat and, probably, greater resistance to disease. At that time the national priority was more grain but the subsidization/government incentives process didn’t reflect that and no one suggested change to the subsidies or educating the farmers. Development and Social Change in Rural Egypt By Richard H. Adams p.199. Another left hand, right hand example.

So even scientific breakthroughs can deliver little/less if not well implemented by governments.


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 Post subject: Re: Wheat Breakthrough.
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:54 pm  |  Posted from: United Kingdom
  

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Major Thom wrote:
But then again I believe the waters of the Nile are fast disappearing due to the new damn in Eithiopea! :( :(


Och aye! We're all doomed.....DOOMED !!

Still, look on the bright side. You'll be able to walk direct across from Karnak Temple to the Valley of the Kings saving a fortune in taxi/ boat fares. :lol:


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