Alan Goodin, using the name Don Quioxte (sic), posted to the OSAG list an article titled, "No Maiz, No Pais." Kayum Ma ax Yuk, Lacandone, La Selva." It deserves to be regarded with suspicion. It reports research allegedly directed at helping poor farmers. The student who did the research, from the Netherlands, is quoted as follows:
      "If we seek to strengthen smallholder seed supply or the conservation of crop genetic diversity at the local level, we need to understand how farmers' seed systems function," says Lone Badstue, a rural development sociologist who recently concluded her doctoral thesis work at CIMMYT.(1) "For agricultural research and interventions to make sense and be useful and accessible to individual small-scale farm households, they must be grounded in an understanding of real-life situations at the local level, and people's ways of negotiating these." [emphasis added --G.S.]
      An e-mail address for the student is not given. Rather, at the end of the article is the following:
For information: Jonathan Hellin, Poverty Specialist, ([log in to unmask])
(1) Badstue, L.B. 2006. Smallholder seed practices: Maize seed management in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico. PhD thesis, Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Recently published in book form. Source:
      The article is couched in the most innocuous-sounding language. Superficially it's just about helping poor small farmers in the Central Valley of Oaxaca. But what is CIMMYT, and what is CGIAR, the organization that offers further information through Jonathan Hellin, whose job title is Poverty Specialist? CIMMYT is the acronym, in Spanish, of the International Center for the Improvement of Corn and Wheat (Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo), the 1943 initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation which started the so-called Green Revolution. Undertaken in an effort to combat communism, the Green Revolution sought to solve the threat (to capitalism) posed by mass hunger in poor countries by deploying technological innovation rather than through social transformation, the latter possibility always a nightmare to the very wealthy. A probing study of this Rockefeller initiative, "The Contradictions of the Green Revolution", by Harry M. Cleaver, in 1972, is available at .
      On the CIMMYT website page at, the organization promotes its supposed great achievements through the Green Revolution, and identifies CGIAR, the Consultative Group on International Research, formed in 1971, a privately organized group which began to fund the CIMMYT, and appears to be closely associated with it. Another page, at is titled Rural Poverty Mapping in Mexico. More technology, this time to make accurate geographical maps of rural poverty. Science is so grand! In my book this is Science Against the People.
      It is of course not logically impossible that a Rockefeller-initiated organization might be doing something of actual value to poor people, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for some of the supposed benefits to materialize. I suggest that before we get carried away by the promotional piece Alan posted, it's worth taking a look at Harry Cleaver's work of thirty-four years ago.
Always skeptical, and with damn good reason.