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2-Plants: Africa Warned About Biotech Seeds



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Africa Warned About Biotech Seeds
Africa News Service
April 7, 1999

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - African governments may be duped into endorsing 
the use of genetically engineered food crops as a solution to food 
problems in the continent, agro-scientists have warned. Scientists from 
the Nairobi-based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology 
claimed that genetically engineered technology, being fronted by a 
leading international agro-industry giant, Monsanto, was a plan to force 
farmers into the expensive biotech seeds.
In a report, they pointed out that the African farmers were simply being 
taken off one trend mill (pesticides) and set on a new one by 
biotechnicians who are stockholders or technology driven. The report, 
released by the centre, accuses the agro-industry, led by Monsanto, of 
targeting developing countries through publicity that claims that 
"biotechnology is one of tomorrow's tools in our hands today. Slowing its 
acceptance is a luxury our hungry world cannot afford." It says that with 
tightening rules on biotech activities in Europe, Africa was now being 
targeted by many biotech companies for testing of transgenic crop 
varieties under the pretex that Africa needs these solution immediately.
The centre's director general, Dr. Hans Herren, said in the report that 
the trend towards a quasi-monopolisation of funding in agricultural 
development into a narrow set of technologies was dangerous and 
irresponsible. "It is only too obvious to concerned scientists, farmers 
and citizens alike that we are about to repeat the mistakes of the 
insecticide era even before it is behind us," he warned. The scientists 
were also worried about this "profit-to-use trendmill" latest development 
which ensures that a given transgenic crop variety will not germinate in 
the second season forcing the farmer to buy new seeds every season.


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