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2-Plants: GM crops will fight hunger (1) - Introduction

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Dear GENET-news readers,

the European resistance towards GMOs and GE food does not only
hit the business of the Gene Giants. GE Scientists around the
world - more or less indepent from the GE industry - are
increasingly concerned about the future of their until now
generously sponsored research activities. The recently launched
well-orchestrated public defense of GE research focusses on a
central line of arguments:
- GE resistance can only be developed and afforded by rich,
  ignorant, well-fed Northerns
- Northern GE resistance will hinder the development of GE crops
  for the South
- Southern people will not receive the GE benefits and have to
  suffer from hunger even longer

This argumentation is not very new. If it can effectivly divide
the until now joined civil society forces in the North and South
to withstand the GE industry forces to introduce GE crops against
the will of the people is doubtful. But the increasing number of
email messages focussing on this issue is alarming and was the
reason for this series of GENET-news focussing on the GE-feeds

The alliance of actors, institutions and countries involved in
this pro-GE campaign is based on strong common interests in
justifying GE research.

The ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION is one of the major international
founder of GE research in developing countries**. In 1998, it
spent 9,198,000 US $ in the program "biotechnology to increase
crop yields". 45% were spent for rice biotechnology (4,175,000
$), 27% "to help the developing-world, public-sector agricultural
research system interact more productively with the private
sector, especially on intellectual property rights" (2,500,000 $)
- and 0.8 % for biosafety research (73,000 $).

INDIAN research institutes received 964,000 $ from the rice
program. Furthermore, a strong, farmer-based anti-GE movement has
evolved in India. IPR, indegenous knowledge and biopiracy are hot
topics in the public discussion.

KENYAN and MEXICAN research institutes work closely together with
Monsanto and ISAAA in the development of GE crops. Furthermore,
KENYA is one of the main partners in the non-GE programs of the
ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION. In 1998, the program "smallholder crop
management capabilities" had a budget of 7,025,000 US $. KENYAN
project were funded with 27% of this sum (1,870,000 $), with KARI
as main recipient (752,000 $). KENYA is one of the most advanced
African countries concerning GE research and gives home to
scientists with contrasting views on GE benefits and risks***.

The UK . . .  you know.

Hartmut Meyer

*   see GENET-news May 30: Ten reasons why GMOs won't feed
    the world
**  see GENET-news June 29: Crystal-ball 2 - "Real gains
    from GMs were close" U.S. Rockefeller Foundation says
*** see GENET-news June 27: Expert doubts Africa's gain from
    genetically-modified crops

-| Hartmut Meyer
-| Co-ordinator
-| The European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering
-| Reinhaeuser Landstr. 51
-| D - 37083 Goettingen
-| Germany
-| phone: #49-551-7700027
-| fax  : #49-551-7701672
-| email:

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