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7-Business: EuropaBio brings together GE supporters from developingcountries and EU



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                                  PART I
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Plant biotechnology - a developing country perspective
SOURCE: EuropaBio, Press Release
        http://www.europabio.org
DATE:   Jan 29, 2003

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Plant biotechnology - a developing country perspective

Brussels, January 29, 2003: Ten representatives (1) of developing
countries have come to Brussels to give their views on the opportunities
and challenges of plant biotechnology in their home countries. "We are
here to tell our part of the story. In Europe biotechnology seems to be
more about ideology than about rational choice. For us biotech is an
important tool to fight hunger and malnutrition," says Prof. James
Ochanda - Coordinator Biotechnology Laboratory, University of Nairobi,
Kenya and Chairman African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum. "We do not
want to be a pawn in the transatlantic trade squabble. We have our own
voice and want to make our own decisions on how to use this new technology."

Current figures show that one-quarter of the global biotech acreage is
grown in developing countries by resource poor farmers who make up three-
quarters of the almost 6 million farmers who grew GM crops in 2002. The
biotech crops that they are growing significantly improve the quality of
life of these farming families. "We can attend to other things instead of
having to spend all of our time in our fields," says T.J. Buthelezi, a
cotton farmer from the Makhatini Flats of South Africa. "Our standard of
living is very much improved and from the increased profits we have money
to send our children to school."

According to the ISAAA (International Service for the Acquisition of
Agri-biotech Applications) in 2002, Chinese farmers growing Bt cotton
increased their incomes by an additional USD500 (EUR500) per hectare, or
USD750 (EUR750) million nationally. Similar gains are recorded from South
Africa, where half of farmers are women.

European governments should reflect on this growing demand for
biotechnology crops in third world countries, and how that technology can
offer developing world farmers another important tool in increasing
domestic food production. There are strong links between EU legislation
and the choices that developing countries make. "Europe seems to be
inward looking when producing biotech legislation. But any rules set in
Brussels will affect the small scale farmer in Africa or India," says
Simon Barber, Director of the Plant Biotechnology Unit at EuropaBio.

Plant biotechnology has not been developed only for rich countries.
Europe has immensely advanced research on plant biotechnology to improve
yields for the benefit of small-scale farmers in the third world. Yet,
this is a story that is rarely told. .....



Among the aims of the delegates to Brussels is to call on the EU to help
set up a technology transfer and capacity building programme to the
highest standards for developing countries. The Delegation will also be
urging the EU and Members States to ensure that legislation on GMOs takes
account of farmers in developing countries and does not become a trade
barrier that would impede the adoption of biotech crops in developing
countries.


For further information, contact;

Adeline Farrelly
Tel: +32 2 739 1174 (Direct)
Tel: +32 2 735 0313
e-mail: a.farrelly@europabio.org

Simon Barber
Tel: +32 2 739 1172 (Direct)
Mobile: +32 476 44 24 20
e-mail: s.barber@europabio.org

Notes to Editors

(1) Representatives

1- Prof. James Ochanda - Coordinator Biotechnology Laboratory, University
of Nairobi, Kenya and Chairman African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum

2- Prof. Diran Makinde -Professor of veterinary physiology, University of
Venda for Science and Technology, South Africa

3- Prof. Jocelyn Webster, Executive Director of AfricaBio, the
Biotechnology Stakeholders Association which includes industry and
farmers, South Africa.

4- Mr. S Jaipal Reddy - Federation of Farmers Associations. (FFAAP),
Andhra Pradesh, India.

5- Hon. Bintony Kutsaira - Member of Parliament, Malawi

6- Prof. L. E. Mumba, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences, University
of Zambia

7- Mr. T.J Buthelezi - Cotton farmer from Makhathini Flats, South Africa

8- Dr. Margarita Escaler, Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology,
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications
(ISAAA).www.isaaa.org

9- Dr Lucas Sese - Intellectual Property Management consultant, Kenya

10- Margaret Karembu - Senior Program Officer with ISAAA, Kenya

(2)	EuropaBio has almost 40 corporate members operating worldwide and 20
national biotechnology associations representing some 1200 SMEs involved
in research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of
biotechnology products. EuropaBio, the voice of European bioindustries,
aims to be a promoting force for biotechnology and to present its
proposals to industry, politicians, regulators, NGOs, and the public at
large.http://www.europabio.org


                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  EU Agriculture Chief Sees Promise In Biotech
        'Fischler Says Brussels, U.S. Should Bury The Hatchet Over Genetic
        Modification'
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal - Europe, by Scott Miller & Matthew Newman
        edited and sent by Agnet, Canada
DATE:   Jan 31, 2003

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EU Agriculture Chief Sees Promise In Biotech
'Fischler Says Brussels, U.S. Should Bury The Hatchet Over Genetic
Modification'

Brussels -- Franz Fischler, the European commissioner for agriculture,
was cited as calling for a truce in the war of words with the U.S. over
agriculture and held out an olive branch saying that, like many in the
U.S., he is optimistic about the future of genetically modified crops,
and that with negotiations on agriculture at the World Trade Organization
entering a critical phase, now was time for the world's two trade
behemoths to bury the hatchet, adding, "On the international scene, we
are seen as the two elephants, and everybody is looking at what we are
doing. So it's much better that we find common ground in Geneva [at the
WTO] before we start a show and shout at each other, with the outside
world laughing. It's not good for the U.S. or us to play the blame game
because [the U.S.] gives subsidies and a lot of subsidies. And we give
subsidies for a lot of reasons. The question isn't do we give subsidies,
but how we give them."

Ben Ngubane, South Africa's minister for science and technology, was
cited as saying the main reason most African countries are hesitant about
embracing biotechnology is that unlike Western nations, they "don't have
the capacity" in scientists and regulators to decide whether to grow
biotech crops.

African scientists meeting in Brussels this week backed U.S. charges that
the EU, at least indirectly, pressures African governments to reject food
aid containing genetically modified organisms. While acknowledging that
no proof exists that EU officials have directly intervened, the
scientists complained, charging that humanitarian groups such as Oxfam,
Christian Aid and Save the Children, all three of which are supported
with EU funds, have frightened African governments.