GENET archive


9-Misc: Catholic Institute for International Relations refutesclaims GE crops would reduce world hunger

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  CIIR refutes claims that GM crops could reduce world hunger
SOURCE: Catholic Institute for International Relations, UK
DATE:   29 Jun 2004 

------------------- archive: -------------------

CIIR refutes claims that GM crops could reduce world hunger

CIIR has co-signed a letter criticising a recent report from the Food and
Agricultural Association of the UN (FAO) for promoting genetic
engineering of seeds as the answer to world hunger and poverty.

The letter, signed by 670 organisations and more than 800 individuals
around the world, was circulated on the Internet before being presented
to FAO's director general Jacques Diouf on 16 June.

The letter expresses outrage and dismay that a FAO report, 'Agricultural
biotechnology: meeting the needs of the poor?' is being used as a 'public
relations exercise to support the biotechnology industry' and says:
'Hunger in the world is growing again despite the fact that global per
capita food production has been higher than ever before.'

In response to the letter, Mr Diouf defended FAO's pro-biotechnology
stance, saying that although he 'always maintained' that genetically
modified organisms (GMOs) are 'not needed to achieve the World Food
Summit objective' of halving hunger by 2015, they would be needed to cope
with a projected world population increase from six to nine billion by
2050, requiring 60 per cent more food.

Christine Allen, CIIR executive director, said: 'It is incredibly
worrying that an organisation with such authority as FAO is espousing an
argument that is, in essence, legitimising the agenda of transnational
corporations. Our partners tell us that the introduction of GM crops in
these countries will endanger small farmers' livelihoods, undermine poor
people's ability to feed themselves and increase the pressures on already
damaged and vulnerable environments.'

She added: 'Food insecurity cannot be solved by technological fixes. If
we are to help poor farmers in developing countries, we need to take a
close look at the real causes behind poverty, such as social and economic
inequalities. Undoubtedly, technology has an important role to play but
it needs to be economically, culturally and environmentally appropriate.
Without political solutions, no food crisis can ever be solved by
technology alone. It will merely exacerbate the divisions between the
rich and poor - whether they be industrialists or small scale farmers.'

CIIR believes the gene revolution is based on costly, elite, industry-
dominated research using patented technologies. Only one company,
Monsanto, owns the GM seed technology sown over 90 per cent of the total
world area dedicated to GM farming. Five companies make up nearly all of
the transgenic seed market and FAO should not support this unprecedented
dependence of farmers on agribusiness.

Ms Allen said: 'Most farmers in developing countries struggle to afford
even the most basic inputs and cannot always afford to buy seeds each
growing season. Their food security is dependent on selecting, saving and
sharing seeds from year to year - an age-old practice that is
environmentally, economically and socially sustainable


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
Kleine Wiese 6
D - 38116 Braunschweig

P: +49-531-5168746
F: +49-531-5168747
M: +49-162-1054755
E: coordination(*)
W: <>

   GENET-news mailing list