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9-Misc: Interview 'Kingdom [Thailand] must embrace GM research' andreactions by readers



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

TITLE:  INTERVIEW: 'Kingdom must embrace GM research'
SOURCE: The Nationa, Thailand, posted by checkbiotech.org/Syngenta
        http://www.checkbiotech.org/root/index.cfm?fuseaction=newsletter&
        topic_id=5&subtopic_id=25&doc_id=8534
DATE:   31 Aug 2004 

------------------- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/ -------------------


INTERVIEW: 'Kingdom must embrace GM research'

The government's move to revise regulations on genetically modified (GM)
crops has led to fierce debate on the side-effects of the controversial
technology. Sakarindr Bhumiratana, the new director of the National
Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and a leading
biotechnology expert, talks to Pongpen Sutharoj of The Nation about the
ramifications of the new technology.

Given the public's concerns about the potential side-effects of GM crops,
could you please explain the genesis of GM technology?

GM technology was developed from hybrid technology that was created to
improve crop breeding. While hybrid technology focuses on selecting
plants' strongest characteristics to fertilise them across the breed, GM
studies the plants at a genetic level to culture the best genes to
produce better, stronger and more productive plants that are resistant to
disease and environmental hazards.

Despite improvements in crop breeding, what risk does genetic engineering
pose to consumers?

GM technology has been with us for over a decade now. We've used the
technology to treat diabetic patients by using microorganisms that were
produced through genetic modification to produce insulin for injection
into the patient's body.

We use similar GM technology to produce various kinds of enzymes that are
beneficial to the food and pharmaceutical industries. So, we can apply
the same scientific process for testing GM products in crops that we use
to test food or pharmaceutical products.

Could you please compare the two technologies (hybrid and GM) in terms of
producing better plants?

We know that people are afraid of genetic engineering, but theoretically,
both technologies can have positive and negative results. Scientists must
first ascertain which breeds are not harmful to humans or the environment
and work on improving them.

As a biotechnology expert, what do you think about the progress of GM
research and development in Thailand?

This kind of research is essential here. We need to know about the
technology to prepare ourselves for the future, and we need to educate
people and offer them the individual right to accept or reject GM products.

What is the situation in other countries that are exploring the new
technology?

Around 18 countries have already planted GM crops - even in European
countries where healthcare is of paramount importance.

What tests does Thailand offer?

We have the National Biosafety Committee, which was set up a decade ago.
It will evaluate the safety of biotechnology products and send
recommendations to related ministries. This mechanism will effectively
regulate the use of GM products here.

What are the latest domestic developments on GM technology?

The National Biotechnology Policy Committee is in the process of
submitting a proposal to the Cabinet asking that Thai people be given the
right to choose or reject GM products. The proposal also calls for new
laws to oversee GM crops, from the infant stages of research to product
commercialisation, and the establishment of a product-testing measurement
system.

In your opinion, do we have to embrace the development of this
potentially hazardous technology?

If we don't, we will not have enough knowledge to cope with changes as
they come. It is very important that we create our own knowledge base and
technology so that we can make our own decisions on whether to adopt GM
technology.

**********

reactions by readers
(not posted by checkbiotech.org/Syngenta)

RE:INTERVIEW: 'Kingdom must embrace GM research'

http://nationmultimedia.com/page.discuss.php3?
clid=6&theme=A&usrsess=1&did=11710&newsid=119958


"Tell me, if I can do well with my existing seeds, why should I need the
altered seeds (GMOs)? If I can conserve my own seed, why would I be so
stupid as to purchase seed from the company? Farmers are helpless because
government and scientists are collaborating with the companies to destroy
us. This is not science; it is politics. No sensible person will find any
justification in such act."

Shaban Ali, Shekher Dair, Ishwardi, Pabna, Bangladesh

***

RE:INTERVIEW: 'Kingdom must embrace GM research'

http://nationmultimedia.com/page.discuss.php3?
clid=6&theme=A&usrsess=1&did=11708&newsid=119958

To know who finances Sakarindr Bhumiratana and ISAAA and what he has to
gain, personally, all Thai people and the Nation should read this article:
http://www.gene.ch/gentech/2000/Nov/msg00002.html
ISAAA's sole purpose is to facilitate the transfer of proprietary
biotechnologies from the corporate labs of the industrialized world into
the food and farming systems of the lesser-developed countries. It is
funded largely by the US Agency for International Development, Monsanto,
Zeneca Agrochemicals and Novartis.

Is this man objective?

***

RE:INTERVIEW: 'Kingdom must embrace GM research'

http://nationmultimedia.com/page.discuss.php3?
clid=6&theme=A&usrsess=1&did=11707&newsid=119958

Pushing GMOs on the Thai farmers is betraying their centuries old
successes as prime exporters of food to the world, a success which
they've managed to achieve despite their lack of technological advantage.
Besides that, what about the long term effects of genetic modification
that could be transmitted to us who must eventually eat the food?

 -Netnapit

***

RE:INTERVIEW: 'Kingdom must embrace GM research'

http://nationmultimedia.com/page.discuss.php3?
clid=6&theme=A&usrsess=1&did=11703&newsid=119958

Introducing Gmo technology into thailand is the first step in the
enslavement of Thailand by Monsanto. Farmers woiuld have to buy expensive
seeds and fertilizers from Monsanto and they will just go bankrupt.

***

Then Kingdom must embrace GM DISASTER too!!

http://nationmultimedia.com/page.discuss.php3?
clid=6&theme=A&usrsess=1&did=11683&newsid=119958

Thaksin, you are trading Thai farmers' future to US, Japanese, Chinese &
Aussie MNCs for your own and your cronies' business interests. Unforgiven.

-Why not???

***

RE:INTERVIEW: 'Kingdom must embrace GM research'

http://nationmultimedia.com/page.discuss.php3?
clid=6&theme=A&usrsess=1&did=11675&newsid=119958

Please, Thai government, put the Thai people first, not business. My B.S.
is in food science from the University of California and I can tell you
this technology is absolutely NOT safe. There will be cross contamination
into weeds and other unintended organisms. No one will know the health
effects with certainty for many decades. There is no compelling need for
this technology now, conventional cross breeding techniques, though slow,
work fine for improving agriculture, so why move forward now? Only
industry is pushing for this, particularly Monsanto. Given that at one
time science and industry joined hands to claim that lead, chlorine, DDT,
benzene, EMR, radiation, flouride and a countless host of other
substances were completely safe and harmless, which we now know not to be
true, the burden of proof should be on industry to PROVE that GM food is
safe, not on the people to prove that it is not. Please, Thai government,
dont gamlbe with the safety of Thai children.

 -Steve

***

RE:INTERVIEW: 'Kingdom must embrace GM research'

http://nationmultimedia.com/page.discuss.php3?
clid=6&theme=A&usrsess=1&did=11672&newsid=119958

8 questions, 2 answers, 3 waffles, 3 downright evasions. That's 44%
before we even look at the correctness of the answers and waffles. Does
Sakarindr get a passing grade?

1. Given the public's concerns about the potential side-effects of GM
crops, could you please explain the genesis of GM technology? Answered
the question.

2. Despite improvements in crop breeding, what risk does genetic
engineering pose to consumers? Did NOT answer the question.

3. Could you please compare the two technologies (hybrid and GM) in terms
of producing better plants? Did NOT answer the question.

4. As a biotechnology expert, what do you think about the progress of GM
research and development in Thailand? Did NOT answer the question.

5. What is the situation in other countries that are exploring the new
technology? Might be construed as an answer.

6. What tests does Thailand offer? Might be construed as an answer.

7. What are the latest domestic developments on GM technology? Might be
construed as an answer.

8. In your opinion, do we have to embrace the development of this
potentially hazardous technology? Answered the question.

-John Francis Lee

***

RE:INTERVIEW: 'Kingdom must embrace GM research'

http://nationmultimedia.com/page.discuss.php3?
clid=6&theme=A&usrsess=1&did=11671&newsid=119958

GM crops may or may not be hazardous to ones health, as yet we don't
know. Health side-effects aside, from an economic point of view, trading
partners may block GM crops from entering their markets. Whether this is
done because of concerns over side-effects, or as a cynical trade
barrier, is irrelevant. If Thailand grows GM crops and the government is
unable to the control the situation; as has been seen recently with GM
papaya, Thailand may find it's crops unacceptable to foreign markets. A
devasting blow to an agriculturally based economy.

 -Geoff Middle




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