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2-Plants: Asian NGOs call for Ban on GE rice



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

TITLE:  Asians Call for Ban on GE Rice
SOURCE: sent by BioTani, Indonesia
DATE:   14 Oct 2005

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


Asians Call for Ban on GE Rice
a World Food Day statement

Bangkok, October 14th - A coalition of 17 organisations from across Asia
today issued a World Food Day statement calling for a global ban on the
introduction of genetically engineered (GE) rice.

Rice is the world's most important staple food crop and we simply cannot
allow a small number of biotech companies and GE scientists to determine
the future of rice development," said Varoonvarn Svangsopakul of Greenpeace.

"GE rice poses unacceptable risks to health and the environment, and
cannot be a solution to hunger."

The aggressive push from biotechnology companies wanting to introduce GE
rice in Asia is facing increasing criticism from civil society
organisations concerned about negative impacts on farmers, on the
environment, health and the agricultural sustainability.

The theme of this year's World Food Day sponsored by the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is Agriculture and intercultural
dialogue - celebrating the contribution of different cultures to world
agriculture.

"GE rice poses threats to the center of origin and diversity of rice in
Asia, as well as the cultural diversity of rice growing communities
across the region. The introduction of GE rice is contradictory to the
theme of this year's World Food Day celebration." said Dr Suman Sahai
from Gene Campaign, India.

"The real way forward for sustainable agriculture and solution for hunger
is through the protection and use of biodiversity rather than genetic
engineering, and the promotion of ecological agriculture based on the
traditional knowledge of farming communities," said Paul Borja, SEARICE,
based in the Philippines.

"Bangladesh farmers have a long tradition of maintaining local rice
diversity and they are resisting Syngenta's move to introduce Golden
Rice," said Palash Baral, from UBINIG Bangladesh.

"With breeding and growing local rice varieties, Thailand farmers are
able to enjoy nutritious food and stabilize their income," said Supanee
Taneewut, RRAFA, Thailand.

Following a 2 day meeting outside Bangkok, representatives from 10 rice
growing countries wearing traditional dresses will today deliver the GE-
Free rice declaration to the FAO headquarters in Bangkok, along with a
collection of rice varieties as a demonstration of the importance of
maintaining rice diversity.

In the declaration, the group called for a ban on the development and
cultivation of GE rice, and called upon the FAO to cease support for GE
crops, and to instead support the development of sustainable,
ecologically sound farming systems."


For Further Information:

Riza V. Tjahjadi
Executive Director

BioTani
Indonesia Jl. Persada Raya No. 1 Menteng Dalam Jakarta 12870
Indonesia
Telp +62-21-8296545
e-mail: biotani@rad.net.id, bitani2004a@yahoo.com

BioTani Indonesia Foundation, member of IFOAM
Organisasi non-pemerintah bersifat nirlaba dan independen
Promoting Equitable, just and Sustainable development for smallscale
farmers and fisherfolks


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

TITLE:  GE-Free Rice Declaration
SOURCE: Asian NGO Coalition, sent by BioTani, Indonesia
DATE:   14 Oct 2005

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


GE-Free Rice Declaration

Supanburi, Thailand, October 14th, 2005

We the participants representing organisations from 10 rice growing
countries across Asia, having come together for a discussion on rice and
genetic engineering, hereby declare that:

1. Rice is the world's most important staple food crop and forms the
basis of the diet for over 3 billion people. It has played a central role
in the cultural, social and spiritual life of communities throughout Asia
for thousands of years;

2. Tens of thousands of rice varieties have been developed by farmers
over millennia and farmers continue to develop and breed new varieties
adapted to diverse ecosystems, economic and cultural requirements. GE
rice threatens to undermine this diversity;

3. Women play a significant role in the conservation and development of
seeds and as holders of traditional knowledge. With the advent of GE
crops the role of indigenous knowledge and community led farming systems
is likely to be destroyed;

4. GE rice cannot be a solution to hunger since the causes of hunger are
the lack of access to productive resources to produce food, or lack of
income to buy food.

5. Genetically engineered rice poses unacceptable risks to human and
animal health and to the environment, particularly the contamination of
gene pools in the centres of origin and diversity of rice in Asia;

6. The segregation of genetically engineered from non genetically
engineered rice cannot be implemented. Therefore co-existence is impossible;

7. The undue influence of transnational corporations such as Monsanto,
Bayer and Syngenta on international agricultural production, trade and
policies serves to undermine local access to food and the right of
peoples and nations to democratically determine the use of their food
resources;

8. Corporate influence is further directing public sector agricultural
research away from public and towards commercial interests;

9. The future of our world's most important staple food crop will be
secured through the protection and use of biodiversity rather than
genetic engineering, and through ecological agriculture based on the
traditional knowledge of farming communities;

For World Food Day 2005, we therefore call for a ban on the development
and cultivation of genetically engineered rice, and call upon the United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to cease support for
genetically engineered crops and food, and to instead support
comprehensive research and development of sustainable, ecologically sound
farming systems.


Signatory organisations:

Biotani Indonesia Foundation
Cenesta (Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment), Iran
Consumers' Association of Penang, Malaysia
Friends of the Earth Malaysia / Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)
Gita Pertiwi Foundation, Indonesia
Gene Campaign, India
Green Net, Thailand
Greenpeace
Khao Kwan Foundation, Thailand
No! GMO Campaign, Japan
Save Our Rice Campaign (PAN AP)
Reclaiming Rural Agriculture and Food Sovereignty Action (RRAFA) Thailand
South East Asian Council for Food Security and Fair Trade (SEACON)
Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE)
Third World Network (TWN)
UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative), Bangladesh
VECO Vietnam




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