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REGULATION / BUSINESS: Biotech industry leaders publish GreenBiotech Manifesto

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Biotech industry leaders publish Green Biotech Manifesto and set
        out policy challenges
SOURCE: EuropaBio, Belgium
AUTHOR: Press Release
DATE:   13.03.2007

Biotech industry leaders publish Green Biotech Manifesto and set out
policy challenges

Lyon, France 13 March 2007: European biotech industry leaders announce a
Green Biotechnology Manifesto today in Lyon, France at BioVision where
industry, politicians and NGOs are gathering to discuss how
biotechnologies can meet the Millennium Development Goals and the needs
of developing countries.

Agricultural or "green" biotechnology is being adopted at record speed
around the world - in 2006, 10.3 million farmers in 22 countries
cultivated genetically modified (biotech) crops on 102 million hectares.
Of the 10.3 million, 90% or 9.3 million were small, resource-poor
farmers from developing countries whose increased income from biotech
crops contributed to alleviate their poverty.

Planting in Europe has been much slower, but is accelerating as farmers
start reaping the benefits of biotech crops. The number of hectares of
biotech crops in Europe, although modest, is also growing significantly.

The Green Biotechnology Manifesto is a European perspective on green
biotech and advocates five main policies to support agricultural biotech
in Europe. The industry calls on decision makers to

- Fully implement the biotech crop authorization process
- Enable a European single market in seeds
- Respect other countries' freedom to trade in commodities
- Promote coherence of policies and public information on green biotech
- Promote policies that respect developing countries

Launching the biotech manifesto, Dr Bernward Garthoff, Chairman of the
Agrifood Council of EuropaBio said: "The application of biotechnology to
plant breeding has yielded benefits to farmers, the economy and the
environment which are simply not possible with the more traditional
approaches. These new possibilities are making an essential contribution
not only to the food and animal feed security of a growing and
increasingly prosperous global population, but also to the sustainable
supply of renewable raw materials for industry and energy such as
transport fuels."

EuropaBio Chairman, Dr Hans Kast said: "Agricultural biotechnology
offers tremendous opportunities. We have the products in place, we have
the solutions to offer, but we need political action from European
leaders to open the European market and offer real choice, otherwise
Europe will not benefit from this technology and will be left behind."

Link to Green Biotech Manifesto -
For more information, please visit -
- - - ENDS - - -

For more information, contact

Adeline Farrelly Tel: +32 2 735 0313 - Direct: +32 2 739 1174 - Mobile:
+32 475 93 17 24 Email:
Simon Barber, Tel: +32 2 735 0313 - Direct: +739 1172 - Mobile: +32 476
44 24 20
Nathalie Moll, Tel: +32 2 735 0313 - Mobile: +32 473 88 45 78

About EuropaBio

EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries, has 78 direct
members operating Worldwide, 12 associate members and 5 bioregions as
well as 25 national biotechnology associations representing some 1800
small and medium sized enterprises involved in research and development,
testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products.

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                                  PART II
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TITLE:  The role of agricultural biotechnology in hunger and poverty
        alleviation for developing countries
SOURCE: AfricaBio, South Africa
AUTHOR: Press Release
DATE:   13.03.2007

The role of agricultural biotechnology in hunger and poverty alleviation
for developing countries

Top of the agenda for world leaders today is the alleviation of poverty
and hunger, with the goal to cut poverty 50% by 2015. However, as Prof.
Diran Makinde, from the School of Agriculture, Rural Development and
Forestry of the University of Venda in South Africa, pointed out in his
presentation to Biovision, ten years after the 1996 World Food Summit,
which promised to reduce the number of undernourished people by half by
2015, there are more hungry people in 2006 than there were in 1996.
Prof. Makinde called for new approaches to ensure sustainable food
production in developing countries; especially in Africa because the
majority of least developed countries are in Africa.

Biovision heard that the estimated overall global economic benefit of GM
crops from 1996-2004, amounted to $27 billion, and that 90% of the
farmers benefiting from this are resource-poor, small-scale farmers. GM
crops have directly contributed to the alleviation of poverty for some
7.7 million farmers.

Makinde referred to a study carried out in South Africa in 2002 in which
Bt maize and Bt cotton were compared to non-Bt crop varieties and the Bt
varieties, in both cases, were found to produce a higher yield and
generate more profits. Two farmers using the technology in South Africa
further substantiated these findings, Mr. Motlatsi Musi, a small-scale
farmer in Olifantsvlei, South Africa said "I plant Bt maize because it
has increased my yield and my income. I earn R3000.00 [$430.00] more
from a Bt crop than from a non-Bt crop". Ms. Thandiwe Myeni, a small-
scale farmer from Makhatini Flats, South Africa has been planting Bt
cotton since 1999 and said "I get more than double yield per hectare
from my Bt cotton than from my non-Bt cotton and I am also saving on
pesticides by spraying only twice before harvest for Bt cotton, but
weekly on my non-Bt cotton".

GM crops are so useful to farmers because they can be engineered to be
resistant to diseases and pests and to have increases nutritional value,
'Golden Rice', rice enriched with vitamin A, is an example of this. Most
importantly though, is the development and commercialisation of drought-
tolerant crops, Makinde said drought-tolerant maize has just been
approved to undergo field trials in South Africa and in the next 2 to 3
years drought resistant wheat could be ready for commercialisation in
Egypt. The list of benefits doesn't end there, GM crops are also
beneficial to the environment, reducing pesticide use for the period
1996 to 2004 by an estimated 172 500 MT, and advances in biotechnology
are making it possible to genetically enhance plants to produce
pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

Makinde questioned the EU's stance on GM crops asking why, in light of
all the aforementioned benefits, they have adopted a 'go-slow' approach?
Present EU policies and perceptions make R&D, product development and
commercialisation in agricultural biotechnology difficult, especially in
developing countries that engage in agricultural trade with the EU.
European consumers generally perceive GM foods to be 'contaminated' and
therefore developing countries that are dependent on the markets in
Europe do not wish to grow them and are losing out on vast socio-
economic benefits. There are also issues regarding the strict
traceability requirements specified in the EU regulations, which most
developing countries will find difficult and costly to implement and are
unlikely to measure up to.

Makinde concluded in his Biovision presentation by noting that although
EU policy has been developed to protect European consumers and the
environment from potential dangers, after a decade of use, there have
been no cases of GM crops being harmful to human health or the
environment. Therefore, there is a considerable imbalance between the
hypothetical benefits of non-adoption afforded by the EU policy for its
own citizens, and the real and substantial benefits that could be
afforded to developing countries. The EU has not taken into account the
negative effect that its policies and attitudes are likely to have on
those working in the agricultural sector in developing countries.

For more information contact:

Prof. Diran MAKINDE
School of Agriculture, Rural Development and Forestry, University of
Venda for Science and Technology, South Africa
Mobile: 00 27 8237 0289

Prof. Dr. Jocelyn R. WEBSTER,
Executive Director, AfricaBio
Phone: +27 12 667 2689
Mobile: +27 824 666 929

About AfricaBio
AfricaBio is a non-political, non-profit biotechnology association for
the safe, ethical and responsible research, development and application
of biotechnology and its products. The Association also serves as a
forum for informed dialogue on biotechnological issues in Africa. http://

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