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FAO report sounds warning for activists

The opponents of gene technology should take a very careful look at their activities in light of the report issued by the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation today which shows that the gap between the developing world and the developed world is widening when it comes to adoption of biotechnology and biotech products.

“Biotechnology, and especially the products developed through genetic engineering, hold great promise for developing sustainable agriculture and food security in countries which have under-developed agriculture,” the Chairman of the Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said today.

“GM products have the potential to help developing world farmers overcome the effects of drought, excess soil salinity, pest depredation and competition from weeds – if they are allowed to use them.

“But as we have seen in recent months the interests of European farmers and environmental organisations are put ahead of starving African farmers.

“The morality of mainly white, wealthy, middle class European organisations telling Africans they can’t use GM crops and seeds is hard to fathom – especially when the Europeans have an active programme of releases of GM crops into their own environment. To Africans it must look like the height of hypocrisy and a continuation of the worst aspects of the colonialism imposed on Africa by Europe until the 20th century.

“More than 1700 releases of GM crops into the environment have been approved in the EU since 1991.

“The FAO report highlights the impacts of the barriers the anti-GM activists have put in the way of development of technologies which will do much to liberate subsistence farmers from their plight, and their countries from poverty. If Greenpeace and others were truly concerned about sustainability they would be promoting GM technology,” concluded Dr Rolleston.

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