Monday, August 12, 2002

Nature II
Unsigned editorial on GM grain in Southern Africa
The second issue raised by the impasse is the extent to which transgenic crops are a relevant tool in eradicating poverty and feeding the world. Supporters of transgenic agriculture are engaged in an elaborate campaign to convince the public, particularly in Europe, that this is indeed the case. But the real impact of the technology on global poverty � now and for the foreseeable future � is to increase yields in rich countries, adding to a global grain glut that depresses prices and undermines agriculture in the poorest countries....

It is certainly to be hoped that the United States is not using the current famine threat to get its GM crops into Africa through the back door to expand the restricted export market for them.

Also, a news item by Natasha McDowell:
Some aid officials working in Africa claim that the Zambian government is being encouraged by European aid groups to reject the US loan.

"I think it is absolutely irresponsible unless they put their money where their mouth is and come up with non-GM food," says one aid official, who asked not to be named. "I don't have the nerve, heart or soul to deny, as a precautionary principle, food to people who are hungry right here, right now. It is a debate that only America and Europe can afford because they have food."

[Nature 418, 569 (2002); 571-572.]


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