August 2008


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Robt Mann <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 23 Aug 2008 13:36:52 +1200
text/plain (79 lines)
The biggest study of its kind ever conducted - the International 
Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development 
(IAASTD) - has concluded that GM is not the answer to world hunger. 
The IAASTD report was authored by over 400 scientists and signed onto 
by 60 governments.  The lack of specific support for GM crops was 
based on a rigorous and peer-reviewed analysis of the empirical 
evidence.  The report concluded: 'Assessment of the technology lags 
behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, 
and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable'.

The report adds that growing biofuel crops for automobiles threatens 
to increase worldwide malnutrition. The report also emphasises the 
importance for poor farmers of sustainable agriculture that is 
biodiversity-based, including agro-ecology and organic farming.  The 
US, Canada and Australia refused to sign the report, despite being 
among the stakeholders who selected the report's authors. Although 
the UK has not yet signed, Bob Watson - Defra's chief scientist who 
has also independently chaired the IAASTD assessment process - seems 
confident it will.
Key points in the report


'So, they finally figured out, after all these years of pushing 
globalization and genetically modified seeds, that instead of feeding 
the world we've created a food system that leaves more people hungry. 
If they'd listened to farmers instead of corporations, they would've 
known this was going to happen.'
	- Wisconsin dairy farmer Jim Goodman, cited by John Nichols, 
'The global food system feeds gluttonous corporations first', 
Philadelphia Enquirer

'The current global food system, designed by US-based agribusiness 
conglomerates like Cargill, Monsanto and ADM and forced into place by 
the U.S. government and its allies at the World Bank, the 
International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization, has 
planted the seeds of disaster by pressuring farmers here and abroad 
to produce cash crops for export and alternative fuels rather than 
grow healthy food for local consumption and regional stability.'
	- John Nichols, 'The global food system feeds gluttonous 
corporations first', Philadelphia Enquirer

'The IAASTD last week concluded that "data on some GM crops indicate 
highly variable yield gains in some places and declines in others". 
The door was left open, on the basis that it would be unwise to rule 
out GM crops for the future, but as the charity Practical Action 
commented, "the report rightly concludes that small-scale farmers and 
ecological methods provide the way forward to avert the current food 
crisis".  It's time many science policy-makers started eating GM 
humble pie, and urgent questions must now be raised about the lessons 
they have drawn from the GMO debate.'
	- Dr. Tom Wakeford, 'The public is proved right: GM crops are 
no panacea', The Guardian

'We've had 10 years and, I suspect, tens of millions of pounds, 
promoting transgenic crops as a solution for world hunger and 
sustainable agriculture - in the face of the balance of scientific 
...I wonder how many hunger-related deaths in developing countries 
could have been avoided if science policy-makers had applied this 
philosophy [of taking public concern seriously] to GM crops 10 years 
	- Dr. Tom Wakeford, 'The public is proved right: GM crops are 
no panacea', The Guardian