UK should provide GM crop technology to poor countries, says Owen Paterson | Environment | guardian.co.uk
"Paterson's GM dream will make it harder to feed the world. The government constantly claim that GM crops are just 'one tool in the toolbox' for the future of farming. In fact GM is the cuckoo in the nest. It drives out and destroys the systems that international scientists agree we need to feed the world. We need farming that helps poorer African and Asian farmers produce food, not farming that helps [GM companies] Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto produce profits," said Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Associaiton, the organisation that represents organic agriculture. ...
Britain would be acting immorally if it did not make GM crop technologies available to poor countries, Owen Paterson told international crop scientists in a major speech that was dismissed by his opponents as "agribusiness propaganda" but was welcomed by scientists as "overdue".
"The problems we face in feeding ourselves in 40 years' time are very real and something we have to prepare for right now. At this very moment there are 1 billion people on this planet who are chronically hungry. Are we really going to look them in the eye and say 'We have the proven technology to help, but the issue's just too difficult to deal with, it's just too controversial?," he said at Rothamsted crop research station in Hertfordshire.
"It won't be long until the population moves from 7 to 9 billion and we'll have even fewer resources to feed them. It is our duty to explore technologies like GM because they may hold the answers to the very serious challenges ahead," he said.
Paterson argued that GM crops could fortify food with vitamins and prevent blindness and death. "[GM] is about making crops durable enough to survive sustained drought. It's about developing new medicines. It's about feeding families in some of the poorest parts of the world. We cannot expect to feed tomorrow's population with yesterday's agriculture. We have to use every tool at our disposal."
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