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UK: Environment Secretary’s view will make it harder to feed the world

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

In a speech at the Rothamsted Research Centre in June, the British Environment Secretary Owen Paterson stated that Britain would be acting immorally if it did not make GM crop technologies available to poor countries, The Guardian reports. According to the minister, it would be necessary to explore technologies like GM because they may hold the answers to the serious challenges ahead: “We cannot expect to feed tomorrow's population with yesterday's agriculture. We have to use every tool at our disposal", he said.

Various environment and development groups dismissed his arguments as simplistic. Mike Childs of Friends of the Earth and Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch UK, strongly spoke against the Secretary’s view. Greenpeace UK's chief scientist Doug Parr said that the UK government was ignoring major advances made in conventional crop-breeding techniques which used the latest scientific techniques: "The international consortium of research centres has used non-GM techniques to produce dozens of varieties of drought-tolerant maize, increasing African farmers' yields by 20 to 30%", he stated.
 

Peter Melchett, policy director of the Soil Association, said that Paterson's GM dream would make it harder to feed the world: “The government constantly claims 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 Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto produce profits".
 


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