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[SANET-MG] food for next generation
Scientists warn on provision of food for next generations
Oct 26 2004
Sally Williams, Western Mail
EUROPE must ditch GM crops and invest in sustainable agriculture now if it
wants to provide enough food for future generations, scientists have warned.
Scientific evidence has turned decisively against genetically-modified
and in favour of non-GM sustainable agriculture, according to a new
publication, The Independent Science Panel Report, The Case for a GM
The report's findings were released at a conference on GM crops hosted by
Plaid Cymru Deputy Leader, Jill Evans MEP, at the European Parliament in
Ms Evans said, "This conference and the report steps up the pressure on the
European Commission to halt its move towards promoting plant
"We have known for some time about the massive public opposition to GM
now we see more and more that the science is with us too.
"The tide of public opinion turned long ago, now the tide of science has
turned - how much longer can governments ignore the obvious?"
The event was organised in partnership with the Institute of Science in
Society and GM Free Cymru.
Speakers included French farmer and radical anti-GM protester Jos Bov ,
representing Conf d ration Paysanne, Michael Meacher MP, former UK
Minister, and Edward Goldsmith, founding editor of The Ecologist.
They joined with scientiststo demand that Europe keepits GM-free status by
banning all GM crop releases and invest instead in non-GM sustainable
They reject the European Commission-sponsored paper, Plants for the Future,
that is promoting plant biotechnology for Europe.
More than 80 people from across the world attended the conference.
Dr Mae-Wan Ho, director of the Institute of Science in Society said the
biotech industry is showing all the signs of collapse because, she said,
"got the science wrong".
"When genetic engineering started in the mid-1970s, scientists thought the
genome was static and genes determined the characteristics of organisms in
linear causal chains.
"It turns out that the genome is constantly in conversation with the
environment and changing both the expression and structure of genes.
"It is this 'fluid genome' that unsettles genetic modification and creates
the dangers of uncontrollable gene transfer and recombination.
"GM is a scientific and financial dead-end and we should draw the curtain
Jos Bov who has been up-rooting GM crops in protest, and serving prison
sentences added, "Public research has been taken over by the corporations.
"Many academic scientists are no longer doing research that benefits the
"A major challenge for politicians in Europe is to guarantee there will
agriculture free from GMOs in the long term."
Sue Edwards, director of the Institute of Sustainable Development in
Ethiopia, has helped introduce the traditional Indian pit-composting
method to the
northern state of Tigray, which has increased crop yields two to
out-performing chemical fertilisers.
The project has proven sosuccessful that the Ethiopiangovernment is
adoptingorganic agriculture as oneof its strategies for food security.
She said, "Working with nature is the best way to produce healthy
environments that give people healthy and fulfilling lives and at the
same time to
protect and increase biodiversity."
Dr Bob Orskov of the International Feed Resources Unit, Aberdeen, Scotland
added, "In general, multiple cropping, including agro-forestry, is a better
option than conventional monoculture in increasing crop yield, soil
biodiversity, especially for Third World countries."
Teddy Goldsmith, founding editor of The Ecologist, gave delegates the
He said, "Industrial agriculture depends heavily on oil and water, both
rapidly running out, and GM crops will intensify that dependence.
"There will be no way to feed the world other than sustainable agriculture,
which will also ameliorate the worse excesses of climate change."
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