jueves, junio 17, 2004

New studies contradict FAO report and show that genetically engineered Bt cotton fails to benefit farmers

On May 17th the FAO released a report, Agricultural Biotechnology, Meeting the needs of the poor?, painting a positive picture of GM crops and recommending that more resources be put towards the development of GM technologies for developing countries. The centre-piece of the report is its analysis of farmer experiences with Bt cotton around the world, which the FAO uses to claim "that resource-poor smallholders in developing countries can gain significant benefits from the adoption of transgenic crops in terms of higher and more stable effective yields, lower pesticide costs and reduced health risks from chemical pesticide exposure." But the FAO report ignores what is actually happening on the ground, as Bt cotton fails to deliver benefits to small-scale farmers around the world. Today, two new studies on Bt cotton in India and West Africa by the Andhra Pradesh (AP) Coalition in Defence of Diversity and GRAIN provide more evidence of Bt cotton's failure in the fields and of the FAO's failure to defend the interests of small-scale farmers. They come at a time when FAO’s Director General received a letter signed by over 1500 organisations and individuals, expressing their outrage and disagreement with the FAO report.

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