In response to a recent position publicized by Oxfam America in support of agricultural biotechnology as a viable solution for addressing poverty faced by resource poor and subsistence farmers in developing countries, the Oakland Institute along with the African Center on Biodiversity (South Africa), Bharatiya Krishak Samaj/Indian Farmers Association (India), Center for Food Safety (US), Coordination Nationale des organizations Paysannes CNOP/ National Coordination of Peasant Organizations (Mali), Grassroots International (US), and Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam/Farmers Association Of Tamil Nadu (India) sent an open letter to Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International and Ray Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America.
We deemed necessary to write because of a recently released book based on Oxfam America's project, Biotechnology and Agricultural Development: Transgenic Cotton, Rural Institutions and Resource-Poor Farmers, which appears very biased in favor of transgenic crops. Its conclusion "transgenic crops offer enormous possibilities" not only contradicts several major assessments conducted by the International Assessment of Agriculture, Science, Technology and Development (IAASTD) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), it also ignores a significant body of natural and social science literature on the topic. Also Oxfam America appears to be positioning itself as a 'good broker' for independent research on Bt cotton in West Africa with support from the Gates Foundation.
As colleagues who share the principles of Oxfam's mission to "influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods," we are deeply troubled that the study based on Oxfam America's project and its scientifically questionable (at best) conclusions, falsely supports practices that hinder rather than help efforts to save lives, end poverty, and promote social justice. We hope Oxfam America will retract its stance on biotechnology and join the global farmer, environmental, and justice movements united around the world calling for an end to corporate domination and contamination of our food.
To Read the Open Letter to Oxfam America, Click Here. (http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/?q=node/view/552)
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