is a press release on ActionAid's new report, GM Crops - Going
the Grain that will be launched on Wednesday 28 May. You
can download a copy
more information or to set up interviews contact: Hannah Crabtree
ActionAid media office on + 44 (0) 20 7561 7627 or 077539 73486 (out
00:01 Wednesday 28 May
News hook: the public debate on GM starting 3 June
evidence that GM will help solve world hunger GM crops will not feed
the world and could pose a considerable threat to poor farmers, warns
a new report launched today by ActionAid. GM Crops - Going Against
the Grain examines biotech companies' claims that genetically modified
(GM) crops can tackle world hunger. The report is being submitted
to the Government in advance of the UK public debate starting on 3
Crops - Going Against the Grain reveals that at best GM crops are
irrelevant to poor farmers, at worst they threaten to push them deeper
into debt, making them more reliant on expensive seeds and chemicals
and unable to save seed from one harvest to the next.
UK public should not be duped into accepting GM in the name of developing
countries. GM does not provide a magic bullet solution to world hunger.
What poor people really need is access to land, water, better roads
to get their crops to market, education and credit schemes,"
said Matthew Lockwood, ActionAid's Head of Policy.
evidence from ActionAid campaigns in Asia, Africa and Latin America,
the report takes a balanced look at the impact of GM crops in developing
countries. It concludes that rather than alleviating world hunger,
the new technology is likely to exacerbate food insecurity, leading
to more hungry people not less.
findings from report:
· GM seeds are far more suited to the needs of large-scale
commercial farmers rather than poor farmers.
· GM expansion is driven by corporate profit not the needs
of poor people. Four multinationals - Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer CropScience
and DuPont - control most of the GM seed market. By linking their
chemicals to seeds via GM technologies, these corporations have extended
markets for their herbicides and pesticides.
· Farmers are not allowed to trade or save GM seed from one
harvest to the next. 'Terminator technology' is also being developed
that produces sterile seeds.
· There is no consistent evidence GM crops yield more and require
fewer chemicals. In one study, Monsanto's GM soya had 6% lower yields
than non-GM soya and 11% less than high-yielding non-GM soya.
· Insecticide use on GM cotton has fallen in some locations,
but these gains may be short-lived. Chemical use on herbicide-resistant
GM crops has sometimes gone up rather than down.
Pakistan, ActionAid has investigated how poor farmers have been enticed
by the hype surrounding GM to buy expensive 'miracle' cotton seeds.
The results have been disappointing, with many farmers losing most
of their crops and facing ruin.
report recommends that there should be no further commercialisation
of GM crops until more research has been carried out on their impacts,
especially in poor countries. Also, poor countries and their farmers
must have the right to open public debates before they decide whether
to go ahead with GM crops.
· In 2002 GM crops covered 58 million hectares worldwide -
an area two and a half t times the size of the UK.
· Only 1% of GM research is aimed at crops used by poor farmers.
· The US biotech industry spends $250 million a year promoting
· A small range of useful looking GM crops aimed at the poor
are being researched but they stand only a 1 in 250 chance of making
it into farmers fields.
· The four corporations that control most of the GM seed market
combined turnover from agrochemicals and seeds of $21.6 billion in
· 91% of all GM crops grown worldwide in 2001 were from Monsanto
know there is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone.
What is causing world hunger is poverty and inequality. Money would
be far better spent tackling these problems than poured into GM technology,"
said Adriano Campolina Soares from ActionAid Brazil.
Food Rights campaign
London N19 5PG
Tel: + 44 (0) 207 561 7613
Fax: + 44 (0) 207 281 5146