P A N U P S
Pesticide Action Network Updates Service
Voices From the
South Debunk GE Myths
June 20, 2022
A new report,
Voices From the South, systematically refutes a number of
widely promoted myths about genetically engineered (GE) food. Released
Pesticide Action Network North America and Food First just days before
ministerial level agricultural conference promoting GE foods gets underway
in Sacramento, California, the report counters the claims of the biotech
industry and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that GE crops are a
solution to hunger in the Third World.
In the report,
leading activists, scientists and farmers from countries as
diverse as Ethiopia, India and Ecuador argue that the development of
crops has not focused on feeding people but rather on securing market
for the world's largest agrochemical/biotech companies. "Genetically
engineered crops are instruments of industrialized agriculture," said
Silvia Ribeiro of the ETC Group in Uruguay, one of the authors. "They
benefit the richest people in the world, not the hungriest. GE crops
designed to take the control of food production away from local
communities, by creating greater dependence on agribusiness corporations
for seed and pesticides."
The report addresses
six common myths spread by the biotech industry about
GE crops, with responses by leading Third World analysts. "You
down these myths into three basic components: Green washing, poor washing,
and hope dashing," said Anuradha Mittal, co-director of Food First,
from India. "Green washing suggests that biotech will create a
of pesticides; poor washing would have us believe that we must accept
genetically engineered crops if we are to feed the poor in the Third
and hope dashing claims there are no alternatives. But in this report,
rhetoric is systematically dismantled by the very people GE crops are
supposed to benefit."
Research by Food
First reveals that the industry claim that there is not
enough food to feed the hungry is not based in fact. The world today
produces more food per inhabitant than ever before. The real causes
hunger are poverty, inequality and lack of access. Too many people
poor to buy the food that is available (but often poorly distributed)
lack the land and resources to grow it themselves.
in the developing world need are policies that give farming
communities control over their own resources and build on local ecological
knowledge," writes Timothy Byakola, also an author, who coordinates
East Africa, "not another technological quick fix."
The authors note
that there is already enough food to feed the world one
and a half times over, and that genetically engineered crops have caused
economic and ecological problems where they have been grown. The report
argues that the poor and hungry of the developing world need economic
social policies that address the root causes of hunger in poverty and
inequality, not quick technological fixes that largely benefit foreign
The report highlights
traditional farming methods that involve sustainable
use of land, water and seeds in a system that guarantees food sovereignty.
Current global trade and economic policies which force privatization,
centralization and commercialization are a threat to food sovereignty
Voices from the
South: The Third World Debunks Corporate Myths on
Genetically Engineered Crops is published by Pesticide Action Network
(PANNA) and Food First/The Institute for Food and Development Policy,
part of the work of both organizations to bring the views of grassroots
activists of the global south to the political debate about the risks
costs of GE food.
Voices from the
South is available online at http://www.foodfirst.org/ .
from the South, The Third World Debunks Corporate Myths on
Genetically Engineered Crops, Ellen Hickey and Anuradha Mittal (editors),
June 2003, PANNA, 49 Powell St. #500 San Francisco, CA 94102, (415)
981-1771, http://www.panna.org/ .