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24 de febrero de 2010 | | |

Questioning Biotechnologies

Environmentalists and peasants will question the promotion of biotechnology in developing countries

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The Conference of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Developing Countries (ABDC-10) organized by FAO will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from March 1st to March 4th. The conference will analyze the “opportunities” offered by biotechnology as a way to solve the food crisis suffered by almost a billion people in the world.

In parallel, the Network in Defense of Corn, Via Campesina North America and the National Assembly of environmentally affected people of Mexico called to participate in the event “GMOs steal our future”, to be carried out in Guadalajara as well, from February 28th to March 3rd.

According to the FAO, “boosting productivity of smallholders’ farms through appropriate application of good practices and improved technologies must be a key ingredient of developing countries’ development policies”.

They also foresee that climate change will worsen global hunger, affecting in particular fisherfolks, farmers and peoples who depend on forests.

However, the ABDC-10 will take place “amid national and international criticism due to the authorization to grow GM corn in Mexico”, stated the organizers of the parallel event.

After 10 years of banning GM corn, the Mexican government authorized to experiment with these crops, after a process that according to thousands of peasants, indigenous people, experts and environmentalists was filled with irregularities.

The alternative activities of the social movements will have the support of international networks, such as the ETC Group and GRAIN, organization that promotes food systems based on biodiversity and its control by communities.
The organizers of the parallel activities believe FAO´s conference is a “serious” attempt to promote the interests of transnational corporations in the rural and food sectors.

While the solutions promoted by peasants and environmentalists “have nothing to do with the use of expensive and patented technologies which are controlled by a few companies”.

This kind of technologies impose health risks, and are detrimental to the environment and the biodiversity of the planet. The social movements warn that native varieties of corn are “highly threatened”.

Several experts on the issue will participate in the activities in rejection to the ABDC-10 and will talk about the impacts of GMOs in seeds, agriculture and food. In addition, there will be a native seeds exhibition.

Photo: http://viacampesinanorteamerica.org/

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