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Biotech food and the hungry

(Tuesday, May 27, 2003 -- CropChoice news) --

To the Editor:
Re "Bush Links Europe's Ban on Bio-Crops With Hunger" (news article, May 22):

President Bush says that genetically modified crops will help feed hungry people in poor nations. That's nonsense. There is no scientific evidence that genetically modified foods are cheaper, safer, better-tasting or more nutritious. Lacking consumer benefits for its genetically modified crops, the biotech industry is desperately seeking moral legitimacy.

Under the guise of humanitarian aid, the Bush administration is force-feeding high-tech, proprietary seeds that are neither affordable nor relevant to most poor farmers. Some African countries have refused genetically modified food aid because of health, trade and environmental concerns.

The true beneficiary of Mr. Bush's promotional efforts are not poor people, but some of the world's largest agrochemical and seed corporations like Monsanto, whose genetically modified seed technology accounted for more than 90 percent of the total worldwide area devoted to genetically modified crops last year. When the root of the problem is poverty and inequality, technology is never the silver bullet solution.

Chapel Hill, N.C., May 22, 2003
The writer is research director of the ETC Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization.