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Family farmers denounce U.S. complaint against the EU over genetically modified organisms

(Wednesday, May 14, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- The National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) denounced the U.S., Argentina, Canada and Egypt decision to challenge the European Union's authorization system on approval of genetically modified foods and crops at the World Trade Organization.

“USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] Secretary Ann Veneman claims she’s fighting for the interests of ‘American Agriculture,’” said NFFC President George Naylor. “She must be fighting for the corporate agribusiness agenda because she is definitely not fighting for the interests of the family farmer.”

Nine other countries--Australia, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Uruguay--supported the U.S. by filing the complaint as third parties before the WTO.

“We have suffered a great deal of damage to our trade markets because agribusiness pushed a product on U.S. farmers that people of the world rightfully refused to accept,” added Missouri farmer Bill Christison.

“Biotechnology is helping farmers increase yields, lower pesticide use, improve soil conservation and water pollution and help reduce hunger and poverty around the world,” Veneman claimed.

“The Secretary of Agriculture needs to educate herself about the ‘benefits of genetic engineering’ and not depend upon the Monsanto’s of the world for her information,” Christison said. “In fact, most--if not all--of the ‘benefits’ Veneman pointed out have been proven by much research to be totally off the mark.”

Christison shared his personal experience as testimony. “Where we applied chemicals on our farm, we used from 10-15 ounces of chemicals,” he said. “If I were using the round-up system, we would probably be using from 60-75 ounces to achieve the same goal. And you know, massive uses of round-up facilitates a fungus which triggers sudden death syndrome in soybeans, greatly reducing yields.”