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Farmers Aand Scientists Fight Over Genetic Modification of Crops

on 2001/4/26 9:46:02 ( 1458 reads )


LONDON, U.K., April 23, 2001: Indian and British farmers joined hands to fight new agriculture techniques being planned by scientists from their countries. The contest took place in Norwich in East Britain where the John Innes Center held its Global Agriculture 2020 conference from April 17 - 21 on genetically modified (GM) crops with the theme "Global Agriculture 2020 - Which Way Forward." Chairing the event was M.S. Swaminathan, of India's Green Revolution who called for an "evergreen revolution" through progressive use of gene technology to develop new crops. Some of Britain's senior-most agriculture scientists attended, supporting the work of the Swaminathan Institute in Chennai. In opposition, a rival meeting themed "Feeding or Fooling the World?" and backed by Oxfam, ActionAid, Greenpeace and the Soil Association was called by a group of non-governmental organizations to oppose GM foods. It was held from April 17 to 21, alongside the conference of scientists. The rival meeting was better attended because of increasing unpopularity of GM food in Britain. British farmer Ed Cross teamed up with Umnapur Lakshmi, a farmer from Andhra Pradesh who told of how she rotates crops to grow as many as 80 varieties in a year and gets good yields without any genetic modification. Devinder Sharma, chair of the Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security in Delhi told the conference that GM foods are unnecessary. "India has a surplus of foods and still people go hungry," he said. "The problem is one of access and distribution, not of shortfall of production."

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