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Vigil challenges overseas scientist's food claims

Press Release

Second vigil at Biotech conference challenges overseas scientist's claim for 'GM'-Foods

A second morning vigil was held outside the Sheraton Hotel, Auckland where Alabama scientist Dr C.Prakash was a guest speaker of the Life Sciences Network at a Biotechnology conference .

The protesters challenged Dr Prakash's claims that GM food would feed the hungry by highlighting that there is already excess food yet people still go hungry. Dr Prakash's support for genetically modified rice with Vitamin A as the reason to justify GE Food in the third world, has also been criticised by the very nations it is purported to help;

Devinder Sharma -Writer and Government Food Advisor-India says: "How will biotechnology provide food to those who are desperately in need? In fact, given the high seed cost, royalty and the cost of other inputs that the farmers will have to use (for instance, more herbicides in the herbicide-tolerant plants), the cost of cultivation will go up and so will the market price. Food will then go out of the reach of still more people. Biotechnology will ultimately push more people towards hunger, starvation and suicides".

-Vandana Shiva,in her BBC Reith Lectures,2000, commented on GE VITAMIN A RICE : "This deliberate blindness to diversity, the blindness to nature's production, production by women, production by Third World farmers allows destruction and appropriation to be projected as creation. Take the case of the much flouted "golden rice" or genetically engineered Vitamin A rice as a cure for blindness. It is assumed that without genetic engineering we cannot remove Vitamin A deficiency. However, nature gives us abundant and diverse sources of vitamin A. If rice was not polished, rice itself would provide Vitamin A. If herbicides were not sprayed on our wheat fields, we would have bathua, amaranth, mustard leaves as delicious and nutritious greens that provide Vitamin A". (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/reith_2000//)

ENDS

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