World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN World Food Day - Asians Call for Ban on GE Rice

Bangkok, 14 October 2005 -- A coalition of 17 organisations from across Asia today issued a World Food Day statement calling for a global ban on the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) rice.

"Rice is the world's most important staple food crop and we simply cannot allow a small number of biotech companies and GE scientists to determine the future of rice development," said Varoonvarn Svangsopakul of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "GE rice is not a solution to world hunger. It poses unacceptable risks to health and the environment, as well as people's livelihoods."

The aggressive push from biotechnology companies wanting to introduce GE rice in Asia is facing increasing criticism from civil society organisations concerned about negative impacts on farmers, on the environment, health and agricultural sustainability.

The theme of this year's World Food Day sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is Agriculture and intercultural dialogue - celebrating the contribution of different cultures to world agriculture.

"GE rice poses threats to the centre of origin and diversity of rice in Asia, as well as the cultural diversity of rice-growing communities across the region. The introduction of GE rice is contradictory to the theme of this year's World Food Day celebration," said Dr Suman Sahai from Gene Campaign, India.

"The real way forward for sustainable agriculture and solution for hunger is through the protection and use of biodiversity rather than genetic engineering, and the promotion of ecological agriculture based on the traditional knowledge of farming communities," said Paul Borja, SEARICE, based in the Philippines.

"Bangladesh farmers have a long tradition of maintaining local rice diversity and they are resisting Syngenta's move to introduce Golden Rice," said Palash Baral, from UBINIG Bangladesh.

"With breeding and growing local rice varieties, Thailand farmers are able to enjoy nutritious food and stabilize their income," said Supanee Taneewut, RRAFA, Thailand.

Following a 2-day meeting outside Bangkok, representatives from 10 rice growing countries wearing traditional dresses will today deliver the GE-Free Rice Declaration to the FAO headquarters in Bangkok, along with a collection of rice varieties as a demonstration of the importance of maintaining rice diversity.

In the declaration, the group called for a ban on the development and cultivation of GE rice, and called upon the FAO to cease support for GE crops, and to instead support the development of sustainable, ecologically sound farming systems."

ENDS

GE-Free Rice Declaration

Supanburi, Thailand, October 14th, 2005

We the participants representing organisations from 10 rice growing countries across Asia, having come together for a discussion on rice and genetic engineering, hereby declare that:

1. Rice is the world's most important staple food crop and forms the basis of the diet for over 3 billion people. It has played a central role in the cultural, social and spiritual life of communities throughout Asia for thousands of years;

2. Tens of thousands of rice varieties have been developed by farmers over millennia and farmers continue to develop and breed new varieties adapted to diverse ecosystems, economic and cultural requirements. GE rice threatens to undermine this diversity;

3. Women play a significant role in the conservation and development of seeds and as holders of traditional knowledge. With the advent of GE crops the role of indigenous knowledge and community led farming systems is likely to be destroyed;

4. GE rice cannot be a solution to hunger since the causes of hunger are the lack of access to productive resources to produce food, or lack of income to buy food.

5. Genetically engineered rice poses unacceptable risks to human and animal health and to the environment, particularly the contamination of gene pools in the centres of origin and diversity of rice in Asia;

6. The segregation of genetically engineered from non-genetically engineered rice cannot be implemented. Therefore co-existence is impossible;

7. The undue influence of transnational corporations such as Monsanto, Bayer and Syngenta on international agricultural production, trade and policies serves to undermine local access to food and the right of peoples and nations to democratically determine the use of their food resources;

8. Corporate influence is further directing public sector agricultural research away from public and towards commercial interests;

9. The future of our world's most important staple food crop will be secured through the protection and use of biodiversity rather than genetic engineering, and through ecological agriculture based on the traditional knowledge of farming communities;

For World Food Day 2005, we therefore call for a ban on the development and cultivation of genetically engineered rice, and call upon the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to cease support for genetically engineered crops and food, and to instead support comprehensive research and development of sustainable, ecologically sound farming systems.

Signatory organisations:
Biotani Indonesia Foundation
Cenesta (Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment), Iran
Consumers' Association of Penang, Malaysia
Friends of the Earth Malaysia / Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)
Gita Pertiwi Foundation, Indonesia
Gene Campaign, India
Green Net, Thailand
Greenpeace
Khao Kwan Foundation, Thailand
No! GMO Campaign, Japan
Save Our Rice Campaign (PAN AP)
Reclaiming Rural Agriculture and Food Sovereignty Action (RRAFA) Thailand
South East Asian Council for Food Security and Fair Trade (SEACON)
Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE)
Third World Network (TWN)
UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative), Bangladesh
VECO Vietnam

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Health Agency Responds To Ebola Spike

UN health agency responds to Ebola spike by deploying team on border of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau More>>

UN Casts Israel As World's Worst Violator Of Health Rights

Israel's army team of medics recently treated 1,600 victims of the Nepal earthquake. More>>

W Thousands Flee Syria’s Besieged Historic City Of Palmyra

As thousands flee Syria’s besieged historic city of Palmyra, UN refugee agency readies response plan More>>

UN Agency To Halt Housing Allowance For Palestine Refugees

Lack of funds forces UNRWA to suspend cash assistance for housing for Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon. Photo: UNRWA/Shafiq Fahed More>>


Bangkok: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphophia

BMA, UN, embassy representatives, civil society and artists stand united with LGBTI Thais on International Day against Transphobia, Homophobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre More>>

Displaced Iraqis Face Difficulties As Fighting Continues

UNHCR is concerned about the processing arrangements in place at the Bzabz bridge – a series of pontoons across the Euphrates River which marks the boundary between Anbar province and the capital, Baghdad. Photo: UNHCR/G. Ohara More>>

UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing Of Bangladeshi Blogger

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz The head of the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom worldwide today voiced ... More>>

Philadelphia: Train Crash

Five people have been confirmed dead and more than 136 people injured after an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia today at 9.20pm local time.More>>

UN News: Alarming Surge In Bay Of Bengal Crossings

The number of irregular migrants crossing the Bay of Bengal has almost doubled over the past year amid a dangerous uptick in human smuggling and trafficking across the region, according to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news