Nuffield should read deGrassi/What relevance does GM have for poor farmers? (24/9/2003)

1.Nuffield should read deGrassi
2.Invitation to: ‘Agricultural technologies and small farmers: What relevance does GM have for poor farmers?’
1.Eco Sounding by John Vidal
The Guardian, Wednesday September 24, 2003

Tattered flagships

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics will soon update its 1999 report on the GM potential for developing countries, and is expected to be pretty much in favour again. But the authors should consider the work of Aaron deGrassi, a researcher at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

DeGrassi has analysed three flagship GM projects in Africa - including Monsanto's GM cotton in South Africa, Syngenta's maize project in Kenya, and another Kenyan project with GM sweet potatoes involving Monsanto, the World Bank and USAid. The industry claims that all three are showcase successes for small farmers, but DeGrassi finds the benefits much lower than could be obtained with conventional breeding at a fraction of the investment in GM research. Details at: http://www.twnafrica.org/docs/GMCropsAfrica.pdf

Border dispute

The soya planting season is approaching in GM-free Brazil and Monsanto is eager to get the thousands of farmers who nip over the border to buy seeds to pay royalties. One furious GM activist says: "The cheek of it! They must have charged royalties when they sold the seeds in the first place in next door Argentina. Monsanto should be held responsible for the illegal planting of the seeds."
Invitation to: ‘Agricultural technologies and small farmers: What relevance does GM have for poor farmers?’
with speakers from Argentina, Kenya and the UK on Thursday 25th 2 - 4:30pm with a lunch from 1pm. Venue: TUC Congress House. RSVP on the details below.

* GM and global trade * Impact on small scale farmers * The UK's role * Funding R & D * Sustainable successes in Kenya

96% of the worlds farmers live in developing countries. This meeting is an opportunity to discuss what the use of GM crops means for small scale farmers from Action Aid's findings  with its partners in Latin America, Asia and Africa and  a speaker from Argentina on the consequences of GM soya trading for Argentinean communities - the worlds second largest GM crop growing country. This meeting will also look at how the UK approaches this issue, and it will be interesting to see how it's reported in the Public Debate report which is due out this Wednesday. There will also be  the opportunity to discuss why it's such a challenge to get funding into sustainable agriculture and how a Kenyan farmer is successfully running sustainable farming method 'farmer schools'.

* GM Crops and developing countries in the UK GM debate Clare Devereux, Director 5 Year Freeze & member of the UK Public Debate Steering Board

* Small scale farmers experiences of growing GM crops Alex Wijeratna, Food Rights Team, Action Aid

* GM Soya: Global trade and local problems Stella Semino, Grupo de Reflexion Rural, Argentina

* Funding Research and Development in Agriculture Prof. Martin Wolfe, Research Director, Elm Farm Research Centre

* Mainstreaming successful sustainable farming methods in use by African farmers
Martin Kimani, CABl Africa Regional Centre, Kenya


Best wishes,
Rachel Sutton
UK Food Group Co-ordinator
T: 44 (0) 207 523 2369
F: 44 (0) 207 620 0719
A: PO Box 100, London SE1 7RT, UK
E: [email protected]
W: www.ukfg.org.uk

OCTOBER 16TH - WORLD FOOD DAY! See 'Events' on www.ukfg.org.uk for details of the seminar series hosted by the UK Food Group during September and October.

  The UK Food Group: Working together for global food security

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