"WTO ruling on GM crops threat to India" (10/2/2006)

Dr Krishan Bir Choudhary, the executive chairman of India's largest farmers' organisation, says that after the WTO's "unfortunate verdict", the US will become more aggressive in dumping GM food onto Third World countries.

'WTO ruling on GM crops threat to India'
Financial Express, February 10, 2006

NEW DELHI, FEB 9: The civil society organisations (CSOs) and farmers groups in the country have expressed their anguish over the ruling of the WTO dispute settlement body against the European moratorium on genetically modified (GM)crops and food.

The organisations have said that after this "unfortunate verdict US will become more aggressive in dumping GM food in India and the Third World, much against the will of the farmers and consumers in these countries.

Dr Krishan Bir Choudhary, the executive chairman of the country's largest farmers' organisation, Bharat Krishak Samaj (BKS) said : "The verdict of the WTO dispute settlement body clearly shows how this global body is acting against the interests of consumers and farmers. The EU, on basis of strong public opposition, had decided not to go for introduction of GM crops. The consumers and farmers in Europe are aware of the health and environmental hazards of GM crops and food. WTO's recent verdict amounts to forcing European farmers and consumers into accepting GM food against their will." Dr Chaudhary further added that after this "unfortunate verdict", the US will become more aggressive in dumping GM food in the Third World countries.

Dr Vandana Shiva of the Delhi-based Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, and Kavitha Kuruganthi of the Secunderabad-based Centre for Sustainable Agriculture condemned the WTO's recent ruling in the same vigour.

Greenpeace has also denounced the WTO ruling which is conditionally backing the US, Canada and Argentina in their efforts to force Europe for accepting genetically modified organisms(GMOs). The environmental organisation considers that the WTO should not be used to undermine the previous internationally agreed protocols on Biosafety, aimed at protecting the environment.

It is expected that the US will now try and use the verdict, to force GMOs into other countries. Yet, the countries have the right to say no to genetically modified organisms under the United Nations Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

This WTO ruling is not a victory for the genetic engineering industry, which will not sell a bushel more of its GM grain as a result. Most of the public, farmers and a growing number of governments are opposed to GMOs, said Daniel Mittler, Greenpeace International trade advisor.

This verdict only proves that the WTO puts trade interests above all others, and is unqualified to deal with complex scientific and environmental issues. While the case demonstrates the desperation of the US administration and agro-chemical companies, to force-feed southern markets with GMOs which are unnecessary, risky and unwanted.

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