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GM 'NOT THE ANSWER TO POVERTY IN AFRICA'

 
09:00 - 21 July 2003
 
 A retired scientist living in Cornwall yesterday urged the Government
not to be "blackmailed" into supporting the production of genetically
modified crops for the benefit of starving, debt-ridden countries in
Africa. Philip Gordon said he had spent 20 years in Africa and witnessed
famines in Sudan and Ethiopia which, like the current crisis in
Zimbabwe, were primarily caused by politicians.

Mr Gordon claimed: "Africa needs GM like a hole in the head.

"My message to the Government is: Don't be blackmailed into GM because
it would be helping Africa.

"If we do that, we will not be helping Africa. We will be destroying
Africa."

Mr Gordon was echoing the views of the Soil Association on world hunger.

The Soil Association says GM seeds are expensive, can reduce yields and
depend on specific chemicals.

Small farmers in Africa would need loans to buy them, as they had done
to purchase chemicals.

Their debt and dependency on agro-chemical giants such as Monsanto in
the USA and Bayer in Germany, who were lobbying governments, would
therefore continue.

Oxfam and Christian Aid have both warned that the marketing of GM crops
could intensify world poverty.

Charlotte Russell, regional manager of the Soil Association's Organic
South West initiative, yesterday added that scientific students had
shown rats to suffer from eating GM tomatoes and chickens from eating GM
maize.