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World Food Summit: Yes To Biotech

“The World Food Summit has formally endorsed biotechnology as a way to address hunger,” Inter Press Service reports. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared to the summit that the “appropriate use of biotechnology offers considerable potential to improve food security.”

This should come as no surprise. The director of the World Health Organization says genetically improved foods could become a “major lifesaver,” and the European Union calls biotech products “even safer than conventional plants and foods.” Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug, whose Green Revolution of the 1960s created extra food that saved hundreds of millions of people from starving, says genetic improvement technology can help the world “produce nearly three times as much food for the more populous and more prosperous world of 2050.”

Those who reject the promise of biotech are condemning millions to starvation, Joseph Perkins writes in The San Diego Union-Tribune. Zimbabwe refused a gift of genetically improved corn from the United States last month; “better that a quarter of its 12.5 million people quietly perish from hunger, reasoned the government of Robert Mugabe, than allow genetically modified corn to creep into Zimbabwe’s food supply,” Perkins writes. “Biotech foods, genetically modified seeds, may very well be the salvation for Africa in coming years. And for hungry, malnourished populations throughout the world… biotechnology holds out the very best hope of halving the ranks of the world’s hungry by 2015.”

Kenyan plant pathologist Florence Wambugu says the situation is plain. Anti-technology activists “can buy their food in supermarkets… They can choose the more expensive organic foods, or even imported foods… Then, from their world of plenty, they tell us what we can and cannot feed our children. The ‘they’ I refer to are a variety of anti-biotechnology protesters who would deny developing countries like my home, Kenya, the resources to develop a technology that can help alleviate hunger, malnutrition and poverty… The protesters have fanned the flames of mistrust of genetically modified foods through a campaign of misinformation. These people and organizations have become adept at playing on the media’s appetite for controversy to draw attention to their cause. But the real victim in this controversy is the truth.”

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