ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network
 
Date:  25 November 2000

BIOTECH  FIRMS  ON  ASIAN  OFFENSIVE

Yesterday we noted how seldom the ailing biotech industry seemed to actually consult the very people they claim to be helping  and how a ground-breaking project, initiated by ActionAid, involving a jury of Indian farmers, whose very livelihoods depend on what they grow, showed
in a decisive rejection of the technology, in line with citizen jury projects elsewhere - see http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/indjury.htm

The following article says much about the biotech industry's real agenda in targetting countries like India: "Unless they secure this important Asian foothold, they are as good as dead"

*  *  *
Biotech firms on Asian offensive: Greenpeace
- Agence France Presse - 24 November 2000

NEW DELHI:   Waning confidence in genetically modified products in Europe, Japan and the United States has led the biotech industry to target developing Asian countries like India, Greenpeace said Friday.

"In a desperate attempt to protect their profit margin, the biotech industry is now shifting its sights to Asia where public understanding of the issue is still low," the environmental lobby group said in a statement released in New Delhi. "Unless they secure this important Asian foothold, they are as good as dead," said Greenpeace genetic engineering specialist Isabelle Meister.

Greenpeace and other lobby groups insist that genetic engineering can harm beneficial insects, cause genetic erosion, create new plant viruses and increase farmers' dependence on agricultural chemicals. Friday's statement said multinational corporations - spearheaded by US agro-chemical giant Monsanto - were on a "major offensive" to promote genetic engineering in Asian countries like India, Thailand, China and the Philippines.

In India, the government has already declared biotechnology a flagship programme and is actively promoting field testing of Monsanto's genetically modified cotton. "It is disturbing to see the manner in which permission for field tests has been given," said Michelle Chawla, genetic engineering campaigner for Greenpeace in India. "Aside from satisfying the needs of a desperate industry, the government is clueless about the potentially far reaching impacts," she added.

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