24 October 2002
MONSANTO ONLY IN IT FOR THE WOMEN
"Plant biotechnology is an important tool to help empower women in both the developed and the developing world, Monsanto's Senior Vice President of Public Affairs said today at the Business Women's Network Summit."
"New agricultural technologies like plant biotechnology are a tool to help increase the self-sufficiency of female farmers and to help ensure more and better food for their families and communities."
"Plant biotechnology also holds promise to enhance the staple crops that provide nourishment desperately needed in the developing world" - from a Monsanto press release - see below
"There are 800 million hungry people in the world; 34,000 children starve
to death every day. There are those who consider this a tragedy, and then
there are the biotech companies and their countless PR firms, who
seem to consider it a flawless hook for product branding. It is an insult
of the highest and most grotesque order to turn those who live from day
to day into the centerpiece of an elaborate lie. ...the companies
who make [GE foods], and the flacks who hawk their falsehoods, offer us
a new definition of depravity, a new standard to plunge for in our race
to care least, want more, and divest ourselves of all shame."
- Michael Manville - Welcome to the Spin Machine
"Time after time, lab researchers have come up with new techniques that
have then been commercialised "because they are there". We should be honest
enough to admit that there was no thought about feeding the world or improving
stress tolerance in crops when we embarked on our research in the 1980s...
The modification of input traits (herbicide & pesticide tolerance)
came a little later & turned out to be scientifically very easy and
potentially quite profitable - so Monsanto et al commercialised the technology
at breakneck speed... There was no thought about the long term consequences,
e.g. did we really need such crops & how would global markets or the
environment react. This is where we find ourselves today. In my opinion,
civil societies in developing & industrialised nations should not simply
accept whatever the researchers & agbiotech companies come up with
and then try to deal with the consequences."
- Prof Denis Murphy of the University of Glamorgan, a Government advisor on GM crops and previously a biotech researcher at the John Innes Centre
Re: 89: Starting afresh with agricultural biotechnology, FAO Biotechnology Forum, 28 Jun 2002
BIOTECHNOLOGY A TOOL TO HELP IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR WOMEN, MONSANTO EXECUTIVE SAYS
Monsanto press release, October 23, 2002
Speech at International Business Conference Highlights Benefits of Plant Biotechnology for Women in the Developed and Developing World
WASHINGTON-- Plant biotechnology is an important tool to help empower women in both the developed and the developing world, Monsanto's Senior Vice President of Public Affairs said today at the Business Women's Network Summit.
"Women are vital in nourishing the world," said Sarah Hull in a speech to the summit in Washington, D.C. "New agricultural technologies like plant biotechnology are a tool to help increase the self-sufficiency of female farmers and to help ensure more and better food for their families and communities."
"Plant biotechnology also holds promise to enhance the staple crops that provide nourishment desperately needed in the developing world," she said.
In the developed world, Hull said women are playing a more prominent role in agriculture as farmers, policy makers and consumers. Many of these women are learning more about the environmental and economic benefits of crops enhanced through biotechnology, including increased yields, improved farm productivity and reduced pesticide use, she said.
Hull also said biotech crops are particularly beneficial to women in the developing world where women provide 60 to 80 percent of the food, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
"Women in the developing world are using the least efficient agricultural tools and are among the world's most impoverished farmers," Hull said. "Biotech crops can increase the productivity of farmers in the developing world, providing them with enough food to feed their families and communities, as well as a surplus to sell."
"Biotech crops can help ensure a more stable and self-sufficient form of farming in the developing world," she said.
Hull also said because there is less spraying and weeding with biotech crops, they significantly reduce the workload of farmers. As a result, women in the developing world would have more time to tend to their children and girls would have more time to attend school, she said.
Hull said researchers are working to develop virus-resistant root crops in the developing world like sweet potato and cassava in Africa. Plant biotechnology could help protect these staple crops, which feed hundreds and millions of people, from devastating diseases that can destroy harvests, she said.
"Biotech crops are a cost-effective and convenient tool to ensure increased yields of core crops in the developing world, and to provide access to the nutrients people need to improve their health and quality of life," said Hull.
"As scientists around the world come to recognize women's role in agriculture, more research is taking into account their concerns and knowledge about agriculture and food products," she said. "In the future, this research will yield tremendous benefits for women and the world."
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