ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

1 September 2002


thanks to Robert Vint & FoE for these items:
1. UK Gov Chief Scientist slams US GM 'aid'
2. latest on GMOs and the Earth Summit - url


1. UK Gov Chief Scientist slams US GM 'aid' to Africa as a 'massive human experiment'

The Observer (UK) 1st September 2002:

"A rift between the UK and the US over genetically modified foods erupted last night when Blair's chief scientific adviser denounced the United States' attempts to force the technology into Africa as a 'massive human experiment'. In a scathing attack on President Bush's administration, Professor David King also questioned the morality of the US's desire to flood genetically modified foods into African countries, where people are already facing starvation in the coming months."

from an article reporting on UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's condemnation of corrupt deals between multinational corporations and Third World Governments:,6903,784262,00.html
Blair urges crackdown on Third World profiteering
The Observer (UK) 1st September 2002
Mark Townsend in Johannesburg


2. latest on GMOs and the Earth Summit - url

For all the latest stories and statements on GMOs and the Earth Summit bookmark and visit
1 Sept: UK Chief Scientific Adviser slams US GM food and crop onslaught on Africa as a "massive human experiment".

31 Aug: Statement from smallholder farmers and fish harvesters: Celebrating farming and fishing as a culture and against GMOs and industrial agriculture

31 Aug: Statement by African Civil Society Group in support of the Zambian and Zimbabwean Governments' position to reject food aid contaminated by genetic engineering

30 Aug: Statement from leading Africans: Why Africa SHOULD Reject GE Contaminated Food Aid

30 Aug: ECO midsummit report from Johannesburg confirms that WSSD is unwriting Rio Commitments and bowing to global trade. More...

29 Aug: US to pump $53m into GM technology for African farming. CropLife and AfricaBio wet lips...

29 Aug: Launch of a report paviong the way for the 'Global Conservation Trust', a $260m endowment fund to protect the world's gene banks

29 Aug: G77: Don't Sell Out Our Small Farmers and Fishermen. ECO Equity report

28 Aug: Agriculture and Biodiversity Can Survive and Thrive Together. IUCN book launch "Ecoagriculture: Strategies to Feed the World and Save Biodiversity". More...

27 Aug: World Summit Looks at Ag Technology. Associated Press report
1 Sept: Technology Transfer and Development. Report from Global Forum Commission
1 Sept: Biotechnology and GMOs. Report from the Global Forum Commission

26 Aug: ITDG Briefing on Agricultural Biodiversity
"Preserving the Web of Life, released in Johannesburg today." More...

28 Aug: Johannesburg Declaration on Biopiracy, Biodiversity and Community Rights. More...
28 Aug: Updates - Perils of Setting Biodiversity Targets & Pressure to make WSSD a Trade Summit. More...

27 Aug: Statement of solidarity with Southern African nations over GM food and crops. More...

26 Aug: Commentary: US using WSSD to force GMOs on the world?

15 Aug: Final Plan for WSSD includes International Seed Treaty, Biotechnology and Biosafety. but [bracketed text] on the Precautionary Principle. More...


Web version:

Immediate release Sunday 1st  September


Friends of the Earth warned that attempts to force Zambia to accept US food aid contaminated with GM could be repeated around the world unless the Bio Safety Protocol is ratified and implemented by all nations.

A press release issued by African representatives attending the Earth Summit in Johannesburg highlights concerns that the GM maize could be planted and potentially contaminate Zambia's indiginous maize seed.

Zambia currently has no regulations in place to control GM cultivation.  The Zambian decision to reject GM food aid was based on the precautionary principle.

Commenting Pete Riley Biotech Campaigner for Friends of the Earth   said:

The experience of Mexico,where GM contamination of wild maize   stock has been detected in the last two years, suggests that the   Zambian Government was right to be cautious.  Non GM food aid has   been offered from Uganda and Tanzania.  Perhaps the US government   and the biotech lobby would be better advised to help ensure that   that food reached the people who needed instead of trying to score   GM propaganda points.


Copy of release from African NGOs below:
WSSD / Earth Summit Press Release
Why Africa SHOULD Reject GE Contaminated Food Aid
30/08/2002 Johannesburg, South Africa

Three international reports have been released promoting Genetically Engineered (GE) food in the lead up to WSSD.  Each report is funded by parties with a vested interest for the success   of GE food.   African nations have united against this biased research:
  1.    World Food Programme Report saying GE Food Aid should be accepted.
  2.    WTO - WHO Report saying GE is not harmful.
  3.    UN Economic Commission for Africa is pro GE farming and medicine.

Africa's Response:
Uganda and Tanzania have both offered Zambia GE free food.  They argue that there is enough food in Africa to help Zambia.  However, ineffective infrastructure hampers distribution of this food to drought-stricken areas.

The US is disposing of its rejected food on Africa.  Africa will not allow itself to become a dumping ground.  This is another form   of colonisation:  first through slavery, then economic   colonisation and now the control of food and medicine through GE,   creating total dependency through patented and terminated seed and medicines.  Food crops given as aid are often planted.  This leads to contamination as Mexico has experienced.  There must be solidarity   across Africa for strict controls and decisions. Solutions to Africa's regular droughts are not food aid from the   North nor technology.   It is:
  o    Enhancing traditional systems of food production where farmers control their own diverse livelihood systems.
  o    Improving infrastructure so food can be transported from areas of surplus to areas of need within Africa as a priority

Zambia's Response:
Dr Lewanika, a scientific advisor to the Zambian government  explains why Zambia rejects GE Food Aid and why other African   countries should do so too:

Zambia has had public debates on the issue.  The majority of small   scale farmers said they would rather starve than use GE food.   Hunger is a real issue in Zambia, however, there is still time to   prepare and to provide GE free food.

Aid was not offered - money ($51 million) was given as a loan to the private sector to import maize from the USA.  When this maize was imported Zambia was not informed that it was GE contaminated.   It is important to get prior consent from a country rather than   imposing GE contaminated food grain on a nation.   Currently, there is no regulatory system in place in Zambia to   evaluate, accept or reject Genetically Modified Organisms.  The   debate about safety, human health and the environment still rages   on.  Until the issue is clear, Zambia chooses to take   precautionary steps.

 -- ends --

  Dr Lewanika, Scientific adviser to the Zambian government.
  Dr Tewolde Gebre Egziabher, Spokesperson for the African Biosafety   Proposal.
  Fred Kalibiwane, Organizer of the Farmers Convergence.
  Million Belay, Steering Committee of the African Civil Society   Group.

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