Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

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10.10.2017 |

Civil society rejects GMOs at FAO meeting

Civil society representatives firmly rejected genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as a means of addressing world food security at a recent Food and Agriculture Organization meeting in Malaysia. The event was funded by the pro-GM US, Canadian and Australian Governments.

Civil society representatives from the Global South rejected the premise of the event that improved access to agricultural biotechnologies are needed to help defeat hunger, malnutrition and poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.

The focus of the discussion was supposed to be on

sustainable food systems for small farmers – not on increasing yields to generate more money from small pieces of land. However, the majority of the supposed ‘solutions’ presented at the meeting were GMOs including many new GM techniques still at proof of concept stage that have not been subject to any kind of safety assessment.

As civil society delegates pointed out, the current supply of food already exceeds demand, but there are serious issues around good governance and equitable distribution of food. Even if these new GM techniques could produce a higher yield in a few select crops – which is not

demonstrated – this would not solve the problem of hunger nor secure livelihoods for smallholders. Instead, it could lead to greater levels of corporate influence and an increasing reliance of small farmers on cash crops – and fluctuating global commodity markets – rather than food crops.

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