United Nations report looks at genetically modified foods

Such phrases as "sensible analysis" are being used to describe the United Nation's Human Development Report 2001, which considers the promise of genetically modified (GM) foods.

The report warns that opposition to transgenic agriculture could endanger the ability of the poorest nations to feed their populations.

Here are a few of the report's other observations and conclusions:

  • Opposition to GM agriculture stems from a pervasive "anti-technology bias," especially in Europe – where some farmers "have used public fear of the risk from genetically modified organisms to protect domestic markets" from competition.

  • Rich nations must let developing nations make their own choices concerning how to feed their hungry – and that choice must, unequivocally in the report's view, be biotechnology.

  • Agricultural researcher and Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug predicts that producing enough food on existing farmlands to feed an expected 2.3 billion more mouths by 2025 will require an astonishing 75 percent jump in productivity.

  • The report suggests that boosting agricultural yields protects jungles, rainforests and other natural areas from the plough.

    Source: Betsy McCaughey, Agitators Against Modified Food Miss Its Humanitarian Benefits, Investor's Business Daily, July 27, 2001; Human Development Report 2001: Making Technologies Work for Human Development, United Nations Development Program (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

    For report text http://www.undp.org/hdr2001/
    For more on Biotechnology http://www.ncpa.org/pi/enviro/envdex13a.html

    FMF\1 August 2001
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