food security


ifrik: land-grabbing will endanger local food sovereignty and food security

Time and again the argument is that we - as in: the world in general - need GM crops to fight hunger worldwide.
If this argument would be correct, then a country with wide spread cultivation of GM crops, and easy approval procedures for new GM crops, should not have a hunger problem. Let's have a look at the country with the most GM cultivation, the USA.
Figures from December 2008, showed that more then 30 Million Americans now receive food stamps because they otherwise don't have enough to eat. That's 10% of the population. Figures are probably even higher because it only includes those applying for help.

[img_assist|nid=178|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]The British premier Gordon Brown wrote a letter to his G8 colleagues, calling for the use of GM crops to be reconsidered for the sake of resolving food shortages, since food prices are steeply rising due to competition for crops as agrofuels. GM crops to comabt hunger? Does this sound familiar? And do we really need more examples to explain that hunger is not a problem of in-efficient crops, but a problem of access to food?

[img_assist|nid=111|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=43]Die Klimadebatte beherrscht die Medienwelt. Weg vom Öl ist die Devise. Neben dem Wiedererstarken der nuklearen Idee findet sich vor allem die Formel zur verstärkten Nutzung nachwachsender Rohstoffe und dabei insbesondere zur Nutzung von Kraftstoffen auf Pflanzenbasis in den hoch gehandelten Vorschlagslisten. Da dürfen gentechnisch veränderte Pflanzen als Heilsbringer natürlich nicht fehlen.

A. Lorch, GID 182, Juni 2007.

[img_assist|nid=111|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=43]Since it became common knowledge that fossil oil supplies won't stretch endlessly, a hectic search started for other sources of oil. Especially the debate about so-called 'biofuels' or 'agrofuels' was high on the agenda in the last months, even though problems become obvious. GM agrofuels will also bring their own problems.

A. Lorch, GID 182, June 2007.

[img_assist|nid=178|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=43]GM plants are often put forward as a chance for developing countries to combat hunger. However, the evaluation of GM plants grown in developing countries or developed for them show that they fail to reach this goal. The examples of virus-resistant sweet-potatoes, pro-vitamin A rice and Bt maize show that these GM crops are an inappropriate approach to solve the issues that cause hunger and poverty.

A. Lorch, Die richtingen Maße für die Nahrung. Ethik in den Wissenschaften, October 2005.

[img_assist|nid=179|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=43]Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) affects about 40% of the world population. Many of those affected from vitamin and mineral deficiencies (VMD) appear to have enough to eat but still regularly miss vitamins and micronutrients such as iron, iodine or calcium in their diet. VAD especially affects small children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, resulting in higher suspectibility to other diseases and irreversible blindness.

A. Lorch, Greenpeace March 2005

[img_assist|nid=143|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=43]The goal of combating VAD is not to provide medical treatment, it is to avoid VAD and another VMDs. By combating VAD with home gardens, sustainable systems are created that provide food security and diversity from the grassroots level - in a way that empowers women and protects agro-biodiversity.

[img_assist|nid=178|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=43]In many countries population pressure, natural disasters, and changing climate conditions demand an urgent solution to the problem of food security. Genetic engineering claims to offer promising solutions, but is this a technology that can be applied with trust – and if so, under what conditions?

Biotechnology and Development Monitor, November 2001.

[img_assist|nid=143|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=100|height=43]Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is a serious form of malnutrition that weakens the immune system and may cause blindness. Several measures address VAD and have shown positive results. Genetically modified rice containing beta-carotene is a new approach in an early experimental stage. Golden Rice demonstrates the problems of public research in an area where both plant and technology are heavily protected by patents.