GREENPEACE: Lifing GMO ban can trigger a deadly blow to environment and agriculture

Bangkok, 18 December 2007 - Greenpeace activists today staged the plight of a dying farmer in front of the Government House to symbolize the dangers posed by genetically modified organisms and to warn the military-installed cabinet that lifting the ban on open field trials of GMO can trigger a deadly blow to Thailand agriculture and environment.

'Thais will face this type of threats if GMOs are released in the open as they will irreversibly contaminate our crops and the environment, endangering human health and livelihoods of farmers,' said Natwipha Ewasakul Genetica Engineering Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace has constantly warned the government to uphold the GMO field trial ban. Recently, volunteers from the environment organization marched to the Government House to deliver a petition, signed by more than 10,000 Thai consumers and farmers, against genetically modified organisms.

'The cabinet must reject all attempts by the Ministry of Agriculture into making a rushed decision of lifting the GMO ban. Lifting the ban would likely mean GMO contamination and adverse effect to crops and the environment,' she added. 'The Ministry of Agriculture's insistence on repealing the ban at this crucial period before the elections exposes the aggressive agenda being pursued by GMO pushers in the current government.'

Greenpeace maintains that the genetic modification of food crops endangers human health, harms the environment, and jeopardizes farmers' livelihoods. GMO crops further cause genetic contamination. Once GMOs are released into the environment, usually via open field trials, it is almost impossible to recall them and the process is irreverible.

Economic losses associated with GMO contamination are massive. The US rice industry suffered losses expected to exceed USD 1.2 billion due to GMO rice contamination. Illegal contamination of Thailand's papaya crops from GMO field trials in 2004 also led to considerable losses as market confidence on Thai papaya exports faltered.Greenpeace campaigns for GE-free crop and for food production that is grounded in the principles of sustainability, protection of biodiversity and providing all people access to safe and nutritious food. Genetic engineering is an unnecessary and unwanted technology that contaminates the environment, threatens biodiversity and poses unacceptable risks to health.

For more information:
Natwipha Ewasakul, Genetic Engineering Campaigner
Tel: 085-843-7300
Wiriya Kingwatcharapong, Media Campaigner
Tel: 089-487-0678 or 02-357-1921#115