ISAAA and ICRISAT train Asia's media
Although the article below describes ISAAA as an "agri-research body", it is in fact a GM industry backed propaganda outfit. And its multi-million dollar budget is matched by high-profile board members, past and present, from Monsanto, Syngenta, and the AusBiotech Alliance. ISAAA has no representatives from farmer organizations in areas like Africa.
But what about ICRISAT - the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics? Surely they don't have GM industry connections?
The Chair of ICRISAT's Governing Board is one Nigel Poole. He was once the public face of GM tomato paste!
At that time, Poole worked for the GM firm Zeneca, which as well as meeting resistance to its GM tomato paste, which was finally abandoned in 1999, also faced protests over its GM trees.
Zeneca, by then AstraZeneca, was also involved in trying to develop a GM terminator technology that created sterile (or so-called "suicide") seeds.
Zeneca/AstraZeneca went on to become part of GM giant Syngenta. And Nigel Poole went on to be given an OBE for his services to the biotechnology industry.
Poole was also, while still working for the industry, one of the UK's GM regulators, as part of ACRE, till he was forced off the committee because of the conflict of interest.
Poole also created controversy by admitting to being part of an unlicensed release of GM tomato seeds - via his digestive tract!
He was also on the Biotechnology committee of the Confederation of British Industry.
He's currently on the advisory board of Oxford Capital Partners which aims to extend private equity growth capital to wealthy families as well as to institutional investors.
All of which makes him more than qualified to oversee ICRISAT's mission of empowering the more than 600 million poor people living on $2 a day or less in the dry tropics, to overcome their poverty and hunger via agriculture.
India paying heavy cost by not adopting GM crops: experts
Press Trust of India, June 28 2011
GM Crops: Hyderabad - India is paying a heavy cost by not adopting the genetically modified (GM) crops in a big way and the farmers should be given opportunity to reap benefits of the technology like in case of BT cotton, experts with the global agri-research bodies ISAAA and ICRISAT have said.
"India, the pioneers among the developing countries is paying a high cost by not going for biotech crops in a big way," Founder and chair of International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Application (ISAAA) Clive James said at a global conference on crop biotechnology here.
India, which allowed commercial cultivation of Bt cotton in 2002, has put moratorium on Bt brinjal since February 2010.
ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics) Director General William Dar exuded confidence that Indian policy makers will soon realise the advantage of this plant technology and go for it in a big way.
"Indian farmers have already tasted the success from commercial cultivation of Bt cotton... Why are these farmers not given the opportunities to reap rich benefits by growing other Bt crops," James and Dar said making a strong case for popularisation of GM crops in India.
Both experts described crop biotechnology as a powerful tool to address the food demand of the rising global population.
Terming as "untrue" the apprehensions spread by activists that GM crops have bad health affects, James and Dar said the Bt crops are safe from science research point of view which is reflected in expanding areas under it world over.
The ISAAA chief said though the Bt crops seeds cost higher than the normal ones, the overall input cost involved in cultivating GM crops is less than the latter as it does not involve deep ploughing and use of expensive fertilisers.
The one-day conference on 'Demystifying crop biotechnology: Issues and concepts for the Asian media' was organised jointly by ISAAA, ICRISAT, Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) and the Department of Biotechnology yesterday.
There were participants from India, Japan, China, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden and some European countries.
The world population is expected to touch 9 billion by 2050, and there is a need to double the production from current level to feed this mammoth population, James said.
"By displaying strong political will, China has approved Bt in cotton, papaya, poplar, tomato and sweet pepper and its farmers are reaping rich benefits," James said emphasising the need for adoption of this crop technology by other countries.