"But this is far more than a food fight. In a very real sense, it's the same struggle recently demonstrated in Iraq between Old Europe's short-sighted, protect-our-corrupt-contracts approach to world issues and America's hopeful tradition that problems can be resolved, through such growth engines as research, knowledge, democracy, and free trade." - Biotechnology, Iraq and the Shape of Tomorrow's World Dennis Avery, Center for Global Food Issues, May 23, 2003 http://www.cgfi.org/materials/articles/2003/may_23_03.htm
"European governments should join -- not hinder -- the great cause of ending hunger in Africa" - George W. Bush
In 2001, the EU and its 15-member states provided $23.1 billion in development aid, compared to the figure for the U.S. of just $8.3 billion.
EU aides also accuse the U.S. of flooding developing countries with food aid when commodity prices are low and sharply curtailing that assistance when prices rise. (item 1)
[Zambia's President] Mwanawasa said he is glad that Zambia has survived the drought, despite the government's refusal to accept genetically modified maize in aid from the United States, a matter that has caused tense relations between the two countries.
"They had talked of 2.9 million people dying from the hunger. I'm glad we are still soldiering on. No one has died," he said. (item 3)
*EU aides say Bush biotech crop attack unjustified
*Green group says US exploits hungry in GM food row
*Zambia stops distribution of relief food ahead of harvest
EU aides say Bush biotech crop attack unjustified
Source - Reuters Commodities News (Eng)
Saturday, May 24, 2003 02:24
WASHINGTON, May 23 (Reuters) - European Union officials accused President George W. Bush on Friday of misrepresenting the facts when he said European hostility to genetically modified food was hurting efforts to fight hunger in Africa.
Speaking on the condition they not be identified, the EU officials said the European Union provides far more development assistance to African countries than the United States does.
They also rejected the notion that Europe was responsible for other countries refusing genetically modified crops.
"There's no such thing -- no such thing -- as an action by the European authorities or the European countries to force African countries or developing countries to refuse access to genetically modified crops," an EU official said.
In speech on Wednesday Bush accused Europe of standing in the way of biotechnology that could help end hunger in Africa.
"They have blocked all new bio-crops because of unfounded, unscientific fears. This has caused many African nations to avoid investing in biotechnologies, for fear their products will be shut out of European markets," Bush said.
"European governments should join -- not hinder -- the great cause of ending hunger in Africa," he added.
An EU official said Europe was "doing a lot, if not the most," to fight world hunger. In 2001, the EU and its 15-member states provided $23.1 billion in development aid, compared to the U.S. figure of just $8.3 billion, he said.
They also accused the United States of flooding developing countries with food aid when commodity prices are low and sharply curtailing that assistance when prices rise.
Last week, the United States took its complaint over the EU's five-year-old moratorium on approval of new genetically modified crops to the World Trade Organization.
While Bush was repeating arguments U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and other administration officials have made, EU officials said they were still surprised by the attack.
"I think the speech did not help to bridge our positions in this case," an EU aide said.
Green group says US exploits hungry in GM food row
Source - Reuters General News (Eng)
Friday, May 23, 2003 19:09
BRUSSELS, May 23 (Reuters) - A global environmental group hit back on Friday at a U.S. policy to export genetically modified (GM) food as aid, saying the crops pose potential health and economic risks to developing countries.
Friends of the Earth (FOE) said the United States, which is fighting the European Union's ban on most GM foods, was exploiting famine-stricken populations by denying them the choice to avoid genetically engineered crops in aid shipments.
The United States says GM crops are safe and have the potential to end food shortages in Africa.
It accuses the European Union of hampering U.S. efforts to fight famine in the continent as poor states adopt the wary European stance on hi-tech crops.
"They (EU) have blocked all new bio-crops because of unfounded, unscientific fears," U.S. President George W. Bush said on Wednesday.
"This has caused many African nations to avoid investing in bio-technologies for fear that their products will be shut out of European markets."
Friends of the Earth also noted that new U.S. legislation granting $15 billion to fight AIDS in Africa mentions the reluctance of some states to accept GM food.
It said this might imply a link between eligibility for the AIDS money and a country's willingness to accept GM foods.
"The U.S. should stop playing with hunger," said Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth Nigeria. "It is immoral for the U.S. to exploit famine and the AIDS crisis in this way."
Friends of the Earth campaigns against GM food across the globe, saying farmers and consumers must be allowed to choose GM-free products. It supports the five-year-old ban the European Union has imposed on most biotech crop imports.
Zambia stops distribution of relief food ahead of harvest
Source - Xinhua News Agency (Eng)
Friday, May 23, 2003 00:11
LUSAKA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The Zambian government has stopped the distribution of relief food in expectation of a bumper harvestas from Wednesday, President Levy Mwanawasa said Thursday.
He made the remark in Chisamba, a town in Central province, where he inspected a storage house and a commercial farm, accompanied by agricultural minister Mundia Sikatana and other officials.
The decision was made to protect the interests of farmers so asto encourage the development of agriculture, which he said is very important to the economy.
The government will also buy no less than 500,000 tons of maize through the Food Reserve Agency as a strategic reserve and a means to prevent the maize price from tumbling, he said.
A severe drought last year produced a sharp fall in maize production, causing a serious food shortage, as maize is the staple food in the southern African country.
Thanks to increased rains this year, the country is expecting a harvest of over one million tons of maize.
Mwanawasa said he is glad that Zambia has survived the drought, despite the government's refusal to accept genetically modified maize in aid from the United States, a matter that has caused tense relations between the two countries. "They had talked of 2.9 million people dying from the hunger. I'm glad we are still soldiering on. No one has died," he said.
Speaking earlier, Constain Chilala, vice president of the Zambian National Farmers' Union, has complained that distribution of free relief food and the government ban on export of maize in the wake of the drought are making it difficult for farmers to sell their maize at a profitable price.
He also criticized past practices in which the government was slow in importing maize while there was a shortage so that when the imported maize arrived the local crop was also on the market.
He urged the government to either allow exporting of excess maize, or absorb it by government procurement, or set an into-millfloor price, so that farmers will be encouraged to grow maize nextyear.