The real cost of anti-GM, pro-biofuels greenery; poor black babies starve.
Scotsman.com News - Families face stark choice ... pay more for food or go GM
CONSUMER resistance to the idea of genetically modified foods must be overcome if there is be a solution to the growing problem of food inflation, scientists have said.
"Organic farming requires four times as much land-use. It is an extensive method of agriculture, rather than intensive. Acceptance of biotechnologies will allow us to develop cheaper and better food and mitigate our environmental impact."
Advocates claim it will enable farmers to gain higher crop yields through better weed control and reduce the use of toxic pesticides...Genetic modification can give plants immunity to viruses, making crops less likely to fail and boosting yields. It can also improve their nutritional value.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said: "No-one has ever been reported as suffering from illness because the food they had eaten had been genetically modified." .....
Poor countries, they say, will be less reliant on hand-outs, the nutritional content of basic foods can be improved and vaccines to fight disease can all be added to GM crops. In essence, they claim it is the answer to the growing problem of feeding the world.
BUT critics, such as Friends of the Earth Scotland, believe the large-scale release of GM organisms into the environment would irreversibly damage the countryside, eliminating diversity and turning it into a green monoculture.
They claim it may cause damage to human health, contribute to the evolution of pesticide-resistant "superweeds", and make organic farming impossible because of cross-pollination.
Corn has doubled in price over the past 18 months, wheat prices have gained about 50 per cent, while sugar and cocoa prices are also on the up.
This week the UN warned that rising prices for food would affect its ability to fight famine in Africa.
A report by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, stressed that long-term prices would be up to 30 per cent higher than expected.
"Growth in the use of agricultural commodities as feedstock to a rapidly increasing biofuel industry is one of the main... reasons for international commodity prices to attain a significantly higher plateau," the report said.
The warning is likely to re-ignite the debate on food versus fuel. Under America's "ethanol policy", a quarter of US maize is converted into bio-fuels. As the US supplies more than two-thirds of the world's grain imports, the effect on food prices will be dramatic.