Genetically modified crops not a solution to poverty, hunger, and climate change: Report

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Washington, May 15 : Based on an assessment of the global agriculture scenario, experts have come to the conclusion that genetically modified (GM) crops are not a solution for poverty, hunger or climate change.

The final report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), which was signed by the governments of about 60 countries in April in Johannesburg, suggests that it is necessary to introduce a fundamental change in farming practices to address soaring food prices, hunger, social inequities, and environmental disasters.

The report acknowledges that GM crops are highly controversial, reports the Environmental News Network.

IAASTD Director Robert Watson said that much more research was needed to prove whether GM crops offer any benefits, and are harmless to human health and the environment.

The study-sponsored by a number of major international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, and UNESCO-revealed 22 facts about global agriculture.

An analysis of its findings gives the impression that industrial large-scale agriculture is unsustainable because such farming is dependent on cheap oil and causes negative impacts on ecosystems.

The comprehensive report produced by over 400 scientists also warned against the expansion of biofuels, saying that turning food crops into fuels could exacerbate food shortages.

It recommends small-scale farming and agro-ecological methods as ways to solve the current food crisis and to meet the needs of local communities, declaring that indigenous and local knowledge play as important a role as formal science.

The United States, Canada, and Australia were the only governments in attendance not to sign.

Despite being among the stakeholders who selected the report's authors, they accuse the assessment of being "unbalanced", and are attacking the authors' independence.

ANI

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