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May 3, 2000


An African Student Pleads for Biotechnology


- http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com


Hallo Prof. Prakash,

First, I am sorry that your e-mail got to me late because of problems we
face here. I am sincerely sorry that I could not react in good time for
your press release. However, my stand on the issue of Biotechnology is
firm as ever. People who have never been to this part of the world can
never understand problems our people go through. In Sub-saharan Africa,
for example, the problem of food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty is
overwhelming. We do appreciate the contribution of the Green Revolution
and all the associated benefits. However, we shall not adequately address
this triple faced problem unless we look for innovative and ingenious
scientific approaches. We therefore need to adopt appropriate
biotechnology techniques in solving these problems that have plagued us for
a long time.

If we respect the sanctity of human life, we cannot keep away from this
branch of science that promises us real solutions to our real problems and
hence can help alleviate the seemingly permanent human suffering in this
part of the world. We need to use the available technologies to save human
lives and biotechnology is one of the practical options we have now.

The triple faced problems of food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty is
further complicated by the AIDS epidemic. If we do not readily adopt
appropriate bitechonological techniques now, we are then set to miss the
benfits of this new branch of science. We did miss the actual 'feel' of
the Green revolution and not that we have a chance, we should not allow
ourselves to fail to reap maximum benefits from biotechnology.

We stand for the well being of the human race and that way we spent much of
our time looking for practical solutions to real problems.

Biotechnology has proved that it can provide practical solutions to some of
our problems and therefore it is time we decided to go for where the
solutions are. For how long shall we die from disease associated with
malnutrition, for how long shall we continue to die from hunger (famine)
and for how long shall continue to wallow in abject poverty? Is there a
solution out there?