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Date:

June 19, 2003

Subject:

SOUND SCIENCE MUST PREVAIL IN SACRAMENTO

 

Sound Science Must Prevail in Sacramento

Contact: C.S. Prakash at 1-334-444-7884; [ mailto:prakash@tuskegee.org
]prakash@tuskegee.org

June 20, 2003; Tuskegee, Alabama - International leaders attending the
Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology in
Sacramento, California next week should let sound science determine the
future of agricultural technologies in developing countries, according to
the AgBioWorld Foundation, a global coalition of academics and scientists
which includes over 20 Nobel Prize winners.

"Special interest group activists have been planning to disrupt the
conference for months by promoting fear rather than science," said Dr.
C.S. Prakash, AgBioWorld's president. "The voices of protest must not be
allowed to deny starving people access to technologies which can improve
the lives of over 1.3 billion people who live on less than one dollar a
day."

These technologies include crops improved through biotechnology which have
already been proven to increase yields, reduce pesticide use and curb soil
erosion in developed countries, while other crops currently under
development will provide enhanced nutrition and offer salt tolerance and
drought resistance - valuable traits in parts of the world where water
resources are scarce.

"The people protesting plant biotechnology are the same ones who protest
the use of fertilizer and pesticides, who want all farming to be low
yielding organic," said Prakash. "But that is precisely why there is so
much hunger in developing countries - they already are organic, not by
choice, but because they lack modern agricultural inputs and advanced seed
varieties."

Support for the safety and benefits of crops derived through biotechnology
has been voiced by dozens of respected organizations such as The British
Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences, the World Health
Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,
the French Academy of Medicine and the American Medical Association. The
benefits of biotechnology improved crops are already being realized in
China, South Africa, Argentina, India, the Philippines and other
developing countries.

"It is easy for well-fed activists in wealthy industrialized countries to
denigrate new agricultural technologies because they face no risks by
doing so," said Dr. Prakash. "But for farmers in developing countries,
shunning improvements in agriculture can mean the difference between life
and death for themselves and their children. Their future success hinges
first on improved agricultural production."

The thousands of AgBioWorld members strongly urge the protesters and the
organic industry interest groups which fund them to abandon their
campaigns of fear, and encourage them to instead support the application
of all our best tools and science, including biotechnology, toward
alleviating the ravages of hunger and malnutrition. The annual budget for
Greenpeace alone redirected to science-based crop research could help
improve the lives of millions. Spending that money on food-fear propaganda
and campaigns which promote the destruction of agricultural research in
the face of global hunger is an affront to human decency.