Brussels, 17 June 2002
Research into genetically modified (GM) foods could be better addressed to help those who need it more, a meeting of the Food and agriculture organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has heard in Rome.
The event, which took place between 10 and 13 June, heard that agricultural research that would have beneficiaries such as small farmers in developing countries is highly under funded. In developing countries, less than one half of one per cent of the value of their agricultural output is invested in agriculture research; while developed countries invest 2 to 5 per cent of the value of farm production in research.
A declaration signed at the event calls on the FAO, in conjunction with international research institutes, to advance agricultural research and research into new technologies, including biotechnology.
The safeguards for this should be that the science and technology involved should be clearly tested and that it should be aimed at improving agricultural productivity in developing countries.
The final declaration of the Rome meeting acknowledged that progress in alleviating hunger had been inadequate to reach a target agreed in the 1996 meeting, of reducing the number of hungry people in the world by 50 per cent by 2015. It foresaw new biotechnological research into a responsible use of GM food initiatives as a possible way of addressing this issue.
For further information, please consult the following web address: http://www.fao.org