News Brief – September 8, 2008
Britain’s former chief scientist will warn Monday night that Europe’s resistance to Genetically Modified (GM) crops is contributing to famine in Africa.
In a speech at the BA Science Festival at Liverpool University, Sir David King will warn that aid agencies are causing food shortages in Africa by encouraging farmers to continue with traditional "organic" farming.
He claims that 700,000 lives were unnecessarily lost every year because of malnutrition and unhygienic food and water, many of which could be prevented if GM were introduced.
"The most advanced form of plant breeding, using modern genetic techniques, is now available to us" says the former chief scientist appointed during the Blair years.
"The problem is that the western world's move toward organic farming – a lifestyle choice for a community with surplus food – and against agricultural technology in general and GM in particular, has been adopted across the whole of Africa... with devastating consequences."
He said a "green revolution" was needed which would break the Continent's dependency on food aid and allow Africa to catch up with the rest of the world.
Sir David is also expected to call for the science community to re-focus its efforts on the challenges such as global warming, disease and a population that could reach nine billion by 2050.
However, given that Sir David once described ‘global warming’ as the biggest threat facing mankind
, we might concur with the editor of the medical journal The Lancet
who once described him as "letting off blasts of hot and sometimes rancid air".
And perhaps we should be more than a little wary of his motives given that he was appointed the government’s chief scientific advisor during the Blair regime: the very government that used Saddam’s supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction as a pretext to launch the Iraq invasion.
Last updated 10/09/2008