August 21, 2002 – The South African Freeze Alliance on Genetic Engineering (SAFeAGE) and Friends of the Earth International today denounced the promotion of GE crops at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD).

They called on governments to not legitimise the use of GE crops as a sustainable solution for agriculture. Both groups stated that they would oppose any partnerships within the WSSD process that promotes the use of GE crops as a tool for sustainable agriculture.

Tewolde Egziabher, the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency in Ethiopia commented that partnerships that would promote GM crops” are like a partnership between a predator and its prey.”

Biotech companies and front organisations responsible for promoting GE, such as Monsanto, Aventis, AfricaBio and ISAAA, are actively seeking to utilise the WSSD process to legitimise GE crops as a sustainable solution for agriculture in developing countries through partnerships and other initiatives. Campaigners say the Summit should focus on the real sustainable farming practices instead of promoting commercially driven “solutions” of the GE industry.

For instance Monsanto uses the plant science industry federation, Croplife to promote GE crops in developing countries. CropLife has been very active during the WSSD process in seeking to develop working partnerships to create “opportunities for sustainable agriculture” that includes GE crops. CropLife International and its support of ” Green Biotechnology” emanates from member companies like Monsanto, Dupont, Aventis, Syngenta and Bayer CropScience.

” This is not a green solution but public relations greenwash”, said spokesperson for SAFeAGE, Glenn Ashton. ” There are other alternatives to GE to fulfil the needs of Africa and the south with far greater and proven potential than GE crops” Ashton said.

For more information:
Glenn Ashton, SAFeAGE, tel 27 (0)83 403 2623
Juan Lopez, Friends of the Earth International, tel. 27 (0) 724015390