From Mr Craig Sams, President, Whole Earth Ltd.

GM crop research

Sir, Professor Beringer (report, December 23) says that opponents of GM food are consigning billions to hunger and starvation and calls for more government funding for GM crop research. The main cause of starvation in the world is
poverty. Concentrating power in the hands of agrichemical and seed companies will not alleviate this problem.

There is too much food in the world, more than enough to feed everyone, even allowing for increasing levels of consumption of land-hungry foods such as meat and dairy products. The reality of how we dispose of food surpluses is unsettling for those who are truly concerned about hunger.

The American Corn Growers' Association is lobbying hard to get other US states to emulate Minnesota, where it is now a legal requirement for gasoline companies to add 2.5 per cent ethanol (corn alcohol) to fuel in an attempt to use up American grain surpluses.

Edible corn is grown using fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides produced from fossil fuels, using farm machines that run on fossil fuels, then fermented and distilled using fossil fuels to produce a substitute for fossil fuels. There is as yet no evidence that GM crops deliver higher yields.

Professor Beringer's call for more government funding for GM crop research should not be heeded. The US Agricultural Research Service funded and part-owns the much-hated "Terminator" gene and the British Government has poured
taxpayers' money into GM crop research. This has been money wasted. If there is a genuine market demand for GM technology then let it stand on its own commercial feet.

This Government has recently held back the growth of organic farming in the UK by restricting funding for farmers who want to get off the agrichemical treadmill and to practise environmentally sustainable agriculture.

Yours sincerely,
(President), Whole Earth Ltd,
269 Portobello Road, W11 1LR.

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