U.N. Food Agency Supports Biotech Crops

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization waded into the debate over genetically modified crops today, and anti-biotech activists are none too happy about the development. A new report from the FAO argues that biotech crops hold “great promise” for alleviating the suffering of the world’s poor, as they can reduce the use of herbicides, increase yields, and enhance nutrition by boosting vitamin content. The report also claims that GM crops have not been proven to have any negative environmental or health effects. However, it questioned claims by biotech-industry groups that GM crops currently help the poor. The FAO points out that most biotech research is focused on crops such as soybeans and corn that are grown in rich countries; it’s calling for research into biotech varieties of crops like cowpeas, millet, and sorghum that serve as staples in developing countries. Anti-biotech organizations responded to the report with outrage. The world’s food problems “are not technical, they’re about access to markets, access to credit, land,” said Greenpeace’s Doreen Stabinsky.