GM isn’t the answer to hunger

GM isn’t the answer to hunger

Date: 1 February 2011

The World Development Movement criticised the findings of the Beddington report which promotes the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops as a key solution to global hunger.

The focus on GM in the Chief Scientist’s report is a red herring and does not correctly identify the real causes of hunger.

The World Development Movement’s director, Deborah Doane said: “The Beddington report does not accurately reflect the real cause of hunger in developing countries. The current record food prices are down to banks and hedge funds betting on food. The hot speculative inflows of money into commodity markets are dramatically pushing up the price of foods like bread, sugar and corn.

 “GM is not a magic bullet to cure global hunger. If the UK government really wants to reduce hunger in the developing world, they should break free of the grip of the GM and banking lobbyists, and crack down on predatory speculation by banks and hedge funds which will ensure stable and lower food prices. Furthermore, the UK government should be focused on supporting strengthening local markets and investing properly in small scale farmers in developing countries.

 “There is a long-term, gradual upward pressure on food prices, for example due to the impacts of climate change and the use of biofuels, on food production. But the recent high price movements we’ve seen can only be explained by opportunistic speculators snapping up food derivatives contracts on the back of media stories about low yields and increased demand. Speculators are simply out to make a quick buck.

 “The increase in the price of basic foods, like bread, milk and sugar, mixed with high rates of unemployment and frustration at political repression, is causing mass protests and unrest in Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, and Jordan. Unless the banks are forced to stop betting of food, people will continue to go hungry.”