Farmers clash with environmentalists

World hunger discussion banished to fringes of World summit.

Fred Pearce
Sep 3, 2002

Johannesburg, 4 September - African farmers and scientists weighed in against environmentalists in the final days of the World Summit. The conference had listed action on agriculture for the poor as one of its five main goals. Yet technical solutions to the global problem of hunger were rarely discussed during the formal proceedings.

Instead the arguments were confined to the summit "fringe", which heard a polarised debate between anti-GM activists on the one hand and farmers, scientists and GM company lobbyists on the other, arguing that biotechnology should be allowed to flourish without constraint by greens.

Prominent Indian anti-GM activist Vandana Shiva accused farmers who wanted GM seeds of being "insincere to the lot of farmers worldwide." But angry farmers showed their opposition when they invaded a panel discussion headed by Shiva.

Thembitshe Buthelezi, a cotton farmer from the Ubongwa Farmers Union in KwaZulu Natal province, South Africa, said...

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