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Riv Biol. 2006 Sep-Dec;99(3):381-94.

The impact of GMOs on poor countries: a threat to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals?

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United Nations Millennium Campaign.


The first of the Millennium Development Goals - halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by 2015 - is essential for eradicating poverty, as most of the poor live in rural areas. The role of agriculture is, therefore, key to the fight against poverty.Nevertheless, over the last years rich countries diminished their official development assistance for agricultural development and some of them proposed and pushed for a new model of agriculture based on biotechnology. Such a new model of agriculture is presented by its supporters as a means to contribute to the elimination of poverty, as it intends to maximise the crop production.However, it does not take into consideration that policies fighting hunger: need a more comprehensive approach; must take into consideration socio-economic and environmental peculiarities, especially local needs and traditional knowledge and practices. Genetically modified technology goes against these basic requirements, as it is designed to suit multinational enterprises in the North. When drafting development policies, rich and poor countries must bear in mind that the framework of the Millennium Development Goals, to which 189 Nations committed, requires a coherent approach to empower the poor, especially women, and promote traditional knowledge of indigenous people and local communities, as well as ensuring environmental sustainability. The fight to poverty and hunger will not be won and people will still go hungry if the fundamental causes of hunger and food insecurity are not tackled, whereas genetically modified technology is not based on this assumption.

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