GM rice will not end hunger in China

05/18/05

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday May 20, 2005. In North America the embargo lifts at 6:30pm ET Thursday May 19, 2005.

Boosting food production with GM rice is unlikely to eliminate hunger in China, states an editorial in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

China is expected to become the first country in the world to commercialise genetically engineered rice. But bumper harvests will not address the underlying causes of hunger--poverty and inequitable access to land and trade. By the mid-1990's, China had sufficient food production for its population, but 142 million people remain undernourished because of huge disparities in regional food supplies.

The Lancet comments: "By signalling that genetic modification is one route to providing food for all, China has bought into a common misconception: that upping food production will eliminate hungerFor China to achieve its goal of food for all, it must look beyond the economic lure of biotech options and focus on meeting the basic needs of the country's poor."

Source: Eurekalert & others

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