11.11.11, Broederlijk Delen, Oxfam Belgium and Vredeseilanden have requested to keep the hunger issue separated from the discussions about GMOs. Even if this technology can realize the promise of a higher production, it doesn’t solve the hunger problem. Indeed, it is not that there is insufficient food. Presently, production is sufficient to feed everyone. The persons who are hungry today (almost 1 billion nowadays) have no access to food and that has one major cause: poverty.
People with hunger are people who are poor, and most of them live in rural areas. Therefore, investing in sustainable family farming is the way to follow. 'Betting on an increased production alone will not contribute significantly to the struggle against hunger and undernourishment, if it is not combined with higher incomes for the poorest people, especially for small-scale family farmers in the South’, the UN Special Rapporteur for the right to food recently concluded.
90% of the GM crops today grow in the US, Brazil, Argentina and Canada. It concerns maize (for fodder and ethanol), soy (for fodder) and cotton. 10 companies control the market of GMO seeds as well as the market of related agrochemical products. This caused the dependence on Monsanto soy in Latin America to become enormous. GMOs are designed to be used in an agricultural model that makes intensive use of external raw materials, energy and capital. It is a model that is not in balance with the local ecosystems and that is responsible for the emission of a significant quantity of greenhouse gases.
By investing in agro-ecology, production can greatly increase, incomes are generated where poor people live and a negative environmental impact is avoided. That way, the struggle against poverty and the production of food are linked. We are supported in this vision by a large number of recent publications concerning the issue, such as IAASTD (2008) or the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2011).
GMOs represent a successful commercial model for a limited number of companies. However, it is unrealistic to expect that new GM crops could suddenly be compatible with an agro-ecological agricultural system. They have not been designed with that end in mind.