For Release: May 30, 2003
Contact: David Almasi at 202/543-4110 x106
or Project21@national[email protected]

 

Black Conservative Group Urges Bush to Press European Leaders to Join Fight Against Hunger in Africa

Calls for End to European Ban on Genetically Modified Foods

Famine in Africa should be addressed at the upcoming Group of Eight economic summit, says the African-American leadership network Project 21. To help avert famine in African countries, President Bush should press European leaders to end their unscientific opposition to genetically modified foods.

Genetic modification can be used to produce foods that will grow in adverse climates, repel insects, stay fresher for longer periods of time and provide greater nutritional benefits. Foods also can be grown to administer vaccinations that thwart deadly diseases. Fears of trade sanctions from European powers opposed to genetically modified foods has forced the governments of African countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe to reject U.S. food aid that contains biofood items.

In an interview with the Cybercast News Service, Alex Avery of the Hudson Institute Center for Global Food Issues noted the cultural differences fueling European opposition to genetically modified foods. Avery said: "Europe is abundantly fed. It is a surplus producer and has the luxury of forgoing technologies that are highly promising and productive. Africa doesn't have that luxury. They have horrible infrastructure. They desperately need productivity-enhancing technologies, including the basics like fertilizer and pesticides."

"The debate over the use of biofoods in Africa is unfortunately not just about food. If that were the case, millions more Africans would be going to bed with full stomachs and be properly immunized since we have the technology to do both right now," said Project 21 member John Meredith. "What is really at issue here is the same European mentality that has successfully suppressed Africans and people of African decent for hundred of years."

President Bush already has criticized Europeans' "unfounded, unscientific fears" about genetically modified foods, and has urged European governments to "join - not hinder - the great cause of ending hunger in Africa." The Bush Administration has also filed suit with the World Trade Organization to overturn European bans on biofoods.

Project 21 members urge President Bush to bring up the issue of genetically modified foods and fighting famine in Africa face-to-face with European leaders at the Group of Eight summit with the same vigor her has already shown in the United States.

Project 21 has been a leading voice in the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact Chris Burger or David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 or [email protected], or visit Project 21's web site at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html. National Policy Analysys #298, "Bio-Foods Can Improve Nutrition in America, Cut Starvation and Disease in Africa," by Project 21 member John Meredith on the issue of genetically modified foods is available at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA298.html.

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