WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US government is pressuring African countries to adopt genetically modified (GM) food, the environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth said in a report.“The USA government, its sponsored programs and projects…are collectively attempting to force unwilling African countries to accept expensive and inappropriate GM [food],” the report, issued on Monday, said.
Through the US Agency for International Development, the US government runs public relations campaigns and drafts GM crop approval systems for African governments that downplay health risks and promote foreign corporate investment in African agriculture, according to the report.
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These projects “typically characterize concerns about GMOs as anti-science, anti-progress and an attempt to keep Africa poor,” the report said.
Friends of the Earth also accused the United States of undermining the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the UN’s convention on genetically modified food safety that has been signed by 168 countries.
“Many of the African biosafety regimes that have been developed, or are in development in Africa with USAID assistance, may contravene the provisions of the Cartagena Protocol, providing a lower standard of biosafety than that envisioned by the Protocol,” the report said.
Friends of the Earth has asserted that genetically modified food carries potential health risks and empowers transnational corporations at the expense of small farmers.
Proponents of GM food reject the charges. On its website, the US Department of Agriculture says genetic modification can increase crop yields and make crops resistant to pests.
PUBLISHED: 00:28 24.02.2015(updated 00:41 24.02.2015)