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Crop Biotech Update

Former Anti-GMO Activist Pushes for Biotech Crops; Highlights Scientific Credibility of GMOs

August 28, 2013

Former anti-GMO activist and renowned British author and environmental campaigner Mark Lynas asserted the importance of biotech crops in addressing the challenges of food security during a media conference held at Dusit Hotel, Makati City, Philippines last August 23, 2013. Defending the importance of biotech R&D with Lynas was former president of the Philippine National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Dr. Emil Javier who stressed it would be of great value to the country in terms of global biotech competitiveness.

According to Lynas, there is a need to grow more food from the same area of land in order to address the increasing food demand of a growing population and protect habitats. He also highlighted the importance of scientific credibility when it comes to GMOs, explaining that peer reviewed materials or journals should be valued more than mere claims. Lynas shared that his viewpoint on GM crops changed when he studied biotechnology as part of his research on climate change. He expressed this change of mindset during his lecture at the Oxford Farming Conference in January 2013.

"I apologize for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonizing an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment," he said.

Lynas hails from the United Kingdom and has authored several bestselling books that tackle global issues including climate change and biotechnology. His book, Six Degrees: Our future on a hotter planet was also featured in the National Geographic Channel.

For details of the media conference, contact Jenny Panopio of SEARCA-BIC at jap@agri.searca.org.