Biotech Updates

Biotechnology will Contribute to African Agriculture, Vatican Experts Say

October 2, 2009

Vatican officials and food safety experts, in a symposium held in Rome last week, agreed that biotechnology will help improve African farming, an article published by the Catholic News Service (CNS) reported. The symposium, For a Green Revolution in Africa, was held before the Synod of Bishops for Africa, which was set to begin at the Vatican Oct. 4. Products obtained from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), albeit widespread in many parts of the world, have been controversial in Africa. According to the CNS report, the issue of GMOs, particularly their use as food, has also been controversial in the pre-synod meeting.

"Underdevelopment and hunger in Africa are due in large part to outdated and inadequate agricultural methods," said Giampaolo Crepaldi, former secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. He added that "new technologies that can stimulate and sustain African farmers must be made available, including seeds that have been improved by techniques that intervene in their genetic makeup."

The CNS also quoted Father Gonzalo Miranda, professor of bioethics at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University, as saying "If the data shows that biotechnology can offer great advantages in the development of Africa, it is a moral obligation to permit these countries to do their own experimentation."

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