Biotech Updates

ISAAA Launches "A Million Healing Hands to Help a Billion Hungry" Campaign

October 15, 2010

On the eve of World Food Day, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) launches a Knowledge Campaign on crop biotechnology "A million healing hands to help a billion hungry". Enlightened with a decade of knowledge sharing, ISAAA launches a high profile Knowledge Campaign for meeting the growing thirst for knowledge in crop biotechnology, food and agriculture in both developing and industrial countries to alleviate hunger and poverty – a noble and morally compelling  goal. The campaign aims to educate, inform and mobilize people to participate and spearhead knowledge, eliminate the knowledge divide and build a sustainable bridge between science and  society. The center of ISAAA's Knowledge Campaign is "people" – the mass mobilization of people with a million pairs of healing hands, offering knowledge about crop biotechnology, to help the 1 billion suffering people who are desperately poor and hungry. In this context, the theme of ISAAA's Knowledge campaign is "A million healing hands to help a billion hungry".

In keeping with the spirit of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to cut extreme hunger and poverty by half between 1990 and 2015, ISAAA reaffirms its commitment to crop biotechnology and agricultural development as keys in achieving this goal. It is estimated that farmers and landless laborers in Asia, Africa and Latin America represent 70% of the billion poor people in the world. Thus, ISAAA reiterates its strong belief of the crucial role of science-based knowledge about crop biotechnology, as a critical contribution to the alleviation of poverty and hunger, which is morally unacceptable in a just society.

The ISAAA Knowledge Campaign on crop biotechnology is dedicated to Dr. Norman Borlaug – the 1970 Nobel Peace Laureate who was the founding patron of ISAAA. With his full support and initiative, ISAAA established a fully- fledged Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology in 2000 in the Philippines with active nodes called Biotechnology Information Centers (BICs) in 24 countries globally. In 2010, ISAAA and its global family of BICs, are celebrating a decade of success in spearheading the sharing of knowledge and capacity building on crop biotechnology to help alleviate poverty in developing countries.

ISAAA has institutionalized the sharing of knowledge on crop biotechnology by creating and distributing a weekly email-based newsletter – Crop Biotech Update (CBU)  – which shares knowledge on crop biotechnology freely whilst, importantly, respecting the rights of others to make decisions based on science and knowledge. The CBU summarizes the latest world developments in agriculture, food and crop biotechnology relevant to developing countries. The CBU is now distributed weekly to over 850,000 subscribers in 200 countries  – the aim of ISAAA's Knowledge Campaign on biotech crops is to increase the number of subscribers  to 1 million by 31 December 2010. 

Reaffirming its mission to knowledge, technology and alleviation of poverty, the ISAAA Knowledge Campaign on crop biotechnology urges people participation by simply enrolling, without cost or obligation,  1 to 5 email addresses, or preferably more, of their co-professionals, and colleagues including students, for a draw to take place every week after the launch of campaign on the eve of the World Food Day, 16th Oct 2010. Three proud winners will be honored with a bronze duplicate of the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug Congressional Gold Medal every week and featured in the weekly CBU . The last draw will be made on Friday 31st December 2010 with a netbook to recognize the critical role of electronics in communication,  to be won by a deserving and eligible Borlaug medal winner from developing countries. ISAAA aims to enlighten 1 million or more subscribers to become torch bearers for science and knowledge sharing on crop biotechnology and its ultimate contribution to the alleviation of poverty, symbolized in the simple and compelling motto "A million healing hands to help a billion hungry".

To participate and have a chance to win the Borlaug medal, log on to ISAAA Knowledge Campaign at ISAAA's Knowledge Campaign has been launched globally in several languages other than English, including, Arabic (, Bahasa (, Chinese (, Hindi (,  Spanish (, Swahili (, Thai (, and Urdu (