Message to FAO: "Fight Hunger - Not Farmers"

UN Agency's report incompetent, illogical and ill-willed, say more than 650 civil society organizations in Open Letter


The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) 2003-2004 Report on the State of Food and Agriculture amounts to a declaration of war on the farmers it is pledged to support. Rural organizations contemplate next steps.

More than 650 civil society organisations (NGOs and social movements) and 800 individuals from 83 countries delivered an open letter to Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Rome-based UN agency today condemning FAO's incompetence in addressing scientific and technical issues related to genetically- engineered crops and questioning the agency's integrity in relating to the world's smallholder farmers. Among the signatories are national and international farmers' organisations, scientists, and literally hundreds of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) some of whom have had formal consultative status with FAO for decades. The letter was hand-delivered to FAO on behalf of its signatories Wednesday morning by Antonio Onorati, who chaired the umbrella body that worked with FAO and its member governments for the World Food Summits of 1996 and 2002.

The open letter comes one month after FAO's May 17th release of "Agricultural biotechnology: meeting the needs of the poor?" - the focus of the agency's annual "State of Food and Agriculture" Report.

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