From the Baltimore Sun:
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, who travels to a world food security conference in Rome next week, laid out the Bush administration’s strategy today for meeting the current worldwide crisis of rising food costs and shortages. The Bush plan, though, may not play well in Rome. Speaking to reporters, Schafer said he will press the Bush administration’s campaign to use bio-engineered, or genetically modified, crops as a way to help countries that now face food emergencies…
The use of GMO crops, though, will probably meet with opposition from European countries at the conference. Many won’t allow GMO seed, or the import of foods made from GMO crops. They argue that the health effects of such crops are not clear. That ban even caused several African nations in 2002 to consider forgoing U.S. aid that included GMO crops because they feared important European export markets would be lost. Eventually the U.S. grain aid was crushed into flour to prevent its use as seed.
Schafer and U.S. negotiators hope that the dire food emergency will change opinions on GMO crops, both abroad and at home. “Certainly the bioengineered crops are but one of many solutions,” Schafer said, “for increasing yields across the country if we’re going to meet the demand of increased consumption.”