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Vatican newspaper denounces pressure to influence Church on genetically-modified organisms

Catholic World News - May 01, 2009

In a op-ed piece for L’Osservatore Romano, Francesco Valiante has denounced pressure campaigns from both sides to influence the Magisterium’s reflections on genetically modified organisms.

Valiante also draws attention to concerns that African bishops have expressed about genetically modified organisms. The working document of the upcoming Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops notes:

Farm workers, on whom a great part of the African economy depends, are victims of injustice in marketing their products. They are often paid a very low price for their goods. Paradoxically, in some parts of Africa, the cost is even set by the buyers themselves. Populations already suffering from a disadvantage are thereby further impoverished. The seeding campaign of proponents of Genetically Modified Food, which purports to give assurances for food safety, should not overlook the true problems of agriculture in Africa: the lack of cultivatable land, water, energy, access to credit, agricultural training, local markets, road infrastructures, etc. This campaign runs the risk of ruining small landholders, abolishing traditional methods of seeding and making farmers dependent on the production companies of OGM. Furthermore, the problem of climate change, whose effects are being felt in arid areas, is compromising the modest gains of African economies. Will the synod fathers be able to remain unresponsive to these questions weighing so heavily on the shoulders of their countrymen?

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