Global shock and outrage about World Food Prize being awarded to GMO executives

Recipients of the Right Livelihood Award and Members of the World Future Council condemn the selection of GMO scientists and company executives as winners of the World Food Prize.

On June 19th, the winners of the 2013 World Food Prize were announced. The prize goes to three company executives, including Monsanto executive vice president and chief technology officer, Robert Fraley.

Scientists and activists throughout the world expressed their shock over the selection of winners. The prize sends a terribly wrong signal for the future of food security and agriculture by hailing technological developments that, in application by their multi-national patent holders, seek to establish a model of farming that undermines both sustainability and democracy.

Global food expert Vandana Shiva from India (RLA 1993) said: "Not only are GMOs unsafe, they are destroying biodiversity, increasing farmers' dependency on seed and chemicals and leading to the emergence of super pests and super weeds. This is a recipe for food insecurity and non sustainability."

With awarding the prize basically to companies like Monsanto and Syngenta, the jury promotes the concentration of power in the hands of a few multi-nationals, and ignores evidence from around the world that has shown how ecological agriculture can enhance productivity and benefit the soil and biodiversity without forcing farmers to buy in expensive seeds and chemicals. 

Frances Moore Lappé (USA, RLA 1987), bestselling author of „Diet for a small planet“ commented: "The honorees of the World Food Prize are contributing to the problems that keep us locked in a world where hundreds of people are hungry while there is plenty of food".    

81 Laureates of the Right Livelihood Laureates and Members of the World Future Council jointly condemned this year’s choice of the World Food Prize Jury in a statement originally published on the Huffington Post.

They said: “The choice of the 2013 World Food Prize is an affront to the growing international consensus on safe, ecological farming practices that have been scientifically proven to promote nutrition and sustainability. Many governments have rejected GMOs and as many as two million citizens in 52 countries recently marched in opposition to GMOs. In living democracies, discounting this knowledge and these many voices is not acceptable.“ 

Video statements by Vandana Shiva and Frances Moore Lappé on the issue

In May, a world wide March against Monsanto took place.

In June, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation organised a seminar called 'Global Food Security: A rights-based approach to agricultural technologies.' For more information and the scientific report launched there, please read our Newsletter.

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