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Source: CropLife America press release

CropLife president and CEO Jay Vroom strongly criticized the release of a final report by the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), originally designed to examine agricultural practices worldwide and how they might be altered to increase the world food supply while improving sustainability. According to Vroom, the report issued April 15 in Johannesburg, South Africa blatantly ignores the role modern plant sciences plays in expanding and ensuring crop productivity necessary to achieve those purposes.

"The initial goal of IAASTD was to evaluate the effectiveness of modern ag production in reducing world hunger as well as toward enhancing nutrition, health and sustainability," Vroom stated. "Incredibly enough, the report overlooks the vast potential and highly successful roles of crop protection and plant biotechnology, and misconstrues these products' risks."

Although over 400 scientists were involved in the study, the report is coming under criticism by some governments and many internationally recognized establishments such as the Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI) and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Late last year, some key supporters even quit the project due to the controversial direction in which it was headed.

The Johannesburg meeting led to even more confusion and controversy when the discussion turned to trade and biotechnology. The dissension was not satisfactorily resolved before the session concluded, according to several observers.

Vroom continued, "The plant science industry has traditionally offered the best practical solutions to the world's growing demand for food. Especially today, in the face of increasing food and energy prices, our modern science and technological advancements offer the best chance to succeed. Farmers worldwide not only deserve the benefits of these achievements; but, they desperately require them to survive. And farmers everywhere depend on our industry to continue to invent and develop even better technological solutions for the future. This is particularly true of agriculture in over 30 countries around the globe that are now facing critical food shortages."

Vroom concluded, "We stand ready to continue to defend current technology and advocate for a continued climate that provides incentive for additional innovation - and will partner with those like-minded governments and institutions that also embrace such vision."

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