Threat to tropical oils
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CTA. 1996. Threat to tropical oils. Spore 61. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47240
The harvest of the first commercial crop of a genetically engineered oilseed plant took place last summer, in the south-east of America. The rapeseed plant had been altered by the biotechnology company Calgene of Davis, California, to produce...
The harvest of the first commercial crop of a genetically engineered oilseed plant took place last summer, in the south-east of America. The rapeseed plant had been altered by the biotechnology company Calgene of Davis, California, to produce tropical oils similar to those more usually extracted from coconuts and palm kernels. One of the critics of this development is the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), a group that campaigns on behalf of farmers in poor countries. Hope Shand, research director at RAFI, fears that such developments would have a major impact tin the countries that depend on sales of 'naturally, produced' coconut and palm oil which, in many cases, comes from small farmers who grow coconut or oil palm alongside other crops. Hope Shand believes that this genetically engineered oilseed rape is a perfect example of how genetic engineering may impoverish the Third World rather than helping it to develop. In reply, Roger Salameh, a market analyst with Calgene, says that the altered rapeseed poses no threat to the countries which produce tropical oils because their aim is to produce a reliable oil source to buffer the US market from the wildly fluctuating crops of tropical countries. In 1993 the US imported 600,000 tonnes of lauric oil, while Calgene's goal for the new rapeseed plant is to produce only about 10% of the lauric oils used in the US. Rural Advancement Foundation International PO Box 655 Pittsboro NC 27312 USA