PANAP to join advocates vs. pesticides, GMOs in summit on food justice

PENANG, Malaysia – PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) is joining anti-pesticides, anti-genetic engineering and pro-agroecology advocates from around the world in the weeklong International Food Justice Summit in Hawai’i.

To be held from 14-22 January, the summit is being organized by the Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) North America “to help local leaders engage a broad cross-section of people in dialogue and action around health, agriculture, economics and self-determination”.

According to the organizers, the activities include a speaking tour with international experts, a public conference, targeted meetings with organizers and impacted communities and a small-scale strategy session. PANAP executive director Sarojeni V. Rengam is among those invited to speak in the summit.

“This is a great opportunity to share on and learn from the different strategies to effectively campaign against the toxic pesticides and GMOs (genetically modified organisms) being forced on local communities by giant agrochemical corporations,” Rengam said.

Rengam added that holding the summit in Hawai’i is significant in highlighting the people’s struggle against pesticides and GMOs. “The island is being used by the agrochemical giants as their laboratory for genetically engineered crops that will push farmers and other small food producers into greater reliance on harmful pesticides,” said Rengam.

The PANAP official noted that for the past three decades, the big corporations behind pesticides and GMOs have been promising to address hunger and drought while improving the livelihood of farmers. “But this promise does not only remain unfulfilled. Worse, pesticides and GMOs have contributed in aggravating global hunger and poverty, including of those who directly produce the world’s food,” Rengam said.

Pesticide giants Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont and Syngenta – the so-called “Big 6” – dominate not only the global agrochemical market but also control majority of the world’s seeds, while leading the development of controversial genetically engineered crops.

HAPA and PANNA pointed out that people in many Hawaiian communities directly impacted by pesticides and GMOs are rising up and that “the summit will highlight and support this growing movement, and make clear that the harms seen in Hawai’i are also found in communities around the world, and are driven by the same corporations”.

Reference: Ms. Sarojeni V. Rengam, PANAP Executive Director (sarojeni.rengam@panap.net)

For more information about the International Food Summit, the organizers may be contacted through the following:
Elif Beall, HAPA, 808.652.5039, ebeall@HAPAhi.org
Gary Hooser, HAPA, 808.652.4479, ghooser@HAPAhi.org
Paul Towers, PAN, 808.206.8868 or 916.588.3100, ptowers@panna.org
Medha Chandra, PAN, 415.728.0177, mchandra@panna.org

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