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Experts debate on food

Ropate Valemei
Thursday, May 29, 2014

ABOUT 60 per cent of accountants and professionals at the Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress voted against genetically-modified food as the answer to world hunger.

In a debate at the event last Saturday at the Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa, lawyer Richard Naidu and Reverend James Bhagwan changed the perspectives of the majority of participants that genetically-modified food was the only key to eradicate world hunger.

Ministry of Health's Dr Isimeli Tukana and Professor William Aalbersberg managed to persuade 32 per cent of the participants to vote for the debatable topic.

During the debate, Dr Tukana said Fijians loved their food.

"All Fijians love to eat food. Yes food is the answer to hunger," he said.

"Let's talk about food from the 1800s until now. In the 1800s, we ate genetic food and then moved to organic foods in the 1900s and then processed food at the moment."

He said more than 50 per cent of Fijians now moved from organic to supermarket farming.

"Fiji is in the chemistry stage of the journey, moving from genetic to the organic, to chemical to now genetic modified foods."

Prof Aalbersberg said genetically modified food would not be the only answer to world hunger but had 80 per cent of the answers

He said it had less environmental impacts.

However, Mr Bhagwan argued this was not the answer and this could create problems such as more resilient insects. He said more transparency was vital.

Mr Naidu said the problem in the world was not lack of food but how the system was distributing it.

He said while 870 million people were hungry in the world, the US estimated $US120billion ($F219b) was used to treat obesity last year.

He added we can produce food but people are still hungry in the world.


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