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To mark World Food Day (Oct. 16) this year, the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa a network of farmers' organizations operating in 52 out of 54 African countries is joining with hundreds of other leading advocates worldwide to oppose the use of gene drives. We have called on the United Nations and other multilateral organizations to enact a global moratorium on the release of these biotechnologies into the environment, and particularly in agricultural settings.Gene drives have been described as "genetic forcers," because they literally force genetically engineered traits onto entire populations of insects, plants, fungi, and other organisms. Gene drives pose a clear threat to natural systems.According to "Forcing the Farm," a new report from the ETC Group and the Heinrich Boll Foundation, even leaders in the gene-drive field quietly accept that the technologies they are developing will be used in agribusiness more than in any other sector.After all, gene drives have the potential to change the entire business model of industrial agriculture. Having been sold on gene drives as a possible magic bullet, farming organizations such as the California Cherry Board and the U.S. Citrus Research Board are collaborating with Agragene Inc., the world's first agricultural gene-drive company. Some gene-drive proponents have argued that GDOs could be compatible with agro-ecological approaches such as organic farming.
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