We have to dispel the myth of "philanthropic GM" (a fabulous oxymoron). Genetic modification is a biotechnology that is driven primarily by corporations and scientists working in the private sector.
This means they are inevitably more concerned with profit-making, pleasing shareholders and obtaining research funding than empowering farmers to have more control over their food system.
Corporations are attracted to GM because they can patent new seed varieties and recover their research investments by selling seeds together with proprietary inputs, such as chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
Rather than pushing for "philanthropic GM" and helping corporations increase their control of seed markets, we should be supporting the right of farmers to freely save, develop and exchange their own seeds.
Only by recognising the importance of farmer-led innovation in the development and preservation of seed varieties, will we ever stand a chance of creating a truly sustainable and resilient food system.
DR IAN FITZPATRICK
Global Justice Now, London