基改農作物入侵? 吉爾吉斯戒慎恐懼 | 環境資訊中心

基改農作物入侵? 吉爾吉斯戒慎恐懼

2008年03月12日
摘譯自2008年3月10日ENS吉爾吉斯,比斯凱克報導;謝芳怡編譯;莫聞審校

吉爾吉斯市場上的蕃茄。圖片來源:Kipp Efinger吉爾吉斯環境保護人士對於國內不受限制的基改作物進口行為感到擔憂,並要求政府提出健全的配套政策。他們認為,在其他國家就基改作物的利弊進行激烈的爭辯時,吉爾吉斯執政當局卻沒有任何反應。

事實上,吉爾吉斯政府在2006年夏季曾針對此議題提出討論,當時吉爾吉斯國內正準備開放基改產品的進口和生產,並針對生物多樣性訂立草案。但當草案進入國會表決時,卻在2007年1月遭到眾議院駁回,要求進一步加強法案內容。

當時也是草案撰寫者之一的基因工程專家摩洛貝(Gennady Vorobyev)表示,該法案無法正式通過,讓基改產品的使用出現法令上的漏洞。

基因改造在1990年代中期開始廣泛應用在農業用途,自此以後科學家也就其優點和風險展開激烈的討論。支持派駁斥,抗病或抗蟲性變種作物能大幅度提高採收量,進而改善某些貧窮國家貧窮和飢荒問題。他們同時也堅持,新型的基改食物品種對於人體完全無害。

反對派則對此論調提出強烈質疑,深怕基改品種會破壞人類免疫系統,引發過敏反應或其他不適症狀。此外,他們也擔心基改品種的「基因污染效應」會危及環境生態。農業專家艾巴度蘇洛夫(Yrysbek Abdurasulov)教授就是極為擔憂基因污染的其中一人。他指控在沒有任何監管的情況下,數量相當大的基改種子已從美國、荷蘭、德國、中國或其他地區進口到吉爾吉斯,品種包括西瓜、甘藍菜、蕃茄、胡椒、黃瓜、馬鈴薯和甜菜。

其中最讓人擔心的,就是具有不可預測性特徵的生物突變,以及含有危險病毒的物種。基因改造是一筆龐大的商機,美國、日本、德國、法國、中國和印度是最大的製造商,根據某些研究估計,每年基改產品的全球年銷售量約價值200億美元。然而,若以佔全球食品年消費量的1%來看,其產量仍是相對的偏少。

生產的西瓜。圖片來源:ENS但在基因改造工業的快速成長,加上吉爾吉斯政府無法就進口量日漸增加作出反應的情況,已讓當地的環境人士感到十分憂心。在2003年簽署通過的卡塔赫納生物安全議定書(Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety)基礎上,吉爾吉斯應該能夠針對基改進口行為進行管制,這項協議書授予吉爾吉斯這類發展中經濟體,在國內缺乏法規架構時,可以就風險評估的結果來決定是否開放進口基改食品。

然而,吉爾吉斯環境人士也指控,當政府內部無人探究落實這項協議的可能性時,這個機制形同虛設。官方對於基改產品的忽視,讓民眾對於基改產品對人體可能引發的危險,產生極大的恐懼。部分農民同時也擔心,價廉的基改食品不受限制地入侵,會讓他們的產品價格會被市場淘汰,而他們所種植傳統又多樣的蔬果作物,也無法和外觀漂亮,又可保存較久的基改進口食品相互競爭。

Fears of GM Crop Invasion in Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, March 10, 2008 (ENS)

Kyrgyz environmentalists are worried by the unrestricted import of genetically modified products and are urging the government to come up with robust policies.

They say that while the rest of the world hotly debates the benefits and risks of genetically modified, GM, crops, the Kyrgyz authorities have said and done nothing.

The authorities did in fact address the issue in the summer of 2006, when the government produced a draft law on biodiversity which was intended to address the import and production of GM products.

But when the draft went to parliament, deputies returned it in January 2007, saying it needed improvement.

Gennady Vorobyev, a genetic engineering expert who was one of those who drafted the bill, said the failure to pass it left a legal black hole.

Genetic modification began being widely used in agriculture in the mid-1990s, and ever since then scientists have argued passionately over its merits and pitfalls.

Supporters argue that the creation of disease or bug resistant crop varieties can greatly increase harvests, potentially cutting poverty and hunger in some of the world's poorest countries.

They also insist the new genetically modified food varieties are totally harmless to humans.

Their opponents disagree vehemently, fearing that GM strains could disrupt human immune systems and create allergic reactions and other disorders.

In addition, they worry that GM strains will harm the environment through a kind of "genetic pollution" effect.

Professor Yrysbek Abdurasulov, an agricultural specialist, is among those who are deeply concerned.

He complains that significant numbers of GM seeds have been imported from the United States, Holland, Germany, China and elsewhere without any monitoring of their effects. They include varieties of watermelon, cabbage, tomato, pepper, cucumber, potato and sugar beet.

Topping the list of concerns is the possible emergence of mutant organisms containing unpredictable features, and of more dangerous virus strains.

Genetic modification is big business. The biggest producers are the United States, Japan, Germany, France, China and India. According to some estimates, annual sales of GM products globally are worth US$20 billion a year.

However, production volumes are still relatively small, accounting for only one percent of total food products consumed worldwide every year.

But the rate at which the GM industry is accelerating, coupled with the failure of Kyrgyz officials to respond in the face of pressure to import more, alarms local environmentalists.

Kyrgyzstan should also be able to restrict certain GM imports under the 2003 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which it has signed. This agreement entitles developing economies like Kyrgyzstan, in the absence of domestic regulatory frameworks, to make any decisions on GM imports subject to an assessment of the risks.

However, environmentalists in Kyrgyzstan complain that this mechanism is lying dormant as no one in government has explored its possibilities.

Official neglect of the GM issue has fuelled popular fears about the threats people might face from GM products.

Some farmers also fear that an unrestricted invasion of cheaper GM foodstuffs will price them out of the market. They say their old-fashioned varieties of fruit and vegetables will not be able to compete against blemish-free, longer-lasting GM imports.

全文及圖片詳見:ENS