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A Novel Educational Cartoon on Biotech Crops -“Mandy” & “Fanny”

For more information, contact:
Bhagirath Choudhary at (+91-9999851051)
Email: info@isaaa.org or b.choudhary@cgiar.org

A crop-based educational cartoon designed to enhance understanding about biotech crops, particularly for children and young people at learning institutions

SINGAPORE, Nanyang Technological University, (April 04, 2011) – ISAAA released a novel educational cartoon featuring two characters, “Mandy” & “Fanny”, which illustrates the attributes of biotech/genetically modified (GM) crops, and discusses how they are gaining rapid adoption, increasing income and impacting the lives of millions of farmers and consumers worldwide.
 “Mandy & Fanny : The Future of Sustainable Agriculture” is the first educational cartoon of its kind developed by ISAAA, and narrates the story of two biotech crops, which have been grown in 29 countries on millions of hectares since 1996. In only 15 years, subsequent to the first commercialization in 1996, the accumulated biotech crops hectarage exceeded an unprecedented 1 billion hectares in 2010 - a historical milestone which signifies that biotech
crops have gained the confidence of millions of farmers and consumers worldwide and are here to stay.

The 60-page educational cartoon publication features a lively dialogue between Mandy (impersonating biotech maize) and Fanny (impersonating biotech cotton). The animation captures a simple dialogue between Mandy, as a masculine figure, and Fanny, as a feminine character, and is illustrated with eye-catching frames presenting factual messages about biotech
crops as contributors to sustainable agriculture. Each frame is designed to convey the farm-level impact of biotech crops in agriculture in a clear and lucid manner. It is the “real life story” of Mandy and Fanny!!!!

The publication is authored by Bhagirath Choudhary and Kadambini Gaur, representatives of ISAAA in India, and illustrated by Irfan Khan, a renowned cartoonist in India.

Dr. Clive James, Founder and Chairman of ISAAA commented that “Sharing knowledge with young people about the new technologies of the 21st century, such as biotech crops, is vital, because they will be the decision-makers of tomorrow. The educational cartoon illustrations will enhance the understanding of children and young people about the utility and safety of biotech crops, which represent an essential element in a global strategy that will contribute to food security and the alleviation of poverty in developing countries”.

Despite the unprecedented progress during 15 years of commercialization of biotech crops, some special interest groups, not directly associated with agricultural development, continue to distribute erroneous information to global society, which is confusing the public about the attributes, and the economic and environmental benefits that biotech crops offer.
Whereas ISAAA respects a diversity of views on biotech crops, the growing volume of scientifically un-validated and misleading information in the popular media, particularly on the internet, is a cause of concern, because of its potential to negatively influence policy makers in developing countries about the attributes of biotech crops. This has led to untimely and unjustified delays in the introduction of well-tested, safe and proven biotechnology applications in crop production. These delays are particularly important at a time of rising food prices which now preclude and threaten poor people’s right to affordable food. The high price of food is one of the underlying causes that has led to the current social unrest and riots in food deficit and low income countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Dr. James lauded the effort to convey authoritative messages to young people using innovative and creative ways to communicate the science of biotechnology to society – he stated that, “My hope is that the educational cartoon publication “Mandy & Fanny” will contribute to the knowledge needs of children and young people in society, about the fast-evolving science of biotechnology, and more specifically biotech crops.”

The creators of the educational cartoon, Bhagirath Choudhary and Kadambini Gaur, view the animated characters, “Mandy and Fanny”, as the “Tom and Jerry” of modern agriculture. They opined that “The new genre of animated cartoons attempt to convey simple messages to enhance the awareness of the general public about biotech crops and address any misconceptions. The cartoon is aimed at children and young people, particularly in developing countries, who generally are not conversant with the new science of biotechnology and biotech crops.”

Follow “Mandy & Fanny” on www.twitter.com/mandyandfanny or Facebook and go to to www.isaaa.org and www.isaaa.org/india for more information about the cartoon and illustrations, video and a print copy of the cartoon publication “Mandy & Fanny: The Future of Sustainable Agriculture”.

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The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) is a not-for-profit
organization with an international network of centers designed to contribute to the alleviation of hunger and poverty
by sharing knowledge and crop biotechnology applications.
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Posted by Mike Spear

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I am the Communications Director for Genome Alberta and we manage this application. In my past life I was a journalist and manager with the CBC. You can find my genome posted at www.genomealberta.ca

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