The need to feed the world's starving is more important than concerns about the vague risks of side-effects from genetically modified crops in developing countries, according to an expert visiting Canberra, Australia from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), The Australian newspaper reports. In a speech on Friday, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) director-general Per Pinstrup-Andersen accused affluent nations of engaging in "neo-colonialism" by trying to ban new food technologies.He said the reaction against modified crops in advanced nations may stifle the research urgently needed to help the 800 million people, mostly subsistence farmers, who go to bed hungry every night. "Children are dying now because they do not have access to enough food and that is primarily because the productivity of agriculture in developing countries is so low," he said. "That is not a probability or a risk, that is a fact." He continued that it was wrong to tell nations such as Thailand that they would lose all rice imports if they developed any genetically modified crops.Affluent nations were prepared to put up with the risk of potential side-effects in new medicines but would not allow others the choice for crops. Dr Pinstrup-Andersen, speaking at a luncheon sponsored by Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Australia, said it was vital to have proper regulations in place in countries using the new technology.