In The Way Of Progress

Girl prepares to blow us a kiss at Cai Be farmers’ market in the Mekong Delta

My dander became elevated on reading an article by Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail entitled “Frankenfoods” have moved on. When will opponents?  

In this article Mr. Saunders argues that genetically modified crops, GM crops for short, are what the world needs to feed itself. He mentions that recently the left-wing Guardian newspaper has written no less than three articles in support of GM technology and implies that those opposed to GM are dwindling in numbers and misguided or otherwise addle-brained, often right-wing, “fundamentalists”:

Opposition to biotech has been left to revanchist agrarian conservatives such as Prince Charles, a handful of fundamentalist green groups and people who believe what they read in the tabloids.

Mr. Saunders defends GM as the new way of doing things driven by altruism, not profit:

But today, the frontier of biotechnology is in the sphere of international development and public interest. The research lab facing protests last Sunday was Rothamsted, a non-profit, entirely government-funded, public-sector institute. What its scientists have created there is a strain of wheat that repels aphids, potentially ending the deadly developing-world problem of entire crops being destroyed by aphid infestation. It is one of hundreds of “pro-poor” GM initiatives designed to create a new range of crops that will allow Asian and African countries to eclipse the West in food production. That’s vitally important because the world has faced food shortages since 2008, for the first time in three decades.

This is, in my opinion, a naive argument. Continue reading “In The Way Of Progress”

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Who To Believe?

Since NAFTA, we’ve had a flood of dumped corn and other products from the U.S., a financial crisis and recession, a rise in migration, a food price crisis that caused tortilla riots, and all the World Bank can say is that our farmers are unproductive and should get out of farming.

Victor Suarez (Mexican farm movement leader)

I prefer to believe statements from real people to flossy, alienated World Bank pronouncements.