Saturday, March 29, 2008

But it helps developing countries...

the common refrain in arguments about GMOs. Marion Nestle links to a report that blames Africa's problems on cultural elitists who favor heirloom and local over "science-based agriculture."

Um, no. Most of Africa's problems are political and GMO varieties of most of Africa's cash crops don't even exist. Furthermore, those bad ol' cultural elites are a ripe market for specialty varieties of those cash crops, like chocolate, which isn't about to be grown locally anytime soon.

The local food crowd in the US is such a small proportion of the population that blaming them for much is a little laughable. I don't have access to the full version of the article, but I hope it at least mention the EU, the real reason African countries are afraid to grow GMOs, and ag subsidies in rich countries like the US, which depress prices in Africa.

Maybe GMOs can help Africa, but let's not blame the wrong people. I am personally on the fence here. The Boston Globe had an interesting article trying to convince the sustainable ag crowd to join the GMO party.

Maybe GMOs can reduce pesticide use, but they can also preclude other forms of agriculture because of gene flow. If that could be reduced or eliminated, I would be a lot more likely to support them.

No comments: