Farmer Gene writes about “misconceptions floating around in the internet with regard to biotech crop opposition in Europe and Japan.”
At a time when the United States and the world are looking for science-based solutions to help feed a growing population, agricultural biotechnology is able to deliver heartier crops that produce more food, often in areas with less-than-perfect growing conditions. If a technology can produce more food while helping farmers and the environment, isn’t it worth pursuing?
North Dakota corn, soybeans and wheat farmer Terry Wanzek shared his views on Forbes.com on the recent favorable review of agricultural biotechnology by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
“There are some people around the world who think religion and science shouldn’t get along. For some reason, they believe the men of the cloth should disagree with the men of lab coat.
They’ll be disappointed to learn that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences–an arm of the Vatican–has given its blessing to genetically modified crops. At a conference last month in Rome, it praised genetically modified food for having ‘great potential to improve the lives of the poor.’ This is a welcome marriage of religion and science–and two powerful forces joining for the betterment of society.”
Click here to read Terry’s comments from the BIO International Convention in Atlanta in May.
Karl Haro von Mogel on his Biofortified blog provides his analyis of SEED Magazine’s examination of the debate over GMOs in Europe. He writes:
“The important distinction being made here is that there is a consensus within plant science, but not necessarily one between disciplines. The key difference between how these two kinds of genetic changes are being treated politically and socially have more to do with the political and social climates in different hemispheres and less to do with the science that has been conducted around the world. In some cases, science is being ignored in the interest of societal issues, and in other cases, bad science is being wielded as a weapon to draw attention away from the good science that exists.”
SEED Magazine turned to a panel of experts to explore why “[m]ost Europeans don’t consider themselves to be anti-science…but shrink in horror at the scientist who offers up a Bt corn plant (even though numerous studies indicate that Bt crops—by dramatically curbing pesticide use—conserve biodiversity on farms and reduce chemical-related sickness among farmers).”
So why the disconnect? Why do many environmentalists trust science when it comes to climate change but not when it comes to genetic engineering? Is the fear really about the technology itself or is it a mistrust of big agribusiness?
The panelists included three proponents of ag biotech crops: Pamela Ronald, a plant geneticist and professor; Nina Federoff, science and technology adviser to the US Secretary of State; and Noel Kingsbury, a horticulturalist and writer. They argue that ag biotech crops are a safe solution for meeting a growing world’s food needs. READ MORE »
Knowledge, Technology and Alleviation of Poverty
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has released new videos on the data from the Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops in 2008 report and addresses the growing interest biotech crops have experienced in the past years, including substantial advances in Africa. Both video feature Dr. Clive James.
The first video has Dr. James discussing three questions:
Can biotech crops contribute to more affordable food?
Can biotech crops help mitigate climate change and contribute to sustainability?
Can biotech crops contribute to global food security and the alleviation of poverty?
Dr. James in the video states:
“We believe the answers to each of these questions are unequivocally yes. Biotech crops can make an important contribution, but are not a panacea. They can provide a contribution but are not the whole solution for these three questions.”
Q & A with Clive James
A “Question and Answer” video with Dr. James provides annswers on ISAAA, its mission and funding and its global report on biotech crops.