As Biotech Debate Rages on, More GMOs Get Planted
By ECOTRADE on 2/9/2012 06:32:21
The debate over biotech crops has become predictable.
In his 2012 annual letter from the Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, who has a near-religious faith in technology and innovation, argues that an "extremely important revolution" in plant science, i.e., genetically engineered crops, can help farmers in poor countries by giving them access to new varieties of crops that will better resist disease and adapt to climate change.
Most of that growth -- 8.2 million hectares -- came from the developing world, lead by Brazil and India, the report says. The growth rate for biotech crops in developing countries was 11 percent, twice as fast and twice as large as industrial countries at 5 percent or 3.8 million hectares.
"Unprecedented adoption rates are testimony to overwhelming trust and confidence in biotech crops by millions of farmers worldwide," said Clive James, the report's author, in a statement. It must be said that James is an unabashed supporter of biotech crops but as best I can tell, his numbers haven't been challenged.
Why do more farmers every year plant biotech crops? Critics of genetically modified crops will say they are tricked into it by marketing or lack of knowledge or short-termism, and it's certainly true that the popularity of a product is not a reliable indicator of its value. (ABBA sold more records than the Rolling Stones. People smoke cigarettes.) But if biotech crops didn't make farmers more productive, or save them time or money, would they spread around the world as consistently as they have?
SOURCE : GreenBiz.com