Contributors Examine Agricultural Biotech
In order to feed a growing, hungry world amidst a warming climate, we have to produce more food. Solutions to the problem of how to increase crop yields include both ecology-based farming and biotechnology approaches. But how do we define biotechnology? And can it support progressive approaches to improving prospects for the poor farmers of the world? This series on the issue gathers perspectives from experts who take a hard look at the science, the economics, and the complexities of agricultural development.
Today, we’ve posted the first two commentaries on this important issue. Paul B. Thompson of Michigan State University asks, “Can Agricultural Biotechnology Help the Poor?” It can, he argues, but progressives need to step back and look at the philosophical underpinnings of development strategies in order to fully comprehend the issues at stake. As well, Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists looks at the proposed Global Food Security Act of 2009 and interrogates why it singles out “genetically modified technology,” as opposed to other methods, as a way to boost crop yields. “Genetic Engineering Comes Up Short,” when compared to conventional techniques, he argues.
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