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The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

 

Anti-GMO types: soak the poor!
Forbes tries to put a happy spin on the fact that Monsanto has been browbeaten into shelving its launch of the first GMO wheat by pointing out that "food industry analysts note that other biotech food crops continue to edge closer to commercialization." Essentially all of these, they note, are fruits and vegetables: bananas, papayas, squash, tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce and so on. Forbes points out that "biotech fruits and vegetables may have an easier path to acceptance because as whole foods they can be easily segregated from conventional offerings," as opposed to wheat, which is usually blended, so paranoid people can't be sure that they're not getting any of that mutant food. That's great, except for one thing. It does most of the world no good.

If the third world gets hardier, sturdier and generally better crop plants, it will go a very long way to stabilizing their food situation, bolstering their agricultural economies and generally making life better. This is especially true in Africa, where the possibility of GMO crops that could grow in harsher climes would be earthshaking, but it's true all over the world.

The trouble is that, according to this article, due to the refined sensibilities of wealthy countries, biotech companies are diverting their efforts to fruits and vegetables. Unless you want to put the third world on the Atkins diet, GMO squash isn't going to do a lot of good, compared to the good GMO wheat could do.

It works out just fine for us rich folks. We'll get better strawberries this way. As the article notes, "Monsanto's wheat is dubbed Roundup Ready because it would allow farmers to spray Roundup weedkiller on fields without hurting the crop, but it would offer no benefit to the consumer." That's only because bread is so cheap already that it won't get cheaper, though it will make farming more profitable. In America, that doesn't do much anymore. In the third would, it would be a Godsend.

And even if Roundup Ready itself wouldn't help farmers immensely, the more companies like Monsanto focus on crop plants, the more possibilities there are for breakthroughs that really will do immense good. Within my lifetime, I'd like to see praries and farmlands encroaching on the Sahara desert, and the only thing that's going to do that is a whole ton of GMO crops. Abandoning crop plants to focus on fruit isn't going to help that.

But perhaps things aren't as gloomy as they seem. Syngenta, the company coming out with a genetically modified banana in two years, is also coming out with a genetically modiefied wheat in three, despite having a field burned by activists in Germany. We'll just have to wait and see.
Agree, disagree, have more information on the topic? Please, feel free to leave a comment. No profanity!
Comments:

Hmmm. These new Blogger comments seem to require a Blogger account. Which I have, but it will be very off-putting to those who don't.

There's apparently a GM rice that could prevent huge numbers of children from going blind in Third World countries. But not for a while. Delays, brought to you by those wonderful folks who are also blocking dams for hydro-electric power in the same places.
 
Blogger Comments=pathetic!

(FYI, I blog at: http://www.randomjottings.net/)

Discard training-wheels...Move to MT!
 
Yuck, you're right. These comments do suck. I'm hoping to switch to MT within the next few months, but until then, I'm going to switch back to my old form of comments sometime today.
 
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