Bangladesh Gets Bt Brinjal

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It has been a recurring theme here at Thought+Food that the debates going on about the food system should not be overwhelmed by special interest groups. Instead, there must be room for the farmer to make her voice heard. This piece from a farmer in India who looks on in frustration as Bt Brinjal is being adopted in Bangaladesh while it has been blocked in India by the fear mongering of  anti biotech interests drives home this point. If anyone thinks we can solve our food problems by shutting out the very people who grow the food, then the road to reform and progress will be long one indeed.

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5 responses to “Bangladesh Gets Bt Brinjal

  1. Reblogged this on Science on the Land and commented:
    argylesock says… How long will this GM crop go on increasing yields? I’ve blogged about how some insecticide-making GM crops, popular in the United States, worked for a few years until the insects evolved resistance to the insecticide. It’s a kind of arms race between labs and bugs.

    • I think GM crops are not a one time all purpose solution but would have to be tweaked and adjusted to go on delivering benefits. Also, they are but one part of the solution, better farm practices, pest management etc are required for optimizing yields. the farmer who wrote the piece seems to feel that there would be benefits, though…

      • Yes he does. I agree that if GM crops are to be useful, they’ll need to be adjusted over time. In that sense they’re like antibiotics. Penicillin was the great wonder drug but now it’s useless, due to the bacteria having evolved. Most of the synthetic penicillins are still useful in some cases.

        So perhaps we can hope for a future in which new GM crops are being invented and licenced quickly enough to keep ahead of the evolving pests. Do you think that would be affordable and effective?

        I agree also that good farming practice is essential. Talking of which, the farmer who wrote about GM brinjal is an expert in his field, literally. But I wonder what you mean when you say that you don’t want GM discussions to give too much weight to the views of special interest groups. Farmers are a special interest group.

      • Producers of food are a crucial component in the food system, I am not sure I could categorize them as a special interest group. Likewise consumers are a major component. There are smaller groups, in the case of India, mostly NGOs, which push an agenda that they are concerned with, they are not concerned with the actual condition of either the producers or the consumers for eg the groups which pushed to ban iron fortified bananas in India which could have been crucial in improving maternal and infant health.

        If the licensing process were faster as you note, and therefore less expensive, the playing field would be somewhat more welcoming for smaller companies as well and that would be better for innovation as well instead of the complete dominance of a few companies like Monsanto, Syngenta etc that we have today.

  2. Pingback: Bt crops | Science on the Land

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