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Food crisis debate sparks more, err, debate

The Economist’s debate on the food crisis is proving rather popular. In fact, we’ve been told it’s the biggest debate the publication has ever had.

Surprisingly, they say there is an upside.

The pro argument, set out by Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow at the Wolfensohn Centre for Development at the Brookings Institution, stated:

“The good news is that higher food prices are exactly what is required to restore balance in the market. With rising demand and constrained supply the iron law of economics permits no other response. In a market economy, when demand exceeds supply, prices rise. Higher prices discourage consumption, but they also encourage more investment and enhance production.”

The full pro argument’s opening statement can be found here. And the rival argument’s opener, here.

If food needs to become less expensive then it needs to become more intensively grown and this will probably mean GM.

As someone that has a degree in genetics and has worked on both the Human Genome Project and a PhD in the subject I do not believe that there are cancer risks with GM crops. As you’d expect, I am, pro GM in certain circumstances. For example, rice with a GM inserted vitamin A gene can counteract pellagra in the third world.

But, for 90 per cent of examples I am extremely anti the use of GM foods solely to grow in bulk. In the 90’s Monsanto created a soy plant that was resistant to its herbicide, resulting in farmers spraying crops with masses of (you’ve guessed it) Monsanto’s toxic products – this leaches into the ecosystem and is not environmentally sustainable.

This is the cheap way to grow food. Should it be done? I personally think not.

1 Comment

  • justin
    Posted August 8, 2008 at 4:01 am

    Wake up! GM crops are the next DDT.
    You are not even in the realm of nature’s intelligence, so quit trying.
    I’d say you are closer to the realm of sports writers and meteorologists.

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