At the Genetically Modified Crops Summit in Melbourne last week Dr TJ Higgins from CSIRO Plant Industries suggested there was a place for both organic and GM food crops including by using organic methods to cultivate superior varieties breed through the application of biotechnology. He made particular reference to subsistence farming systems in Africa. It was a thought provoking presentation, but unfortunately I don’t have a copy of it or link to it.
Science writer Katie Bird writing in ‘Food USA’ has suggested something very similar. She has written: “The war between the GM and organic movements has been bitterly fought. However in the midst of a global food crisis the time has come for these old enemies to bury their differences and concentrate on the benefits an alliance may bring. With increasing food prices and an estimated 854 million undernourished people worldwide (FAO 2006 estimates), debate is raging over how to feed the world’s growing population. The debate is, however, unhealthily polarised.”
The issue of rising input costs in conventional farming systems, particularly the cost of fertilizer, was reported by Financial Post reporter Sean Silcoff in a recent article entitled ‘The hungry planet: Is fertilizer the ‘most important business on Earth?’.
Read more here: http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=537032&p=1
There is much for food for thought in both articles – particularly if you consider the value of combining a superior plant variety with an organic method of production in parts of the world where farmers can’t afford much in the way of inputs.