Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Reality has a way of changing conventional wisdom quickly. Here is a case. A few months ago, there was animus against anything genetically modified, and as the article states, that dislike still holds in Europe. When massive food shortages arose, objections to genetically modified organisms (GMO) began disappearing. Emaciated babies and food riots have a way of re-setting agendas that all the PR in the world cannot achieve.

The interesting part of this story is that agronomists knew the shortage was coming. They saw food stocks falling. They warned it was necessary to grow more and to use anything that makes agriculture more productive. Few listened. "Slow Food," organic food and farmers markets had captured the interest of food writers. There is nothing wrong with these movements, but with the reality of falling grain stocks, it is clear they are ideas belonging to an elite that can afford them and not to a world worried about basic nutrition.

We know now as governments teeter and non-governmental organizations struggle to find maize, wheat and rice that the First World had been ignoring the plight of the Third World. Food prices have shot up in the US as well, but Americans can pay more than Africans.

It is time now for a new PR effort to explain agricultural productivity -- what it is, why it uses genetically modified organisms and what farming requires to feed the world. It's a much different story than most urbanites know.


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