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Crop Biotech Update

Paarlberg Urges Use of Biotech

October 31, 2012

Agriculture expert Prof. Robert Paarlberg has urged Africa's farmers, scientists and policy makers to maintain focus in their pursuit of food security through biotechnology applications. Prof. Paarlberg made the rallying call during a recent interview with Graeme Hamilton of the National Post.

A professor of political science at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Paarlberg argued in his 2008 book Starved for Science that a growing distaste for agricultural science - manifested in the embrace of organic farming and rejection of genetically modified crops - is keeping Africans hungry. Prof. Paarlberg said little has changed four years later. The only tropical African country that has approved farmers' use of a genetically modified organism, or GMO, is Burkina Faso, he said, and that was not for a food crop but for cotton.

"What fascinates me is that so many of the people who are opposed to GMOs are also opposed to nitrogen fertilizers and the improved seeds of the Green Revolution, which weren't GMOs," Prof. Paarlberg said. "It strikes me that what they oppose is the next forward step in science-based farming, whatever it is, because of their vision of some more traditional, indigenous, agro-ecological approach that doesn't borrow from Western science."

For full interview go to: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/10/19/eat-organic-slogans-dont-belong-in-africa/ Contact @grayhamilton on Twitter for more details.