GENTECH archive 8.96-97


Re: Survey Shows Americans Want Labels On Genetically Altered F

Hello John
I have read your discussion with Janelle and as a ordinary swedish farmer i 
reacted to some of what you said:

Den 03-27-97 09:44 PM skrev Jon Buckingham till mej:
>Hi Janelle,
>I agree that one should be aware that there is often a "middle ground"
>between opposing statements, and I have personally found some
>contradictions such as the one you mention regarding reduced spraying
>as a result of using genetically engineered crops.
>But, I would like to point out the problems with some of your benefits
>listed below...
>>  While I agree that Genetic engineering IS a new technology, quite 
>>  distinguishable from traditional breeding practices, I wish to comment 
>>  on the view that there are no benefits to be had from the technology for 
>>  the public, the environment or for consumers and that the only benefit 
>>  is to be enjoyed in terms of profit by the companies involved.  It is a 
>>  view quite often expressed by posts to this list.  But take for example 
>>  these projects:
>Beware. These benefits are often required because of the drawbacks of
>previous "technology improvements". e.g. monoculture farming is very
>susceptible to pests. Therefore it requires pesticides. Therefore now
>people are worried about pesticides, so we have another hi-tech
>solution: biotech food. 
>The best solution to the *root causes* of these problems is often to
>go back to natural crop species and more traditional (organic) and
>diverse agricultural methods.
I think you make it to easy for your self by saying this. 
"Monoculture farming" is one of the things that has made it possible for us 
to create the today modern society that I think very few people is willing to 
give up. Especially today with a world population that is increasing 
enormously we could simply not feed all of us otherwise.
I know some farmers that don`t use pesticides, and I think that is good 
because there is people who is willing to pay more for that kind of food. But 
their farming is not perfect either, they have to use more diesel, the 
harvests become more shifting -both in quantity and quality. There are also 
some crops they can`t grow, and most of all; it costs more.

You have to remember that if you want to go back to older methods of 
farming, at that time you also had fewer people to feed, and in the 
industrialized world they spent more of their money on food.
I think  we have to consider where we spend our money: In stopping the 
greenhouse effect, welfare, hospital care, giving our self a better life or 
saying no to the genetic technology.
This is not an easy choice, but you still have to do it.

Best regards
Roland Jonsson