GENTECH archive 8.96-97

[Index][Thread]

Re: Survey Shows Americans Want Labels On Genetically Altered F



Dear Roland,
there is a lot of information in your discussion not considering that 
industrialised world is only A PART of the world. SMALLER (considering 
number of citizens for instance). i live in poland - central europe which 
is to some extend agricultural economy. despite agriculture produces 
only 7% of GDP (which is anyway the wrong aggregated measure not taking 
all external effects of material production into account, thus taking such
effects into account, the real GDP agricultural share would be higher), it
produces relatively clean products, it saves biological diversity, it
employs 26% of the Polish population which in intensive farming would be
replaced by energy/machines/chemiclas and polution/industrial food containing
toxic substances/decreased biodiversity and so on. And as polls in Poland
show people feel better working in the country-side than working in cities.

According to the results of the research done by Ecological Production 
Method Department of Warsaw Agricultural University, organic agriculture 
is the most efficient type of agriculture taking into account farmer’s 
and society’s interest. This assessment takes positive production input/sale 
profit ratio, high quality of food and feeder, positive human and animal 
health impact and environmental damage/ energy (especially fossil) use 
minimising. (Ekoland, prof. Gorny, ekoland1@ld.onet.pl)

Organic produce is not more expensive or even cheaper than the intensive
(also technologically intensive) one if:
-we count all the costs (externalities that were mentioned above,
good source of info about external costs of industrial agriculture may be
found in "Industrial Agriculture, Counting the Costs" Soil Association
soilassoc@gn.apc.org)
-Ecological Tax Reform (ETR) would be introduced (shifting taxes/social security
fees away from labour to environment (energy/non-renewable resources/
consumption) - you can obtain good report on that issue from European 
Environment Agency - EEA, Ernst R. Klatte, EEA’s Communications Officer 
(tel.:+45/33.36.71.53), several countries in Europe (including Sweden) are
now introducing first elements of ETR

And one more thing - genetic engineering is very expensive (Monsanto 
representative in Poland - dr Krunicki said they spent 2 million $ every...
day on research). The question is: are we going to allow multinationals to
keep growing at the international level where there are no regulations
or we are supporting local production of food of which we know how, 
by whom, in what conditions it is produced.

On Thu, 27 Mar 1997 22:36:45 +0100 
(MET), Roland Jonsson  <roland.jonsson@r.lrf.se> wrote:

>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 
>Tidaholm 
>Sweden
>
><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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