Chinese rice 'tipping point' for GE

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-07-25 22:23

China is "on the verge of a decision that historians eventually may interpret as a tipping point in the global debate over genetically modified food," says Dean Kleckner of Truth about Trade and Technology. No doubt the decision will also nettle the type of environmentalist that Charlie Pedersen was criticising: the 'religious environmentalist.'

The 'tipping point' about which he speaks and which will have deep ecologists and their fellow travellers choking on their muesli is the imminent approval by Beijing of the planting and commercial sale of genetically modified rice. The motive for the decision is clear enough:

A recent study by a team of Chinese and American scientists revealed that the use of biotech rice reduced pesticide costs by 80 percent. “We estimate that if 90 percent of the farmers plant GM rice, then the annual agricultural income of China will increase by $4 billion,” said Huang Jukun, director of the Agriculture Policy Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. .

Around the world, GM crops are becoming more popular. No country that has allowed access to this technology has subsequently turned its back on biotech, in what we might label an “untipping point.” To be sure, a number of European nations continue to hold out against GMOs. Yet they are becoming increasingly isolated, and China’s forthcoming decision will highlight their detachment.

You certainly don’t need to crack open a fortune cookie to predict the future of rice farming in China: Farmers want it, and they will get it.

And if China gets it, that means the rest of the world won't be far behind. Read the whole article here.

LINK: Biotech tipping point - Dean Kleckner, Truth about Trade and Technology

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