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Feb 25, 2010

The Economist - The Spread of GM Crops - Developing World Embraces Controversial Technology

On 25 February 2010 The Economist published an short analysis of ISAAA's 2008 executive summary on gene modified (GM) crops.  The article especially focused on the growth of GM technology in the developing world.  According to ISAAA, "poor and unproductive farmers have the most to gain from such [tecnological] advances."

The Economist noted that "this trend is now being driven not by pushy Western multinationals, but by domestic political pressure to increase agricultural productivity, and the home-grown research that this has fostered. Brazil’s dramatic rise to the global number two spot (after the United States) owes much to the government’s investment in local research centres like Embrapa, which in February won approval for an herbicide-tolerant soyabean developed locally in partnership with BASF, a big German chemicals firm."

China presents the greatest potential for GM crop growth.  In November 2009, the Chinese government approved various GM varieties of rice and maize. 

At Harvard University, Calestrous Juma notes that Africa has been slow to adopt GM crops that this was changing.  He foresaw the growth of “South-South” technology transfers in Africa with countries such as South Africa and China promoting their new GM research to other developing countries. 

Running counter to this trend is opposition from Europe where activists strongly oppose any government approval of GM crops.  In spring 2009, in India, activitists organized by Greenpeace and other "green" groups, stopped the approval of Bt Brinjal (GM eggplant). 

For more see: "The spread of GM crops; Taking root - The developing world embraces a controversial technology," The Economist, 25 February 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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