Steffan Browning

GE not our farming future

by Steffan Browning

The Government’s National Science Challenges include an arrogant intention to spend taxpayers’ money on swaying community opposition towards support for genetic engineering.

While the jargon loaded Challenge documents are a struggle to read, the message by pro-GE scientists in the primary production section is clear.

For the primary production challenge, first on the list under adaptation is “new biotechnologies”, a euphemism for genetic engineering among other things. The notes say:

“Societal (and Government) acceptance of genetic modification and other biotechnology is still not at a level that allows rapid uptake of new technologies and further societal discussion is needed as the global experience of this technology and the nature of this technology evolves.”

Using public money to sway public opinion towards unwanted and failed GE technology is not something to celebrate. Genetic engineering on a global scale has resulted in increased pesticide use, increased insect chemical resistance and chemical resistant weeds, community dislocation, and biodiversity loss.

The New Zealand community and its best value markets do not want GE products.

The primary production challenge is a missed opportunity to focus on a new vision of sustainability, using the best of organic and biological farming systems that give farmers profitability, while engaging in genuinely sustainable systems. We don’t need more of the same old agricultural science strategy of patent based silver bullets such as DCD and GE for their unsustainable dairy based mess.

The answers exist for agriculture, but those with the hands on the reins of science funding and agriculture seem fixated on old strategies with unsustainable and unwanted technologies.

Published in Environment & Resource Management by Steffan Browning on Thu, May 2nd, 2013   

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