France does not walk in the footsteps of Norman Borlaug. Half a century of rising farm productivity has let France forget the importance of plant breeding. We may not suffer from food shortages but farmers face major economic and agronomic challenges. Modern plant biotechnology can address them in an environmentally friendly way, so why not use it along with other environmentally sustainable techniques? Alas in France, politics has replaced science-based decision making.
In 2007 President Sarkozy’s government organized a phony “debate” on the environment. Invited participants included several green activists but science was not given a role in this highly political play. The government had agreed in advance to ban GMO cultivation. The deal was that in return, green organisations would take nuclear power off their agenda. French farmers were the losers. They had been increasing their cultivation of GM maize, a variety with inbuilt insect-resistance, since 2005. But they lacked the political clout to combat the decision.
Read the full, original story: France fails science test: How politics beat reason.