Sensational headlines should not cloud reality of India’s GM crop success

| | April 3, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Too often, we let emotion crowd out the facts of a news story. We base our opinions on the most attention-generating headlines, and deeply held convictions are shaped by only a few highly publicized stories.

Before the Green Revolution, India faced the very real prospect of mass famine. Today, millions have been pulled back from the brink of starvation and generational cycles of poverty through the advent and spread of green technologies. But opponents claim that the proliferation of GM crops like Bt cotton has placed enormous financial strain on India’s smallholder farmers, driving them to suicide. A popular proponent of this narrative is Vandana Shiva, a prominent Indian environmentalist.

Related article:  11 GMO Myths, Part I: Frankenfoods and Franken-corporations

No one wants to trivialize the tragedy of families who have lost loved ones, but this narrative doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Several academics have undertaken studies to get to the heart of the suicide “epidemic,” and their findings paint a far different picture. These needlessly provocative stories make us lose sight of the fact that better crops both give more food and higher incomes while using less land.

It’s best to dissect two separate strains of the argument: first, that there is a wave of farmer suicides and second that GM cotton has been a failure for India.

Read the full, original article: Bjørn Lomborg: India’s GM crop success

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