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GM debate distracts from urgent need to address food security and sustainability

| | July 8, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Once again, there are calls to reopen the debate on genetically modified (GM) crops. I find these calls frustrating and unnecessarily decisive. In my opinion the GM debate, on both sides, continues to hamper the urgent need to address the diverse and pressing challenges of global food security and environmental sustainability. The destructive power of the debate comes from its conflation of unrelated issues, coupled with deeply rooted misconceptions of the nature of agriculture.

A defining question of the 21st century is: How can we achieve a reliable, sustainable, equitable supply of nutritious food for a growing and increasingly urbanized world population in the face of climate change? This is a complex question with agricultural productivity constituting only a small part of it, and in turn, GM only a small part of that. It is essential that we move forward to address this question without being continuously sidetracked by the GM debate.

The most frustrating thing about this situation is that almost everyone wants the same outcome: a reliable, sustainable, equitable supply of nutritious food. For issues this big, there will of course be differences of opinion about how to move forward, what to prioritise, and how to decide. These are important areas for debate. GM, as a technique, is not.

Read the full, original article: Moving beyond the GM Debate

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