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Scientist raised next to sugarcane farm where controlled burning rampant explains ecological benefits of GMO sugar beets

| | January 4, 2018
sugar cane burn flickr gavin fordham
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

In the early 90s, I lived in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, known for music, art, and its green Valle del Turbio. This valley carried the name of the Rio Turbio that runs through it. … From our home, the beautiful vista looked idyllic, until the sugarcane was harvested.

To harvest the sugarcane, which occurred more than once a year, the farms practiced controlled burning. …

If you have never seen a controlled burn, it’s exactly as you would imagine: the smoke is visible from miles away and the ash rains down from the sky. For those of us living closest to the farm, our homes would be hit by ash that was inches long.

[D]emand for sugar derived from sugar cane is on the rise due to customer rejection of sugar derived from sugar beets, which are often genetically engineered.

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GMO sugar beets in the US are tolerant to the herbicide glyphosate. This technology greatly improved the farming of this crop. …

Given the choice of living next to a sugarcane farm again or a sugar beet farm, I’ll gladly pick the latter.

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