Luddites say let them starve

The Herald reports:

A major conference bringing together the world’s biggest players in genetic modification opened to the angry chants of protesters yesterday.

The week-long international agricultural biotechnology conference is being described by those on both sides of the genetic modification debate as a significant event for GM – but for opposing reasons.

Organisers hoped the Rotorua conference would foster collaboration and provide more answers on how GM could assist in feeding a world population expected to double by 2050.

Nope. Those extra people just have to starve as GM is evil.

The chief executive of event hosts NZBIO, Suzanne Bertrand, said GM was one “tool” to advance research.

“New Zealand is feeding about 19 million people out of its agriculture and it is using the latest technology … it’s been using biotechnology for the last 20 years – without it, we would be nowhere,” she said. “Some people say we shouldn’t even touch , but as a tool for research it’s very interesting.”

There is huge potential, and none of the scare stories are yet to come true.

Jerome Konescni, who chairs the body that organised the international conference, argued that could not be done using organic food.

“The question I would ask proponents of organics is: if we have to double the world’s food supply by 2050, how are you going to do with it technology that … reduces production rather than increases it?”

But MP Steffan Browning, who hosted an afternoon seminar against GE in a meeting room a few hundred metres away, called the view “rubbish”.

“If our population goes berserk, no system is going to feed the world. But organic and traditional means are going to feed the world better until we hit that point … GE is not going to do it.”

The Green version of “Let them eat cake”.

If the luddites succeed in banning GE, it won’t be the first time their policies have killed huge numbers of people. For years they campaigned on how must replace oil and demanded big subsidies for them. So farmers all around the world dug up their food producing crops and starting growing biofuel crops instead.

The World Bank has estimated that the push for biofuels has pushed 35 million more people into absolute poverty and resulted in 192,000 additional deaths a year.

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