Environmentalists Team Up With Armyworms

by John McClaughry

Matt Ridley is a noted British science writer who recently wrote in the Times of London, “Many Africans rely on corn, but it is threatened by a rapidly spreading pest called the fall armyworm. A native of the Americas, it has now turned up in Nigeria and quickly spread across most of Africa. This is fairly terrifying news, threatening to undo some of the unprecedented improvements in African living standards of the past two decades.”

“Fortunately, there is a defence. Bt maize, grown throughout the Americas for many years, is resistant to insects. Organic farmers have been using the bacterium as a pesticide for more than five decades, but it is expensive.”

“However, influenced by European environmentalists, most African countries forbid the growing of genetically modified crops. This is a pity, because unless they change their attitude fast, they will face the prospect of using far more pesticides, which small-scale farmers cannot afford, and which come with environmental and safety risks, or suffering famine, relieved by expensive imports of food.”

“Some years ago” Ridley concludes, “I spoke to the leaders of a large charity working with African farmers and asked them why they did not come out in support of biotechnology. They replied that they dared not do so for fear of retribution from the big environmental pressure groups, such as Greenpeace.”

Thanks to Greenpeace, Africa is facing a tradeoff between GMO corn and millions of starving people.

- John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bob McDowell December 7, 2017 at 1:14 am

It would be consistent for GMO foes to go all the way and oppose the use of insulin produced by GMO microorganisms.

Before the 1980’s, insulin for treating diabetics was extracted from the pancreases of slaughtered pigs and cattle.

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