Food and Agriculture in 2 Minutes
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Writing for Forbes Magazine, Kavin Senapathy critiques Stonyfield Organic’s response to comments regarding its anti-GMO based advertisement. The ad portrays young children discussing alleged dangers of GMOs, prompting Senapathy and other critics to argue that Stonyfield is utilizing kids to spread fear and misinformation. She condemns Stonyfield for calling critics “trolls” and standing by their marketing strategies, but voices hope that the public’s backlash is a sign of steps toward science.
In other biotech discussions, Cornell University’s Kathleen Hefferon and Ronald Herrin examine ways in which genome editing can help the United Nations address its Sustainable Development Goals. In a report published in Review of Agrarian Studies, the pair explain that gene editing could provide solutions to global problems like drought tolerance, pest resistance, and malnutrition. They voice hope that as new gene editing technology brings new agriculture solutions and innovation, regulations will enable them to be used in full force.
Meanwhile, The Economist Magazine reports that the invasion of the fall armyworm into Africa has affected almost all maize farms in the region. Noting that the pest arrived on ships from Africa, the article explains the rapid spread is due to fast reproduction and already vulnerable crops. They assert that the best solutions include enabling farmers to utilize the correct pesticides, and working towards lifting the ban on GMOs so that farmers may grow pest-resistant plants like South American farmers.
Elsewhere, President of France Emmanuel Macron says he will not force farmers to give up glyphosate, a popular pesticide, in cases where no alternative has been found. In November, Macron stated that glyphosate would be banned in France within three years, contradicting the European Union’s decision to extend its use for five more years. In response to an outcry from the French agriculture industry, Macron assured farmers that he would not impose a ban without credible alternatives.
Maya Menon, Washington.