How about getting down to brass tacks, here?
Most of the contributers here seem to recognize, at some level, that "At
present, biotechnology enriches those companies who master it and they
will continue to develop (improved ?) products for the most lucrative
markets available (mostly in the developed world)." (Gerry Douglas, 13
"OK, the research and development strategies of big business and the wealthier countries are not really aimed at easing the problems of poorer countries,"(Trevor Fenning, 15 November);
"In fact biotechnology, together with information technology, is being heralded as the next 'wave' of technology that drives the economy forward. The US, for example, is aggressively pushing biotechnological products such as GM crops in the world market," (Soraj Hongladarom, 13 November).
At this level, this choir is preaching to itself.
So let us take it to the next level. Here it looks like there are two choirs:
"...but blaming biotechnology isn't going to change anything." (Trevor Fenning, 15 November); "It is necessary for developing countries to demand a scheme for sharing this knowledge so they can adequately evaluate its potential on a regional basis and have their share of this technical revolution" (Gerry Douglas, 13 November );
--> Biotechnology is here to take root and stay, so developing countries should get into the act sooner rather than later. WHY is biotechnology here to stay? Is it the genie in the bottle that we cannot put back, so should learn how to control? What about the huge investments involved in doing this kind of work? Should we not be prioritising in a clear headed way (perhaps along the lines described by Michel Ferry?)? and not ignore these factors:
"But on the other side of the world, the pressing concern is not to find a hi-tech way to drive the economy forward, but it is to feed the populace so that they are no longer hungry." (Soraj Hongladarom, 13 November); "However, the constraints are largely structural and policy-related in nature, making GE tangential at best." (Peter Rosset, 9 November)
--> Is genetic engineering becoming PART of the policy-related issues at the global level?
So, are we ready to talk about the crux of the matter?
"Why do transgenics generate such strong negative emotive reactions? Because what's really being fought, under the guise of transgenics, are two major battles: fears of corporate control and trade issues. The issue of corporate control is what truly makes blood boil, not transgenic plants. It would be far more interesting to directly discuss the root causes of the disagreements, rather than looking for ecological arguments to argue against corporate control of agricultural technology." (Allan Hruska, 11 November)
Department of Ecology and Evolution
State University of New York
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5245, USA
Tel: (631) 632-9508
FAX: (631) 632-7626
[To contribute to this conference, send your message to firstname.lastname@example.org For further information on the FAO Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and Agriculture see http://www.fao.org/biotech/forum.asp ]