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Organic farming and genetic engineering aren’t opposites. In fact, they need to work together to reduce environmental damage and increase yields, writes Pamela Ronald a professor of plant pathology at University of California, Davis.
For example, beginning in 1997 Chinese growers adopted a new variety of cotton that was resistant to insects. Farmers reduced their use of insecticides by 156 million pounds. Their production costs dropped. Fewer farmers got sick. And yields increased. The key was a new cotton seed genetically engineered to be resistant to pests.
Ronald argues that genetic engineering is essential to increasing production and reducing dependency on chemicals, especially when it is combined with organic techniques. She writes, “It is time to abandon the caricatures of genetic engineering that are popular among some consumers and activists, and instead see it for what it is: A tool that can help the ecological farming revolution grow into a lasting movement with global impact.”