Genmodifierade grödor kräver så gott som perfekta odlingsbetingelser. Visste du det? Inte jag. Charles Benbrook skriver i New York Times (11/7) om jordbrukets villkor i Afrika:
"The president is right that African farmers will benefit from new knowledge and technology. But he's wrong about which technologies we should be offering. African farmers neither need nor want to produce American-style genetically modified crops. (---)
The first generation of genetically modified food crops — corn and soybean seeds — were created to make pest management simpler on America's large, mechanized farms. The technologies would be far less effective on African farms, which are small and diversified and rely largely on human labor. (---)
In stable, well-irrigated environments, these crops enable individual farmers to cultivate more land.
In Africa, however, these benefits can be burdens. For cash-poor farmers, the cost of genetically modified seed would be prohibitive. Moreover, genetically modified crops need near-perfect growing conditions. In dry areas, they require irrigation systems and the water to run them. They also need to be managed with special care. For example, crops are engineered to work with specific herbicides; the wrong herbicide can ruin an entire crop. In Africa, where pesticides are often misbranded, sold in unmarked containers or handled by people who cannot read, this can be a problem.
African farmers face a multitude of challenges. Drought is a recurrent problem. Soils are often worn out. Depressed commodity prices undercut human enterprise. Land tenure systems and reluctance to direct financial and technical assistance to the women who do the majority of the work on many farms are social issues that undermine farm productivity, as are civil strife and AIDS. For these problems, biotechnology has little to offer.
The only way Africans can afford today's genetically modified seeds is for us to give the seeds or technology to them no strings attached, a highly unlikely scenario. Before contemplating this approach, though, Americans should know that their money and expertise might be better directed doing the things that Africans themselves might actually find useful."