As usual, Glenn Stone offers a measured, nuanced, and critical (as in VERY IMPORTANT TO READ) take on farmers “choices” and whether they “want” GM crops, something that recently came up in my debate with Monsanto exec Natalie DiNicola. Well worth reading, and reading again.
Do small farmers in developing countries want GM crops? That is a truly divisive question, and it seems like anyone with a dog in the hunt gets to speak for the farmers. I want to consider what’s wrong with the many claims to represent the “farmer’s voice.”
But first, a word about the idea of just using farmer adoption as indicative of what they want. In India, land of a hundred million farmers, we are told by GM enthusiasts that the country’s only GM crop — Bt cotton — has been the “fastest adopted agricultural technology in history.” The implication is that Bt cotton must be the most wanted technology (e.g., Herring 2008).
And we are just as regularly told to never second guess the farmer. As one Monsanto-backed pundit puts it, “farmers are excellent businessmen who aren’t persuaded by anything or anybody that doesn’t make their job easier or…
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