PRINCE CHARLES PROMOTES WORLD HUNGER
By Dennis T. Avery & Alex A. Avery
Dr. Norman Borlaug, winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize, was honored for breeding the high-yield seeds of the Green Revolution of the 1960. What if we hadn’t tripled the world’s crop yields with the Green Revolution? Not only would one billion people have starved, but the fabric of the planet would have been rent by more “hunger wars.” Millions more would have died in the battles, and in the famines and disease epidemics that always accompany wars.
Charles says biotech crops “haven’t raised crop yields.” Nonsense! For openers, biotechnology’s pest-resistant cotton seeds have raised yields by one-third on the 35 million cotton acres in China and India. That has freed 15 million acres for additional food crops in the very countries which are currently adding the most pressure on world food supplies. Biotech varieties also produce higher corn and soy yields.
In Africa, genetically researched corn produces four times as much corn per acre — and an even bigger gain in food security — because new varieties are naturally tolerant of an herbicide called imazopyr. When these corn seeds are soaked in small amounts of the herbicide, the imazopyr suppresses the endemic witchweed, a parasitic weed that invades grain plants through their roots.
The newest biotech rice, wheat, and rapeseed varieties suddenly need only half as much nitrogen fertilizer to produce a full yield. This cuts food costs, and means almost no nitrogen left over to leach into nearby streams. Nitrogen-efficient corn is also on its way.
We might ask the future King of England: “What about the millions of pounds of pesticide that haven’t been sprayed in the air to protect our crops, because a safe and ubiquitous soil organism called Bacillus thuringiensis, engineered into the plants, kills crop-eating caterpillars?”
If humans will need twice as much food and feed in 2040, how would we feed ourselves and our increasing number of pets with low organic yields? The yields of organic fields are limited primarily because of the global shortage of manure. However, the world would need billions more cattle to get extra manure, and we would have to clear forests to grow their forage. “Green manure crops” steal land, sunshine, water, and soil nutrients from food and feed crops.
How would the future King tell the cat and dog owners of Britain that, because of his anti-science elitism, pet food sales must be banned so people could eat?
The best non-science solution I have heard about is from Vijay Prakash, Secretary of Welfare in India’s Bihar state. Prakash says we should eat rats. Then the rats won’t eat the stored grain, and the people will get more high-quality protein. He is promoting rat meat in the villages — and talking with hotels about rat meat on their menus. It’s at least more realistic than expecting humans to become vegetarians.
And we wish Queen Elizabeth a very long and healthy life.
Political Environmentalism Versus Human Progress & Prosperity:
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Dennis T. Avery is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., and is the Director of the Institute's Center for Global Food Issues (www.cgfi.org). Formerly he was a senior policy analyst for the United States Department of State, where he won the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement. He is the co-author, with atmospheric physicist Fred Singer, of the book, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years (Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). Avery's book, Saving the Planet With Pesticides and Plastic: The Environmental Triumph of High-Yield Farming (Washington, D.C.: Hudson Institute, 1995), continues to be popular as a readable overview of realistic agriculture for the future and for today. Readers may write Avery at Post Office Box 202, Churchville, Virginia, 24421. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex A. Avery is Research and Education Director of the Center for Global Food Issues. His areas of expertise include
agriculture, food production, organic and conventional farming, biotechnology, pesticides, environment, and issues relating
to world hunger and international trade. Alex Avery is the author of The Truth About Organic Foods (Henderson
Communications, 2006) and "Farming to Sustain the Environment," Hudson Briefing Paper Number 190 (Hudson Institute, May,
1996). He has written numerous articles, which have been published in such periodicals as Environmental Health
Perspectives , the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, The Washington Times, National Review
Online, Regulation, USA Today Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Des
Moines Register, and Canada's Western Producer.
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