Monday, June 02, 2003

The sky is falling [Newsweek]
Today, fewer and fewer farmers produce massive quantities of super crops that smother the land in a seamless carpet. Intensive irrigation and synthetic fertilizers pump up yields. But these vast spreads are sitting ducks for pests and pathogens, which farmers fight with ever-growing doses of insecticides and weed killers. The most powerful new tools to defend the gains of the green revolution -- namely, genetically modified crops -- are taboo in many nations. That leaves farmers with a handicap. If some kind of solution isn't found, many scientists say, food crises will grow more frequent and disruptive. Eventually we may find that the food supply we take for granted may falter. "How long will it take before we have an ecological disaster?" says David Tilman, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota and a longtime scholar of monoculture farming. "We can't afford to have a SARS in agriculture."
Turns out tristeza isn't so sweet.


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