Thursday, May 20, 2004

misc.

Andrew Pollack on Biotech malaise in the Times, the Economist estimates benefit-to-cost ratio of agbiotech at between 14.3 and 79.3 "by some measures"; and it appears that my plea [you can just skip to the last sentence] has been answered by S´┐Żan Rickard, "CAP reform, competitiveness and sustainability," Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture84/8, (2004), 745-75; abstract:
Franz Fischler has recently published his proposals for (further) reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In summary they amount to an attempt to achieve an agricultural industry that is not only more competitive and profitable but also ecologically and environmentally sustainable. For Franz Fischler, sustainability is defined as more than the effective conservation and regeneration of natural resources; it also involves sustaining the presumed contribution of farming to rural development. This latter objective is the focus of the newly introduced second pillar of the CAP and can be interpreted as an attempt to arrest the steady decline in the number of smaller-sized farm businesses. Franz Fischler has pointed to the widespread support for these three objectives across EU populations and, subject to WTO constraints on trade distorting policies, the right of every society to choose its own agricultural policy. However, the analysis of the reform's objectives contained in this paper is that they form an irreconcilable trinity and ultimately policy makers will have to choose between a competitive industry and the protection of smaller farm businesses. This paper argues that in reality there is no choice. Globalisation will both drive and demand a more productive and competitive food chain in order to meet the demands of rising affluence and a burgeoning world population. It also argues that the industrialisation of farming is not automatically in conflict with the conservation and regeneration of natural resources.
analysis later.

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