Biotech v. Sustainable Agriculture

Are biotechnology and sustainable agriculture complimentary or contradictory? The Economist moderates an online debate between experts in the field.

Biotechnology and sustainable agriculture are complimentary, says Pamela Ronald, professor of plant pathology at the University of California, Davis: "The number of people on Earth is expected to increase from the current 6.7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. How will we feed them? Genetically engineered crops will play an important role." Her opponent in the debate is Charles Benbrook, chief scientist at the Organic Center: "Biotechnology is not a system of farming. It reflects no specific philosophy nor is it guided by a set of principles or performance criteria. It is a bag of tools than can be used for good or evil, and lots in between," he says.

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