Patrick Moore, Ph.D.
Chairman, Allow Golden Rice Society
The following article by Colin Tudge contains many, if not most, of the misinformation and hype being spread by anti-GMO campaigners. It is a scare campaign with absolutely no basis in objective fact or science. Yet people are fearful of claims of cancer, poisoning, destruction of the soil, and “corporate control of the world food supply”. None of these claims has a shred of truth and here I will do my best to demonstrate this. My comments are in red.
The Founding Fables of Industrialised Agriculture
October 30, 2013 (Un)Sustainable Farming by Colin Tudge
(CT) Governments these days are not content with agriculture that merely provides good food. In line with the dogma of neoliberalism they want it to contribute as much wealth as any other industry towards the grand goal of “economic growth”. High tech offers to reconcile the two ambitions – producing allegedly fabulous yields, which seems to be what’s needed, and becoming highly profitable. The high-tech flavour of the decade is genetic engineering, supplying custom-built crops and livestock as GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).
(PM) The mention of “neoliberalism” gives this paragraph away as being pure political dogma itself. The “wealth” created by agriculture is the food produced, not the money. Money is not “wealth” but only a credit to obtain wealth in the form of valuable goods and services. The reason it is necessary to increase food production is that our population is growing and people are changing their food preferences (more meat) as they become wealthier. Apparently “high-tech” is OK for everything except the most important thing, food. “Profit” is of course a dirty word, ignoring the fact that ALL businesses must be profitable or die, including organic farming, solar energy, and hemp clothing. GMOs are then singled out as if they are the cause of all things neoliberal, profitable, and otherwise undesirable. Not a very convincing first paragraph.
(CT) So it was that the UK Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, told The Independent recently that the world absolutely needs genetically-engineered “Golden Rice”, as created by one of the world’s two biotech giants, Syngenta. Indeed, those who oppose Golden Rice are “wicked”: a comment so outrageous that Paterson’s own civil servants have distanced themselves from it.
(PM) Secretary Owen Patterson clearly meant to indicate a moral condemnation of the individuals and groups that spread misinformation about Golden Rice in particular, and GMOs in general. He fell short of using the word “evil” but that is what is implied. Two million children are dying every year from diseases related to vitamin A deficiency while the anti-GM movement claims there may be “health issues” if Golden Rice is introduced. And they do absolutely nothing to help alleviate the suffering and death; in fact they are raising money by helping to perpetuate the misery. There is no doubt they are behaving immorally by any standard of human behavior. Patterson would not expect his bureaucrats to agree with him in public. They held their tongues and let the Minister do the talking.
Some background on Golden Rice:
Nearly 3 billion people depend on rice as their main staple, food that provides energy. In rice this is mainly starch. Many staple crops, such as corn, wheat, and potatoes, do contain beta carotene in sufficient quantity so there is virtually no vitamin A deficiency in cultures that use them as their staple. But no variety of conventional rice contains beta carotene. Nearly all vitamin A deficiency is in the rice-eating cultures.
Two humanitarian scientists who were aware of this health crisis, Dr. Ingo Potrykus from Switzerland and Prof. Peter Beyer of Germany, invented Golden Rice in 1999, after nine years of effort. Early on it was determined that it was not possible to put beta carotene in rice with conventional breeding techniques. Therefore it was decided to try the relatively new technique of recombinant-DNA biotechnology, now called “genetic engineering” or “genetic modification”. Genes from daffodils and corn were used at first (the yellow colour of daffs and corn is beta carotene). Later, the Syngenta Foundation developed a variety of Golden Rice that had more beta carotene by using one gene from corn and one gene from a bacterium that produces beta carotene. It has been proven that this variety of Golden Rice will cure vitamin A deficiency.
The Golden Rice Project was formed to oversee the development of Golden Rice and to bring it to commercial production. The Golden Rice Humanitarian Board consists of the inventors, academics, humanitarians and philanthropic foundations.
More recently the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided funding to the Rice Research Institute in the Philippines to conduct field trials with Golden Rice. It is hoped that Golden Rice will finally reach the people who need it in 2016.
(CT) Specifically, Golden Rice has been fitted with genes that produce carotene, which is the precursor of vitamin A. Worldwide, approximately 5 million pre-school aged children and 10 million pregnant women suffer significant Vitamin A deficiency sufficiently severe to cause night blindness according to the WHO. By such statistics a vitamin A-rich rice seems eminently justified.
(PM) The author is only incorrect by 245 million children. The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million pre-school age children are chronically deficient for vitamin A. About two million, mostly children, die each year and as many as 500,000 children go blind each year due to the deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency is the greatest killer of children today. And it is not a disease like malaria, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis. It is a simple nutrient deficiency and only needs beta carotene to cure it. Vitamin A is not only necessary for eyesight. It is also essential for our immune system. Note the author admits that “vitamin A-rich rice seems eminently justified” (and then proceeds to argue for the opposite position).
(CT) Yet the case for Golden Rice is pure hype. For Golden Rice is not particularly rich in carotene and in any case, rice is not, and never will be, the best way to deliver it. Carotene is one of the commonest organic molecules in nature. It is the yellow pigment that accompanies chlorophyll in all dark green leaves (the many different kinds known as “spinach” are a great source) and is clearly on show in yellow roots such as carrots and some varieties of cassava, and in fruits like papaya and mangoes that in the tropics can grow like weeds.
(PM) Here is where the factual inaccuracy begins in earnest. Colin Tudge baldly states that “Golden Rice is not particularly rich in vitamin A”. It has been conclusively demonstrated in many field trials of Golden Rice that it contains more than enough beta carotene to cure vitamin A deficiency. 40 grams of Golden Rice per day is sufficient. Feeding trials with adults and children have proven that the beta carotene in Golden Rice is converted to vitamin A and delivered to the blood.
Anti-GM campaigners not only claim that Golden Rice won’t work, they all also claim there are “better ways” to get vitamin A to millions of children and therefore Golden Rice is not needed. If there are “better ways” why are millions of children still dying every year? And what are these people doing to put their “better ways” into practice? Absolutely nothing.
The “better ways” they refer to are vitamin A capsules and beta carotene-rich fruits and vegetables. It is true that vitamin A pills can cure the deficiency. But this solution requires an endless stream of additional funds and must be administered by an agency with a budget. The people who are vitamin A deficient are the poorest, mainly in urban slums in Asia and Africa. They can’t afford vitamin pills but they can afford a cup of rice each day. That is why Golden Rice is such an elegant solution; these people are already eating rice every day so there will be no additional cost to the people or the government.
It is also true that a balanced diet, including green, leafy vegetables will cure vitamin A deficiency. Perhaps the opponents are oblivious to it but this is the equivalent of Marie Antoinette saying of French commoners “Let them eat cake”. The reason millions of children suffer from the deficiency is that they can’t afford a balanced diet, and most of them live where there is no place to grow additional food.
(CT)So the best way by far to supply carotene (and thus vitamin A) is by horticulture – which traditionally was at the core of all agriculture. Vitamin A deficiency is now a huge and horrible issue primarily because horticulture has been squeezed out by monocultural big-scale agriculture — the kind that produces nothing but rice or wheat or maize as far as the eye can see; and by insouciant urbanization that leaves no room for gardens. Well-planned cities could always be self-sufficient in fruit and veg. Golden Rice is not the answer to the world’s vitamin A problem. As a scion of monocultural agriculture, it is part of the cause. Syngenta’s promotion of it is yet one more exercise in top-down control and commercial PR. Paterson’s blatant promotion of it is at best naïve.
(PM) This artificial distinction between “horticulture” and “agriculture” is meaningless. Both words mean “growing plants for human use”. Gardeners tend to use horticulture, farmers tend to use agriculture. Vitamin A deficiency has nothing to do with “monocultures”. Food crops have been grown as “monocultures” (many plants of the same species in a field) for 10,000 years. And there is virtually no vitamin A deficiency in countries that use different staple foods even though, in the US, for example, most food crops are grown in monocultures. In fact the agriculture in the countries with the least vitamin A deficiency tends to be large-scale monoculture.
The big mistake here is to say “rice or wheat or maize (corn) as far as the eye can see.” Only rice lacks beta carotene. Wheat and corn, grown in extensive monoculture, provide ample beta carotene.
As for “insouciant urbanization” I assume this refers to cities, in particular urban slums where vitamin A deficiency is most prevalent. Do these people suggest that we must re-design all the cities so everyone has a garden patch? No multi-story buildings?
Rice is grown as a monoculture everywhere it is grown, in rice paddies. It’s called “farming” and it has a 10,000 year history. Syngenta is not “promoting” Golden Rice but rather contributing to its development as a humanitarian project.
(CT) For Golden Rice serves primarily as a flagship for GMOs and GMOs are very big business – duly supported at huge public expense by successive governments. It is now the lynch-pin of agricultural research almost everywhere. The UK’s Agriculture and Food Research Council of the 1990s even had the words ‘Agriculture’ and ‘Food’ air-brushed out to become the Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BBSRC). We have been told that GMOs increase yields with lower inputs and have been proven beyond reasonable doubt to be safe. Indeed, journalist Mark Lynas has been telling us from some remarkably high platforms that the debate on GMOs is “dead”; that there is now “a consensus” among scientists worldwide that they are necessary and safe.
(PM) The idea that Golden Rice is a “flagship” or “Trojan Horse” for GM technology is entirely an invention of the anti-GM movement. Golden Rice has been a humanitarian effort from the beginning. There is no commercial benefit to the holders of GM patents and the only people to benefit will be the growers (mainly smallhold farmers) and the consumers (people deficient for vitamin A).
Many GM crops, such as the insect resistant varieties, do increase yield. India adopted GM cotton in 2002. In 10 years cotton production has more than doubled and India has gone from importing cotton to exporting 20% of their production. 70 million people are employed in cotton production. As well, research has found that the use of GM cotton helps to avoid at least 2.4 million cases of pesticide poisoning in Indian farmers each year.
Mark Lynas, once a foe of GM crops, is right. The debate is over and all credible science and health organizations agree that GM food is safe.
(CT) In reality, GMOs do not consistently or even usually yield well under field conditions; they do not necessarily lead to reduction in chemical inputs, and have often led to increases; and contra Mark Lynas, there is no worldwide consensus of scientists vouching for their safety. Indeed, the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) has drawn up a petition that specifically denies any such consensus and points out that “a list of several hundred studies does not show GM food safety”. Hundreds of scientists are expected to sign. Overall, after 30 years of concerted endeavour, ultimately at our expense and with the neglect of matters far more pressing, no GMO food crop has ever solved a problem that really needs solving that could not have been solved by conventional means in the same time and at less cost.
(PM) Not all GMOs are designed to increase productivity, yet most of them do result in improved yield. Why would independent farmers pay considerably more for seed that has no benefit? This is one of the great lies of the anti-GM movement.
GMOs do not contribute to increased use of pesticides or fertilizer; in fact the opposite is the case. And there is an overwhelming consensus among science, agriculture, nutrition, and humanitarian organizations that GM food is safe. These include the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. More than 800 studies have proven GM foods safe to eat. The organization referred to (ENSSER) is a small group of disaffected extremists who prey on the public’s fear of the unknown. There is no credible evidence of harm caused by GM foods.
(CT) The real point behind GMOs is to achieve corporate/ big government control of all agriculture, the biggest by far of all human endeavours. And this agriculture will be geared not to general wellbeing but to the maximization of wealth. The last hundred years, in which agriculture has been industrialised, have laid the foundations. GMOs, for the agro-industrialists, can finish the job. The technology itself is esoteric so that only the specialist and well-endowed can embark on it – the bigger the better. All of the technology can be, and is, readily protected by patents. Crops that are not protected by patents are being made illegal. Only parts of the EU have so far been pro-GM but even so the list of crops that it allows farmers to grow – or any of us! – becomes more and more restricted. Those who dare to sell the seed of traditional varieties that have not been officially approved can go to prison. Your heritage allotment could soon land you in deep trouble.
(PM) Here is another of the complete fabrications of the anti-GM movement. How is it possible to “achieve control of all agriculture” by selling improved seed to farmers who want them. Monsanto doesn’t own big farms or the distribution system for food. Monsanto is a medium-sized company that produces and sells seeds and one herbicide that makes the seeds more productive. Agriculture is no longer the “biggest by far of all human endeavors”. In industrialized countries less than 5% of the population is engaged in agriculture.
To suggest that “only the specialist and well-endowed” can benefit from GM technology is farcical. In 2012 the acreage of GM crops in developing countries surpassed that in industrialized countries. 17 million farmers in 23 countries are growing GM crops on an area larger than all US farmland. If it weren’t for the purely legal and political barriers erected by the anti-GM activists, it would be triple or quadruple that number by now.
The claim that “Crops that are not protected by patents are being made illegal.” is bizarre. Equally so is the charge that “Those who dare to sell the seed of traditional varieties that have not been officially approved can go to prison.” One wonders just what they are referring to.
(CT) As GMOs spread – and governments like Britain’s would love to follow the US lead in this – they could soon become the only options; the only kids on the block. Then all of agriculture, the key to human survival, will become the exclusive property of the few huge companies that hold the patents. By every sane judgment this is a horrible prospect. Among many other things, the obvious loss of biodiversity will make the whole world even more precarious than it is right now, especially if climate changes the growing conditions year by year. Yet our government’s support for GM technology and for the thinking behind it is unswerving. Government wants agriculture to be seen as big business. Lip service is still paid to democracy (young men and women are sent to their deaths to defend the idea of it) but in truth we have rule by oligarchy: a virtual coalition of corporates and government, with establishment scientists in attendance. This monolith, and the crude thinking on which it is founded, is a far bigger threat to humanity than North Korea or “terrorism”, or the collapse of banks or dwindling oil.
(PM) The notion that GMOs could become “the only option” is ludicrous. Any farmer can start a seed company, and try to produce a better seed. And there are lots of conventional varieties of many crops that are still superior to any GM variety. Yet, due to the power of GM to improve crops for productivity, nutrition etc, it is likely that GM techniques will be applied to many if not most of our food crops as time goes on.
Loss of biodiversity has nothing to do with GM technology. GM is good for biodiversity. All food crops are bred for beneficial properties (traits); productivity, pest resistance, nutrition, drought resistance etc. GM crops generally increase productivity. Therefore less land is required to produce the same amount of food. This means more land can be left in a natural state rather than being converted to agriculture. This is why, in general, modern high-yield agriculture, using technology, chemistry, biology and genetics, is positive from a biodiversity/nature conservation perspective.
The last half of this paragraph degenerates into a tirade against democracy, scientists, and “government”. Apparently there is a “monolith” that is the biggest threat to humanity. Pretty weak arguments here.
(CT) Yet we have been assured, time and again, that there is no alternative; that without high tech, industrialized agriculture, we will all starve. This is the greatest untruth of all; though it has been repeated so often by so many people in such high places that it has become embedded in the zeitgeist. Whether the officially sanctioned untruths spring from misconception or from downright lies I will leave others to judge. But in either case, their repetition by people who have influence in public affairs, is deeply reprehensible.
(PM) I don’t trust people who use the word “zeitgeist”. And “deeply reprehensible” leaves me cold too.
(CT) Specifically we have been told that the world will need 50% more food by 2050. The Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, Sir John Beddington, said this in his “Foresight” report of 2012 on The Future of Food and Farming  His argument was, and is, that a billion out of the present seven billion are now undernourished; that numbers are due to rise to 9.5 billion by 2050; that people “demand” more and more meat as they grow richer; and that meat requires enormous resources to produce (already the world’s livestock gobble up about 50% of the world’s cereal and well over 90% of the soya). So of course we need 50% more – and some have raised the ante to 100%. Thus the message comes from on high, we must focus on production, come what may.
(PM) It is true that predictions are difficult, especially about the future! (Yogi Berra). But there is no doubt that the population is growing, that many people don’t have enough food today, and that food preferences are changing. Whether it is 35%, 50%, or 75% there is no doubt that food production must rise to meet the need. These people would have us eat a steady diet of soybeans. They don’t want people to choose what they eat but to dictate our diet, ignoring the fact that food is one of the main cultural aspects of civilization.
(CT) But others, including some far closer to the facts, tell a quite different story. Professor Hans Herren, President of the Millennium Institute in Washington, points out that the world already produces enough staple food to support 14 billion – twice the present number. A billion starve because the wrong food is produced in the wrong places by the wrong means by the wrong people – and once the food is produced, as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has pointed out, half of it is wasted. The UN demographers tell us that although human numbers are rising the percentage rise is going down and should reach zero by 2050 – so the numbers should level out. Nine and a half billion is as many as we will ever have to feed – and we already produce 50% more than will ever be needed. The task, then, is not to increase output, but to produce what we do produce (or even less) by means that are kinder to people, livestock, and wildlife; more sustainable; and more resilient.
(PM) There is not a shred of logic here. If we were producing enough food for 14 billion there would be no hunger. Most food has a short shelf-life. It’s not so much that food is wasted but that it rots on the shelf due to seasonal gluts, over-ordering, etc. It will never be possible to have 100% of the food reaching consumers in a state fit to eat. So we must over-produce to satisfy demand. No one is wasting food on purpose.
What has this to do with being “kinder to people, livestock, and wildlife; more sustainable; and more resilient”? I guess it just sounds like a good thing.
(CT) The truth is that for commercial purposes – for the maximization of wealth – it is too easy to provide good food for everyone. A few years ago, after all, when the economy was tweaked a little differently, farmers in Europe and the US were embarrassed by gluts of wheat and maize; and as farmers have always known, gluts are second only to total crop failure as the route to financial disaster. The obvious and sensible solution would be to reduce production: to tailor output to need and to genuine desire. “Set-aside” was a crude stab at this. But the far more lucrative course is the one we have taken- to overproduce – and if it turns out that people really don’t need more food, then those who seek primarily to maximize wealth must pretend that they do. So the word is put around, backed by well-chosen and uncritical statistics, that we will need 50% more in the next few decades.
(PM) Note that the author thinks “it is too easy to provide good food for everyone”. This is no doubt written by someone who couldn’t keep a house plant alive, never mind feed the nation. Yes, there are gluts and crop failures due to weather and circumstance, which is the heartache in every farmer’s life. Calling for “reduced production” is a recipe for global famine. We must allow supply and demand to work in the global market to get the signals right for when and what to plant.
(TC) The resulting surpluses are then fed to livestock. Livestock that could, incidentally, be fed in more than adequate numbers if we made better use of the world’s grasslands, which account for about two-thirds of all agricultural land; or – which is a straightforward scam, though again it can be made to look respectable – the surplus wheat and maize can simply be burnt if labelled “biofuel”. “Demand” (in this scenario) is judged not by what people actually say they want (who ever said they wanted wheat-based biofuel, or cereal-fed beef rather than grass-fed beef?) but by what can be sold by aggressive PR and successfully lobbied through complaisant government.
(PM) “Livestock” and the meat they provide are apparently to be discontinued in the anti-GM world, even though there is only one GM animal approved to date. (The Aqua-Bounty GM salmon is approved in Canada). So this is not really about GM, it is about people who are trying to control our food supply, the anti-GM activists. All the while they are accusing Monsanto & Co. of doing the same. As a student of communism I am well aware that one of León Trotsky’s favorite tricks was to accuse his enemies of exactly what he was guilty of, thus deflecting attention from his own ambitions. It is clear from the above that this anti-GM activist wants to tell us what to grow, and what to eat. Farmers should have the right to choose GM seed or not. Consumers should equally have the right to choose what to eat. The anti-GM crowd is opposed to this choice.
(CT) Then we are told that the 50% increase we are said to need can be provided only by industrial agriculture and that this industry, like all human endeavour, works most efficiently when driven by the maximally competitive global market. The pious slogan that is meant to justify all this is “sustainable intensification”: more and more output per hectare, achieved by high tech. The magic bullet of GMOs is just part of the hype.
(PM) I will leave the reader to judge the merits of this paragraph. I have never heard the term “sustainable intensification” but if it means growing more food per acre/hectare sustainably I am all for it. Clearly the author is opposed to “markets” and “industry”.
(CT) For if we really did need more food (and it would be good to produce more in some places) then the industrial high tech route is not the one to go down. As the IAASTD report  of 2009 pointed out – this being one of the few official reports of recent years that is truly worthwhile – the industrial farming that is supposed to be feeding the world in practice provides only 30% of the world’s food. Another 20% comes from fishing, hunting, and people’s back gardens – and the remaining 50% comes from the mostly small, mostly mixed traditional farms that the industrialists and their political assistants tell us are an anachronism; and small mixed farms can be the most productive of all, per unit area . Furthermore, to produce their 30%, the industrial farms gobble up enormous quantities of oil for their industrial chemistry with immense collateral damage, not least to the climate. In contrast traditional farms are low input, and at least when properly managed, need not be damaging at all.
(PM) Here the author confuses the large-scale production of staple crops such as rice, wheat, corn and potatoes, with the market-garden crops like lettuce, radishes, carrots etc. And even those are nearly always grown in separate patches of monoculture. There is nothing stopping smallholder farmers from using GM seed, in India 70 million people are employed growing cotton, 90% of which is GM. Agriculture is “damaging” by nature in that it displaces native ecosystems with food crops. GM crops are in no way unique in this regard; in fact due to higher productivity they displace less nature than conventional crops.
(CT) More yet: traditional farms worldwide typically produce only about a half or even a third of what they could produce – not because the farmers are incompetent, as Western observers like to claim, but because they lack the most basic supports. For instance, if farm prices are left to the global market, they go up and down– so that farmers who have no proper financial support from banks or governments are subjected to dumping of foreign surpluses. They then cannot afford to invest upfront in more production. So they err on the side of caution, while western industrial farmers, or at least the richest ones, have often thrown caution to the winds. A little logistic help could increase the output of traditional farms – 50% of the whole – by 100%. Heroic efforts would be needed to increase the output of high-tech western crops and livestock even by another 10%, because the 10-tonne per hectare wheat fields and the 10,000 litre-plus dairy cows are already hard up against physiological limits (while the livestock is well beyond welfare limits). But all the official effort, and our money, is poured into more industrialization. Policy, agricultural and alas scientific, goes where the money leads.
(PM) This paragraph is too goofy to respond to, and is typical of the cognitive dysfunction of the anti-GM movement. There is a pretense of logic, but nothing of substance. It would be easy to increase yields in many countries where modern methods have not been adopted. GM is one of those modern methods, along with fertilizer, pesticides, and precision farming.
(CT) Finally, we are told that the high-tech, global market approach to food production keeps prices down. Small, mixed, traditional-style farms are said to be far too expensive because they are labour-intensive. But in fact, about 80% of what people spend on food in supermarkets goes to the middle-men and the banks (who lend the money to set up the system in the first place). So the farmers get only 20%. If those farmers are up to their ears in debt, as they are likely to be if they have gone down the industrial high-tech route, then a fair slice of that 20% goes to the banks. At most, the farm labour costs that we are supposed to try so hard to keep down probably account for less than 10% of the total food bill. It’s the 80% we need to get down. When farmers sell directly to customers they get 100% of the retail price; through farmers’ markets they typically get around 70%; and through local shops at least 30%. With different marketing the small farmers can certainly make a good living – and farming as a whole in Britain could easily soak up all the million under-25s who are presently being invited to wile away their days in the job centre. (But then, agricultural economists don’t tend to take social costs into account).
(PM) Would food be cheaper if more people were hired to grow it? I have been a farmer and know that the biggest cost is getting the produce to market. Again, this article is written by someone who has never grown food.
(CT) In short, agriculture in Britain and the world at large needs a sea-change – an “Agrarian Renaissance”: different ways of farming and marketing and – emphatically — different people in charge. The oligarchy of corporates, government, and compliant academe has failed. Farming that can actually feed us is innately democratic. Worldwide, the farmers know best – but the oligarchs rarely talk to them. They are content merely to impose their scientific and economic and scientific dogmas: high tech in a neoliberal market.
(PM) It is unlikely that an “Agrarian Renaissance” will be led by people who have never fed a country. “Different people in charge” is a take-over attempt by politicos who want control, the very thing they accuse Monsanto & Co. of. Thankfully it is unlikely they will ever get control and very likely that GM varieties will continue to grow in importance.
(CT) Mercifully, worldwide, many people are helping to bring the Renaissance into being. They range from setters-up of local farmers’ markets to organizations like ENSSER to the worldwide peasants’ movement, La Via Campesina. As many as can be fitted in congregate each year at the Oxford Real Farming Conference: the next one is in January 2014. Do come, and join the Renaissance. This is the cause of our age, for whatever else we may aspire to do, agriculture is the thing we absolutely have to get right.
(PM) Right, we will be saved by the “Worldwide Peasants Movement”. The last time that happened things did not turn out so well. I prefer ‘One human family on Spaceship Earth’.