The argument for GM Food is supported by those taking a number of positions: 1. That GM will increase food production and we need to feed the world (false on both counts); 2. that GM will provide business opportunities for our local farmers (false, though it is true of the owners of GM patents); and 3. that we ought to trust the science and technology of GM, and fear of eating GM food is merely the ignorance of the masses that will soon be put to rest by even more science (supercilious, and false).
In response to a letter arguing for essentially all of these dubious positions, I penned the following.
Letter to the Editor, Hawkes Bay Today (January 2017)
Daryl Petersen obviously believes that GM food production is merely a technological tool whose science is secure, and eventually the people will all wake up and mature to his higher level of knowing. For the benefit of those that think like Mr Petersen, there are actually four arguments against GM.
The biggest by far is the premium price position of GM Free versus lower than commodity position of GM. Have a look at the nightmare real price reduction of agricultural commodities over the last 60 years. You do not want to be on an even worse trajectory than that. GM is that worse.
The second is containment. Once some short-term thinker decides on GM, it effectively cuts out his neighbour from going for premium market position, forcing below-commodity as the position of NZ agriculture. That is pure and utter madness.
The third is that – despite what Mr Petersen expresses so patronisingly – the science is nowhere near settled, partly because so many of the mega-corporates who do the GM have all sorts of veto rights to ensure there is no independent science presented – only their approved variety. I have seen visiting academics who don’t want to be sued, so don’t publish, but present horror stories. And then look at the concerted attacks on those that do publish within the loopholes of the veto rights.
And the fourth is the attempts by mega-corporates to control the wider food system by effectively patenting food, including ancient foods and plants whose genomes we all own as a ‘common’. More privatisation of the commons. Anyone think that is a desirable end? GM is a corporate-sponsored Mordor in the making.