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Biotech Battle Comes To Public Television

On April 23, PBS broadcast a Frontline/NOVA special entitled “Harvest of Fear.” The 2-hour-long program’s transcript is now available on-line. Here are just a few samples from the more level-headed side of the debate over genetically improved foods:

• DR. NORMAN BORLAUG, Texas A&M University – This organic movement is ridiculous. For those who want to go the organic route, God bless them. Let them spend more money for their food. But looking at the world at large, this is an impossibility … Most of the people who are opposing biotechnology, they’ve never known hunger. These people say that the little farmer should permanently accept that he’s gong to stay on that three-acre farm with a hoe and a machete. That’s fine in Utopia, but don’t give the world the false idea that they can produce the food that’s needed for six billion people.

• GORDON CONWAY, President, The Rockefeller Foundation – Whether or not people in developed countries like biotechnology, they should not deny those potential benefits to the developing countries. We’ve got 800 million chronically undernourished people. We’ve got 1.5 billion more people who will be added to the world population by the year 2020. That’s an enormous number of people to be fed. And we believe that biotechnology, along with agriculture ecology, is going to be able to feed that population.

• DR. FLORENCE WAMBUGU, Kenyan Scientist – They [Greenpeace] don’t have a clue what they’re talking about because most of those people who talk like that get all of their food from the supermarket, and they just think how it is going to appear in another place in another supermarket.

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