Oliver Walston

Worth reading in full.

I am puzzled yet again when I listen today to the Organic Mullahs shouting from every minaret that these poor Third World farmers will not be able to plant the seeds that result from their GM crops because the greedy multinationals demand to be paid. The same applies today to any conventional variety. If I wish to plant this autumn seeds I harvested this summer, I can only do so if I pay a royalty to the breeder. Surely it\’s right to reward the plant breeder.

For 60 years hybrid varieties – usually maize – have been used from Kenya to Kansas. And it is impossible to plant seeds from a hybrid variety because they do not “breed true”. So every year the farmer must buy hybrid seeds. For some reason the Organic Taleban have never once objected to this.

But what puzzles me most about the Organic religion is a single fundamental fact. I grow wheat five times in a decade and usually produce 4 tonnes per acre. My organic friends grow wheat less than three times in a decade and are happy if they produce 2 tonnes per acre. Thus after ten years I will have harvested 20 tonnes while they may have harvested 6.

So there are only two ways that organic agriculture can feed the world. Either we must triple the area of land cultivated (destroying almost all of the rain forest) or the world\’s population must eat a vegetarian diet.

4 thoughts on “Oliver Walston”

  1. “So there are only two ways that organic agriculture can feed the world.”

    There is a third way: Bird Flu and Putin.

  2. It’s not quite true that one need keep buying new seed in order to grow the superior-yielding hybrid variety.

    The alternative is to produce your own seed by hybridization. Of course, what most would find is that, for their particular purposes, it makes more sense to simply buy the hybrid seed they require and get over the feeling that, somehow, they’re being victimized.

  3. It’s amazing how the greenies latch on to just one link in the food chain, to persecute.

    The seed producers are in the business of perfecting high quality, high yield hybrids. They are entitled to a return on their investment. As are the farmers, distributors, processors, and retailers. Nobody works for nothing.

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