Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Monday, 3 October 2016

Agrichemicals and ever more intensive farming will not feed the world

From the Guardian - Our food production system is broken, with steep losses in biodiversity. The answer is not more chemicals from a few increasingly dominant companies.

"British farmers growing wheat typically treat each crop over its growing cycle with four fungicides, three herbicides, one insecticide and one chemical to control molluscs. They buy seed that has been precoated with chemicals against insects. They spray the land with weedkiller before planting, and again after.

They apply chemical growth regulators that change the balance of plant hormones to control the height and strength of the grain’s stem. They spray against aphids and mildew. And then they often spray again just before harvesting with the herbicide glyphosphate to dessicate the crop, which saves them the energy costs of mechanical drying.

Most farmers around the world, whatever the crop, will turn to one of just six companies that dominate the market to buy all these agrochemicals and their seeds. The concentration of power over primary agriculture in such a small number of corporations, and their ability both to set prices and determine the varieties available, has already been a cause of concern among farmers. Yet by next year the competition is likely to shrink even further.The six global chemical and seed giants will become three behemoths with even greater market control. Just when climate change demands a more diverse and adaptable food system, resilient to changing conditions, agriculture is being dragged further down an ever-narrowing agroindustrial route."

The full article can be read here.

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