Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Modern Sustainable Agriculture is Not Descriminating

Last week I commented about an Environmental Working Group article that seemed to give the impression that women were more likely to be involved in or play a larger role sustainable agriculture. As I concluded, modern sustainable agriculture is driven not by gender, but by markets and technology.

If we take a more global view, far from discriminating, modern sustainable agricultural technology has increased economic mobility for women and the poor, especially in developing countries. Read the following from GM Crops: Engines of Economic Mobility, written by a small widowed farmer in the Philipines:

"Access to biotechnology has transformed my life. The increased productivity allowed me, as a widow, to send my three sons to college. I doubt this would have been possible without GM seeds. Women may have gained the most, according to a new study by the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. In India, cotton harvesting is traditionally a female activity. Since the introduction of GM cotton, women who pick in these fields have seen their income rise by 55 percent. “Overall, [GM] cotton enhances the quality of life of women through increasing income and reducing ‘femanual’ work,” said Arjunan Subramanian, a professor at Warwick. Men, for their part, spend less time spraying pesticides. This leaves them more available for family chores and activities."

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