The agriculture challenge


The second part of our special edition on agriculture surveying the battle over the future of farming.


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It is 50 years since Norman Borlaug led the Green Revolution, saving many of the world's poorest people from starvation. Borlaug, who would have turned 100 in March this year, was dedicated to bringing modern agricultural practices to the developing world. His groundbreaking work on high-yielding, disease-resistant strains of wheat, which was later applied to rice, is credited with saving hundreds of millions of lives.

But those principles are under attack with many suspicious and fearful of biotechnology, particularly the genetic modification of crops. It is no exaggeration to say the world is engaged in a war over agriculture.

Last week COSMOS began to unpack this conflict looking at the origins of the Green Revolution and the growing hostility towards modern farming practices.

This week Keith Kloor analyses why agribusiness giant Monsanto is so reviled and debunks some of the more shocking stories about the company. David Ropeik explains the psychology of the GM food wars and how we assess risk. Elizabeth Finkel, meanwhile, reports on an organic farming success story in Indonesia; how reading 1,000 bull genomes is improving cattle productivity; and about efforts to engineer plants that will be more efficient in their use of that vital but diminishing resource, phosphate.

You can catch up on last week's coverage, too. Robert Zeigler fears anti-technology zealots could take food out of the mouths of future generations; Elizabeth Finkel examines the lessons of the Green Revolution; Nina Fedoroff asks whether agriculture will become a victim of its own success and former anti-GMO activist Mark Lynas explains his change of mind.

  1. http://alpha.cosmosmagazine.com/life-sciences/speak-devil
  2. http://alpha.cosmosmagazine.com/society/seeds-deception
  3. http://alpha.cosmosmagazine.com/society/risky-business
  4. http://alpha.cosmosmagazine.com/life-sciences/cocoa-goes-au-naturel
  5. http://alpha.cosmosmagazine.com/life-sciences/breeding-better-cattle
  6. http://alpha.cosmosmagazine.com/life-sciences/making-most-phosphate
  7. http://alpha.cosmosmagazine.com/life-sciences/bitter-harvest-noble-cause
  8. http://alpha.cosmosmagazine.com/society/senseless-fight
  9. http://alpha.cosmosmagazine.com/society/battle-lines
  10. http://alpha.cosmosmagazine.com/society/environmentalists%E2%80%99-double-standards
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