Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pesticide dependent farming: critical to sustainable development?? Huh?

The Crop Protection Association’s Dr Anne Buckenham said‘…it's worth remembering that farmers will only use a pesticide if they need to control pests that would otherwise ravage their crop and deprive them of their income. The judicious use of pesticides is therefore critical to sustainable development in many countries.’ (Bristol Evening Post, Open Lines, ‘The other side of the pesticides debate’, 5 Sept).

Slight flaw in this thinking, in the medium and long term, if not in the short term. Pesticides are manufactured from oil, a finite, non-renewable fossil fuel.

Oil will run out and where will pesticides then come from? The consumption of oil and its many products, pesticides included, is causing climate change that is already seriously impacting farming. Take these together and you have unsustainable food production.

How does it help farmers to keep them dependent on pesticides and not assist them to develop sustainable, more natural alternatives? Farmers can ‘control pests that would otherwise ravage their crop’ by methods other than unsustainable, toxic chemical use – organic farmers do it. At some stage soon they have to find sustainable methods in any case.

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