23 Mar 2011

Anti-GE groups reject plant scientist's message

2:22 pm on 23 March 2011

Anti-GE organisations have rejected the message delivered by a visiting American plant scientist that genetic engineering has a part to play in making agriculture more sustainable.

Professor Pamela Ronald from the University of California, Davis, has this week addressed the NZBio conference and the Royal Society in New Zealand.

She argues that organics and genetic engineering both have a part to play in achieving more ecologically balanced food and crop production.

Professor Ronald points to significantly reduced levels of insecticides used on genetically-modified cotton as an example.

But the GE Free New Zealand and Soil and Health organisations have condemned her views.

Soil and Health spokesperson Steffan Browning says Professor Ronald gave selective information. For example in speaking of the advantages of GE cotton, Mr Browning says she failed to mention the continuing high use of herbicide and the animals that die from eating the spent cotton crop in India.