Posted May 15th @Economist.com
SIR – Over the past 20 years very little effort has been put into increasing seed yields. Most funding in seed science goes towards genetically modified varieties that are resistant to herbicides. Farmers are sold seeds that “self-destruct” after one use, ensuring a customer for both seed and chemical year after year.
Furthermore, the distribution of food worldwide has relied on low energy costs to run the ships, lorries and aircraft that transport agricultural produce. The cheap fossil fuels on which that system relies are a thing of the past. What’s needed now are farming methods that use less overall energy and produce food closer to home. As you pointed out, there is little arable land available and creating new croplands by continuing to destroy rainforests and fragile ecosystems is a cure worse than the disease.
Oak Park, Illinois