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publié dans Ressources le 23 octobre 2023

Sustainable Food and Farming: When Public Perceptions Depart from Science

Robert Paarlberg

Agro-business/ Agriculture intensiveOGMSociété CivileAfriqueAmérique du NordEuropeArticle scientifique

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This chapter examines four important food production innovations that have been favored by scientists but opposed by influential swathes of the public: Green Revolution farming, industrial agriculture, the use of synthetic chemicals versus organic farming, and genetically engineered crops (GMOs). While three of the four innovations enjoy widespread use despite civil society opposition, GMOs do not. This chapter explains why: except for GMOs, public misgivings did not find political expression until after farmers had experienced the benefits from these innovations, making them impossible to take away. However, activists raised strong objections early with respect to GMOs, before the seeds were in wide use, and therefore most farmers never had a chance to enjoy and defend the benefits. Genome editing, a more recent crop science breakthrough, met early legal resistance in Europe, but broad popular resistance is unlikely to follow, so widespread deployment in farming is likely.

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