Agroecological alternatives: Capitalising on existing genetic potentials
Contemporary debates on whether or not transgenic innovations will be beneficial for the poor should consider also whether other methods could achieve the same objectives. This article discusses agroecological approaches, and specifically the system of rice intensification (SRI), which is showing that it can meet food production needs of the poor relatively quickly, simply, cost-effectively and in an environmentally-benign manner. SRI is raising yields 30-100 per cent without requiring new seeds, chemical fertilisers or agrochemicals, while using less water. Agroecological approaches are meant to obtain maximum performance from the genetic potential of agricultural plants; there is no contradiction in combining agro-ecological and biotechnological approaches to improve performance in the field. This article does not propose that agroecological approaches should substitute for transgenic methods, but does suggest that opportunities in the agroecological domain are probably being overlooked in the current preoccupation with genocentric strategies.
Volume (Year): 43 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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