“I’d assumed that it would increase the use of chemicals. It turned out that pest-resistant cotton and maize needed less insecticide.
“I’d assumed that GM benefited only the big companies. It turned out that billions of dollars of benefits were accruing to farmers needing fewer inputs.
“I’d assumed that Terminator Technology was robbing farmers of the right to save seed. It turned out that hybrids did that long ago, and that Terminator never happened.
“I’d assumed that no-one wanted GM. Actually what happened was that Bt cotton was pirated into India and roundup ready soya into Brazil because farmers were so eager to use them.
“I’d assumed that GM was dangerous. It turned out that it was safer and more precise than conventional breeding using mutagenesis for example; GM just moves a couple of genes, whereas conventional breeding mucks about with the entire genome in a trial and error way.”
Lynas’ embrace of peer-reviewed science is heartening for those of us hoping for a more logical and less emotional debate about agriculture on this side of the Atlantic.
“The GM debate is over,” Lynas said. “It is finished. We no longer need to discuss whether or not it is safe…You are more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM food.”