SIRC Media Watch Archive
Comment and Opinion – June 2001

Science and agriculture in Africa. We are delighted to receive for publication an article by Boru Douthwaite of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)in Ibadan, Nigeria. Boru is the Impact and Adoption Specialist for IITA and is part of a team whose mission is to enhance the food security, income, and well-being of resource-poor people – primarily in the humid and subhumid zones of sub-Saharan Africa. The centre conducts research on methods of increasing agricultural production and improving food systems, and on the sustainable management of natural resources. It works in close partnership with national and international stakeholders. Boru's paper specifically addresses the role that biotechnolgy can play in meeting these objectives, arguing that it is one of many tools that can and should be employed to bring hope to some of the poorest farmers in the world. He also views it has having the potential to contribute significantly to increasing biodiversity on our planet, something which conventional approaches and the 'Green Revolution' have inadvertently reduced. Full editorial.

Fowl play The Soil Association continues its relentless campaign to increase even further the profits made by its organic farming members. Now it has issued a warning about the dangers which lurk inside conventionally reared chickens and their eggs, presumably expecting a rush to the organic poultry counters of supermarkets as a result. While many papers ignored such blatant and cynical opportunism, the Guardian gave it predictable prominence … The only problem with the Soil Association's claims is that the amount of medicine residues detected were well below even the conservative levels set by the World Health Organisation and not a single shred of evidence was provided to indicate any potentially harmful effects – a point ignored by the Guardian but not the more balanced BBC. Full story.