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The International Herald-Tribune reports this morning that farmers In China, India, and Indonesia -- Asia’s three largest countries -- are getting into the biotech business in a big way, planting millions of acres of genetically modified cotton.

"This is a significant development in the acceptance of genetically modified crops," Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, a professor of agribusiness at the University of Missouri, tells the paper. "This is not only a region where most of the population growth is, it's a region where most of the food growth is."

The report notes that the GM cotton plantings are just a harbinger of things to come in the food side, as governments tread softly because of European trepidation about foods containing GMOs. Nevertheless, there is speculation that nations like China could dominate the world of GM food production because of the steps they have been taking to lay the groundwork in this arena.

Part of the attraction of GM farming is that it is seen as a boon to countries where agriculture is an economic mainstay. And, the herald-Tribune notes, “Biotechnology advocates in Asia believe that genetically modified crops will increase food production, significantly reduce the use of pesticides and insecticides and even create drought-resistant crops that can grow on land now regarded as nonarable. Poor farmers' incomes will rise, they claim, with the greatest benefits in the poorest regions. China has more than 20,000 people employed in government-led research at about 200 labs. Government spending on biotech research has tripled in recent years and could top $1.5 billion for the five years ending in 2005, making China second only to the United States.”
KC's View:
Seems to us that while the US is squabbling with the EU over products that contain GMOs, the real battle may be fought and won on the other side of the globe.

We don’t believe in the inherent goodness or evil of GMOs. We simply believe that research must be exhaustive and careful, and that the existence of non-GMO crops and products must be carefully nurtured as well.