doubly benefit from a crop that can be sold for food (or be eaten directly)and clothing. Supporters of genetic engineering hope that the prospect of â€œfeeding the worldâ€
with cotton will win over skeptics and changepolicies of those poor countries that are, so far, resisting the pressure togive in to genetically engineered (GE) crops.Environmentalists remain wary, citing the example of golden rice,genetically engineered to contain vitamin A but requiring consumption of huge amounts to derive any benefit. (Furthermore, fields that are notclean cultivated usually contain edible greens that are rich in vitamin Aand other nutrienets.) Edible-seed variety cotton will not solve theproblems of GE foods, environmentalists maintain, but will exacerbatethem. Zachary Makanya, in his excellent article for
(August 2004,www.grain.org/seedling/?id=294)), explains why GE cropshave no place in African agriculture (a target market for low-gossypolcotton). GE crops â€“
will contaminate non-GE crops; co-existence is not possible;2.will foster dependence on a corporate seed supply;
will usher in â€œTerminatorâ€
technologies;4.will increase the use of chemicals;5.are patented;6.favor industrial agricultural systems;
threaten organic and sustainable farming;8.require biosafety systems unrealistic for African countries;9.will not reduce hunger in Africa;10.will not resolve problems with pests;11.will encourage arbitrary destruction of biodiversity;12.are a threat to human health.Says Sue Mayer, director of GeneWatch UK: â€œPoverty and hunger arecomplex problems caused by bad government, poor economies and war.It is not just a matter of finding a new wonder plant.â€
Concerning cottonseed as fish meal, the problem of crashing oceanpopulations will put into perspective any satisfaction we derive from fishthat will eat, and even thrive, on cottonâ€™s protein. As fish meal,cottonseed might open new channels of discussion around organic foodlabeling, but as human food, is the science of edible cottonseed a red-herring in the real struggle to feed the worldâ€™s poor?