Valery Matytsin/TASS/Getty Images

Les agriculteurs ont le droit de bénéficier des progrès technologiques

STANFORD – Dans les années 1960, tandis que le biologiste Paul Ehrlich prédisait la famine de masse en raison de la croissance rapide de la population, un agronome, Norman Borlaug, créait de nouvelles variétés de blé et proposé une nouvelle approche de l'agriculture qui allait devenir la base de la Révolution verte. Ces progrès, ainsi que d'autres innovations dans le domaine de l'agronomie, ont sans doute évité plus d'un milliard de décès dus à la famine et permis d'améliorer l'alimentation de milliards de personnes. Pourtant des voix s'élèvent aujourd'hui pour revenir sur ces progrès.

La Révolution verte a non seulement sauvé des vies, mais également protégé l'environnement. Selon une étude de l'université de Stanford, depuis 1961 les progrès de l'agronomie moderne ont permis d'augmenter les rendements agricoles tout en diminuant notablement les émissions de gaz à effet de serre. Elles ont permis de préserver de la destruction l'équivalent de trois forêts amazoniennes - soit deux fois la surface des USA. Et les cultures génétiquement modifiées ont permis de réduire de 18,5% le recours aux pesticides, soit 581 000 tonnes depuis 1996. 

Il est surprenant de constater que beaucoup d'écologistes condamnent cette évolution plutôt que de la soutenir et préconisent un retour à des méthodes inefficaces à faible rendement. La soi-disant "agroécologie" qu'ils appellent de leurs vœux est une agriculture primitive qui nuit à la sécurité alimentaire, car elle diminue les rendements et la résilience des cultures et conduit à l'augmentation de la famine et de la malnutrition.

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