Valery Matytsin/TASS/Getty Images

O direito à tecnologia agrícola

STANFORD – Na década de 1960, quando o biólogo Paul Ehrlich previa um cenário de fome em massa devido ao rápido crescimento populacional, o geneticista Norman Borlaug desenvolvia novas culturas e métodos na área da agricultura que se tornariam nos alicerces da Revolução Verde. Esses avanços, juntamente com outras inovações em tecnologia agrícola, são reconhecidos na prevenção de mais de mil milhões de mortes derivadas da fome e na melhoria da atual situação alimentar de mais milhares de milhões de pessoas. No entanto, alguns parecem ansiosos para reduzir estas conquistas.

Para além de salvar vidas, a Revolução Verde salvou o ambiente de uma destruição maciça. Segundo um estudo da Universidade Stanford, desde 1961, a tecnologia agrícola moderna reduziu significativamente as emissões de gases de efeito estufa e ainda conduziu a aumentos no rendimento líquido das colheitas. Também salvou o equivalente a três florestas tropicais amazónicas - ou ao dobro da área dos 48 estados contíguos dos EUA - de ficarem sem árvores e serem lavradas para terras agrícolas. As culturas geneticamente modificadas, por seu lado, reduziram o uso de pesticidas prejudiciais ao ambiente em 581 milhões de quilos (1,28 mil milhões de libras (Ib)), ou 18,5%, cumulativamente desde 1996.

Surpreendentemente, muitos ambientalistas são mais propensos a condenar estes desenvolvimentos do que a adotá-los, promovendo em vez disso um regresso a métodos ineficientes, de pouca rentabilidade. Incluída na conhecida agroecologia que eles defendem, está uma “agricultura camponesa” primitiva que, ao diminuir a produtividade e a resiliência das colheitas, compromete a segurança alimentar e conduz a maiores índices de fome e desnutrição.

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