Valery Matytsin/TASS/Getty Images

El derecho a la tecnología agrícola

STANFORD – En los sesenta, cuando el biólogo Paul Ehrlich predecía que el veloz crecimiento de la población iba a provocar hambrunas masivas, un genetista llamado Norman Borlaug estaba desarrollando nuevos cultivos y métodos de agricultura que se han convertido en pilares de la Revolución Verde. Se atribuye a esos avances (y otras innovaciones en tecnología agrícola) haber evitado más de mil millones de muertes por hambre y mejorado la nutrición de miles de millones de personas. Pero hay gente que parece ansiosa por revertir esas mejoras.

Además de salvar vidas, la Revolución Verde evitó una destrucción medioambiental a gran escala. Según un estudio de la Universidad Stanford, de 1961 a hoy la tecnología agrícola moderna permitió una considerable reducción de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero, aumentando al mismo tiempo el rendimiento neto de los cultivos. También salvó del desmonte y la conversión en tierra de siembra el equivalente a tres pluviselvas como el Amazonas (o el doble del área de los 48 estados contiguos de Estados Unidos). Los cultivos genéticamente modificados, por su parte, han permitido una reducción del uso de pesticidas nocivos para el medio ambiente acumulada igual a 581 millones de kilogramos (un 18,5%) desde 1996.

Extrañamente, muchos ambientalistas creen que todo esto es digno no de aprobación, sino de condena, y promueven un regreso a metodologías de cultivo ineficientes e improductivas. La “agroecología” por la que abogan incluye una primitiva “agricultura campesina” que, al reducir el rendimiento y la resistencia de los cultivos, pone en riesgo la seguridad alimentaria y aumentará el hambre y la desnutrición.

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