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THE U.N'S FOOD FIGHT

11:00 PM, Nov 24, 1996 • By DAVE JUDAY
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Without such farming, the danger we face is not overpopulation or famine -- it is the loss of critical wildlife habitat. India, for example, has begun to take one-third of its dairy-cattle fodder from its forests, thereby robbing biodiversity. Indonesia is clearing tropical forest to grow low-yielding soybeans for chicken feed; it also plans to drain one of the world's largest freshwater wetlands for rice production. Fragile tropical-forest land, when assailed by "sustainable agriculture," suffers as much as ten times the soil erosion of the average American farm.


To satisfy the world's food demand in the next century, we must rely primarily on two things: enlightened farming and liberal trade policies (fertile cropland being unevenly distributed and nutritional self-sufficiency eluding many nations). Environmentalists, though, tend to oppose a broader trade as detrimental to traditional farmers, and their hostility to high- yield innovation is unrelenting -- even though such innovation is necessary to spare environmentally sensitive land.


It is amazing but true: The environmental movement's very own agenda stands as a threat to the earth's ecology. And squeals about population at Roman conclaves are no more than diversions from that fact.




Dave Juday is a businessman who exports food and agricultural products. He also serves as an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute's Center for Global Food Issues.