The book on biotechnology for all agricultures

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Dr. Hans R. Herren, Co-Chair IAASTD

"Hope Not Hype is exactly on target regarding what is needed today by the decision-makers, who are not specialists but need to have - in clear, comprehensive and short text - the main points to guide their decisions on biotechnology in agriculture...It is also useful to the education sector, providing information that can help to better educate students and the general public on the issues raised to make informed decisions at their own level."

Can we feed the world in the year 2050? If we can, will it be at the price of more distant futures of food insecurity? 21st-century Earth is still trying to find a way to feed its people. Despite global food surpluses, we have malnutrition, hunger and starvation. We also have mass obesity in the same societies. These phenomena are a symptom of the same central problem: a dominating single agriculture coming from industrialized countries responding to perverse and artificial market signals. It neither produces sustainable surpluses of balanced and tasty diets nor does it use food production to increase social and economic equity, increase the food security of the poorest, and pamper the planet back into health.

This book is about a revolution in agriculture envisioned by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development  (IAASTD), a five-year multi-million-dollar research exercise supervised by the United Nations and World Bank that charts sustainable solutions. The solutions are of course not purely technological, but technology will be a part of the solution.

Which technology? Whose technology?

Hope Not Hype is written for people who farm, but especially for people who eat. It takes a hard look at traditional, modern (e.g., genetic engineering) and emerging (e.g., agroecological) biotechnologies and sorts them on the basis of delivering food without undermining the capacity to make more food. It cuts through the endless promises made by agrochemical corporations that leverage the public and private investment in agriculture innovation. Here the case is made for the right biotechnology rather than the “one size fits all” biotechnology on offer. This book provides governments and their citizens with the sound science in plain language to articulate their case for an agriculture of their own – one that works for them.

cover photo credit: Matt Walters
site and contents copyright Jack A. Heinemann 2009