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The Global Politics of FoodEngineering Crops in a Needy World
STORY : Engineering Crops in a Needy World
By John Biewen

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In a park in Bangalore, at an event organized by anti-GM activists, farmer Venkat Reddy sits in a blue plastic chair and answers questions from a French journalist. He tells his story again—how, pressed into debt by a failed crop, he considered suicide but instead made what he thought was the more responsible decision: he sold his kidney to pay the moneylenders. The cruel irony is that the surgery left Reddy so sick that he guesses he'll be dead in a couple of years anyway. His back aches. He feels weak. His digestive system is failing, he says.

So now India cautiously considers whether to let farmers plant genetically modified seeds. In a country where desperate farmers kill themselves or sell their internal organs, and where millions of children donít get enough to eat, maybe the question is, which would be more costly—indeed, more careless: opening the door to the new high-tech seeds, or rejecting them?

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