Family farming

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Professor Tony Trewavas (Letters, 22 March) has made a rather offensive attack on May East in his criticism of her recent article in Friends of the Scotsman section.

Not only does Prof Trewavas refer to her positive comments about organic agriculture as “backward views”, but he also fails to acknowledge that the source of her appeal to return to sustainable, natural systems is a recent report from the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development, and is not simply a personal, nostalgic gesture. 

As Ms East stated, the UN is calling for a return to more sustainable farming methods, precisely because it is the millions of small-scale farmers in the poorer areas of the globe who are providing food for local communities, not huge corporate businesses, which are claiming vast areas of land on which to grow mono-cultural crops, such as sugar cane, to produce ethanol to feed our cars.

It is, therefore, disingenuous of Prof Trewavas to claim that GM technology, or any future plant science technology, will solve the food supply problem of a rapidly rising global population who will be competing for land on which to live, grow crops and raise livestock.

Prof Trewavas’s unsubstantiated, emotive claim that the promotion of family farming would “result in half the world starving to death within a year” cannot be taken seriously.

Carolyn Taylor

Gagiebank, Wellbank,

Broughty Ferry, Dundee