Agriculture is no stranger to technology but new technologies rarely receive an enthusiastic welcome, particularly when they relate to emotive issues such as animals and food. Throughout history, people have used and adapted to both the positive and negative aspects of new technologies.
Initially there were over one hundred reasons given by opponents as to why a simple heat treatment process being developed to make food products safer was an unacceptable technology. Without the ability to pasteurise milk, consider where the New Zealand dairy industry would be today!!
Looking back in history, we see the great impact of a number of pivotal events. The internal combustion engine brought on the industrial revolution. New chemical entities broadened our manufacturing capabilities. Information technology has accelerated the creation of our knowledge base. But not all of the impacts of these have been positive.
Albert Einstein said “The significant problems we face today can not be solved at the same level of thinking that we were at when we created them”.
Biotechnology itself is not new but for many farmers it is a new way of thinking. Biotechnology is providing us with the ability to solve some of our more challenging problems. Problems in health and medicine, issues of food security and most importantly to farmers, new options for sustainable agricultural development.
The industrial, chemical and information revolutions are our history. The biotechnology revolution offers us options for a healthy farming future.