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Hope Not Hype: The Future of Agriculture Guided by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development

USD 15.00 Publisher: TWN
ISBN: 978-983-2729-81-5
Year: 2009
No. of pages: 176
Size of book: 17.5cm x 25cm
Author: Jack Heinemann

About the Book

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. Both of 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.

About the Author

JACK HEINEMANN is a professor of genetics and molecular biology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand and is a senior adjunct professor of gene ecology at GenØk – Centre for Biosafety in Tromsø, Norway. Jack was previously a staff fellow at the US National Institutes of Health. He received his BSc with honours in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Oregon.

Jack received the ICAAC Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Microbiology in 1993 and was the recipient of the New Zealand Association of Scientists Research Medal in 2002. He was appointed to the UN Roster of Biosafety Experts in 2005. Jack has published broadly in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, authored invited works for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and IAASTD, and has advised various government agencies in several countries.


Abbreviations and terminology



Chapter One: Précis for policy-makers

Is biotechnology the way to improve agriculture?
Which biotechnology?
Evaluating the benefits of genetic engineering
Alternatives to modern biotechnology

Chapter Two: Setting the scene

Why agriculture is special
Genetic engineering

Chapter Three: Defining biotechnology


Chapter Four: Presence

Unintended risks to human health caused by presence
Presence is necessary and sufficient for liability

Chapter Five: Yield

GM crops not designed to increase yield
Do GM crops produce more food or revenue?

Chapter Six: Pesticides

Does genetic engineering reduce use of pesticides?
Human health and environmental risks from insecticidal crops
Human health and environmental risks from herbicide-tolerant crops

Chapter Seven: Biotechnologies for sustainable cultures

Industrial agriculture encourages a false sense of simplicity
Target: sustainability
Target: increased yield and disease resistance

Chapter Eight: Growing more food on less (intellectual) property

Gene vs. Green Revolutions
Intellectual property rights are consolidating the seed industry
Patent and patent-like protections undermine agricultural knowledge, science and technology
Patent and patent-like protections threaten long-term oversight and innovation
Biosafety vs. IPR


Appendix One: What is a GMO?

Appendix Two: The indirect benefits of genetic engineering are not sustainable

Appendix Three: Potential human health risks from Bt plants

Appendix Four: Legal remedies: Case studies 

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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 21 February, 2012.

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