India's Rice (Potato and Wheat) Revolution

John Vidal - The Guardian
Organic Canadian potatoes. PLT photo
In a village in India's poorest state, Bihar, farmers are growing world record amounts of rice, potatoes and wheat with no GM, and no herbicide. Is this one solution to world food shortages? Details here.

PLT: These breakthroughs need to be shouted from the rooftops. Do North American farmers even know about this? Here in my home province of Manitoba, Canada, commercial potato-growers spray their crops up to 5 times a season with potent fungicides. How healthy is that? Excellent story, John!


Anonymous said…
I'm a potato grower in newbrunswick 20 years of growing and what you sad about spraying potatoes with pesticides and how they are so bad for you. Well I always say that the reason we have to spray so many time is because of all these organic freak farmers that don't use any sprays that create a breeding ground for bugs,fungus and weeds that spread to my fields that effect my income. And way would organic potatoes sell $2 a pound and mine sell for 0.08 a don't say pesticides are the big farms falt the blame is on the organic idiots that pollut my feilds so thanks
Larry said…
We've been "idiot freak farmers" ourselves. For five years, we grew certified organic potatoes on our acreage in MB. We were constantly being asked if we had potato beetles. One year, a few dozen blew in on the wind. And we picked them off by hand. Otherwise, they simply were not a problem. I believe the best solution is rotating our crops from year-to-year the way we did. So, anonymous, you have to spray each year, do you? How's that going for you? Sounds like your problem keeps coming back! Maybe you should come over from the dark side, start growing organically, charge the organic premium, cut your costs on the chemical input side and maybe even sleep better at night!
Larry said…
Dear Anon:
I've just received figures on this from ACORN, the Atlantic affiliate of Canadian Organic Growers. There were a grand total of 6 (SIX) farms growing organic potatoes in New Brunswick in 2010, on a total acreage of 17.3! Conventional potato farmers numbered 283, for a total acreage of 51,814. Perhaps you'd care to explain how a conventional industry on that scale coud possibly be threatened by the organic side, which, by my math, is outnumbered 3,000 times on the basis of acreage! I'd love to hear back from you but I'm not holding my breath!
Idiot-freak organic advocate.

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