New agricultural techniques – including genetic modification – promise a second green revolution, raising yields, reducing losses from pests and allowing crop production in the least promising of environments. Western environmentalists accuse agribusiness of imposing new products on poor farmers, forcing them to buy pesticides alongside overhyped GM crops. Palm-oil production has been widely criticised for burning rainforest in order to clear land for more plantations, threatening biodiversity. Are worried Westerners making things harder for the developing world by turning their backs on products like GM crops and palm oil?
Filmed at the Battle of Ideas, the speakers are Shahrar Ali, deputy leader of the Green Party; Leela Barrock, group head, group communications and corporate affairs, Malaysia-based multinational, Sime Darby Berhad; Marco Visscher, journalist, curator of Tegengeluid, editor-at-large of The Optimist; Dr Steve Wiggins, research fellow, Overseas Development Institute; Martin Wright, writer editor and advisor on environmental solutions and sustainable futures. The chair is Rob Lyons, science and technology director, Institute of Ideas.