It should be a free choice issue
Whether you think GMO technology is good or bad is not the issue. Free choice is. Bill 79 takes away the legal agricultural tools for our farmers and ranchers approved by the federal agencies responsible for our health and safety.
There is no clear and present danger, only fear and speculation of what might happen in the future. Meanwhile, more than 70 percent of our food contains GMO ingredients. Americans enjoy inexpensive food because of modern conventional farming practices with only 2 percent of the population farming. I’m not saying who is right. I’m only advocating everyone being able to choose for themselves.
Bill 79 picks winners and losers and divides our community. It is the wrong conversation for our island and distracts us from working together to promote food self-reliance and sustainability.
In my 30-plus year career in agriculture on Hawaii Island, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with folks on both sides of the issue. I understand the passion and fear the anti-GMO folks have about our current food supply chain. At my day job, I manage the largest papaya export business in Hawaii. In my free time, I am developing a model natural farm on my personal property to demonstrate food self-reliance and sustainability. For one month in 2011, my wife and I ate what we personally grew using Korean natural farming methods. Far from a romantic fantasy, it requires a lot time and hard work. I have tried and failed to grow a small commercial non-GMO papaya orchard, but continue to seek the knowledge and experience to someday make the happen.
Why limit the options of conventional commercial farmers to be competitive in the market place? Currently, nothing is preventing organic farmers from farming organically. We can co-exist. Let the market determine if organic, GMO or conventional is what consumers want. My guess is there is room for all.
Let consumers and farmers choose what is best for them. Defeat Bill 79.