06.05.2021 |

Why China and the US Joined Forces to Fight the Fall Armyworm

China and the United States have found common cause in exerting influence at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Global food production could be permanently changed.


During that visit, Chinese and US officials negotiated what appears to be a gentleman’s agreement that would allow the two countries to work together in FAO. That understanding appears to have been built on a common economic interest of the two countries, namely the continued expansion of commercial technologies in animal and crop health, including pesticides and pest-resistant genetically modified (GM) crops, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia—regions adversely affected by the fall armyworm but in which the application of these technologies is still relatively low. In other words, areas that represent large potential markets for agricultural technologies.

The mainly Western corporations producing these technologies, with robust support from the US Agency for International Development, have long lobbied to move commercial agricultural practices such as pesticides and GM crops into Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the developing world now alarmed by the arrival of the fall armyworm. At the same time, there are clear signals that China intends to compete against the West, with hopes to dominate those markets.

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