The Washington Post is not known for publishing articles describing the benefits of pesticide use. However, in a recent article about the development of a biotech potato in Ireland, a Post reporter described the current use of fungicides to control the late blight fungus. In the 1840s the Irish peasant population depended almost entirely on the potato for their diets. The late blight fungus destroyed the Irish potato crop in 1845 and 1846 and a million people died. Today, the fungus is well-controlled with regular fungicide spraying, a point made by the Post reporter…..
“The disease has become even more damaging in the past five years with the arrival of new, highly aggressive strains. Unchecked, blight can destroy entire crops in just days.
From the end of May until harvest, farmers spray fungicides every seven to 14 days, depending on the weather.
Without the sprays, the potato fields of Ireland would echo the destruction that began in 1845, when the blight took hold in Flanders and moved like wildfire to the British Isles.
More than a million died of starvation and disease, and as many as another 2 million fled to Britain, North America and other lands.”
Author: Adrian Higgins
Title: Modified tuber is no small potato in Ireland
Source: The Washington Post, March 17th 2013