Money cant buy friends, said the British humorist Spike Milligan, but it can get you a better class of enemy.

Perhaps we need a corollary to this rule: The poor attract a lot of low-class foes.

Or so it would seem, after reading last weeks commentary in the Des Moines Register by Eric Holt-Gimenez, a California propagandist.

The Green Revolution failed Africa, he claims. And its failures have been extensively documented.

Say what?

The Green Revolution, sparked in the 1960s by Norman Borlaug, is responsible for massive increases in food production around the world. Improvements in irrigation, fertilizer, equipment, and seed quality made it possible. Millions of people who are alive today owe their very existence to the Green Revolution.

And that may be a conservative estimate. I like what the comedian Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) once said of Borlaug: When he won the Nobel Prize in 1970, they said he had saved a billion people. Thats BILLION! BUH! Thats Carl Sagan BILLION with a B! … Norman is the greatest human being, and you probably never heard of him.

It appears as though Holt-Gimenez and his Institute for Food and Development Policy, based in Oakland, dont know much about Borlaug. How else could they dismiss the Green Revolution as if it were a burned and unwanted side dish at a Thanksgiving feast?

Perhaps we should pause, for just a moment, to recognizeand give thanksfor the abundance we enjoy here in the United States. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner remains eminently affordable, according to the American Farm Bureau Federations annual survey. A meal consisting of turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and so on for 10 people should cost $38.10. Thats a slight increase over last year, but still a pretty good deal. On an inflation-adjusted basis, the price of that Thanksgiving feast has declined by about one-third since 1986.

The fundamental reason for this is that weve become incredibly efficient at food production. It costs us less money to produce more food than ever before.

This is a testimony not only to the hard work of American farmers, but also their access to and effective application of new technologies. Agriculture is completely different from what it was a generation ago, to say nothing of the even greater differences since farmers traded in their horses and plows for tractors and combines.

Most Americans dont appreciate this as much as they might because their lives are far removed from the process of food production. But they benefit from it enormously. Throughout most of human history, people couldnt take food for grantedcertainly not the way that we can, as we consume our umpteenth meal of reheated turkey and stuffing this weekend.

दुर्भाग्य से, the same cant be said for people in developing countries. Malnutrition remains a significant problem. Famine continues to take its toll. Africa bears much of the burden.

Many of its problems arent, in their fundamentals, even about food: Theyre about broken political systems that cant bring peace and the rule of law to their citizens. Without these building blocks of civil society, tasks that ought to be simplesuch as feeding childrencan become incredible challenges. Sadly, they can even begin to cancel out the many benefits of the Green Revolution. That may be the fault of revolutionaries, but not Green Revolutionaries.

Holt-Gimenez accuses the Green Revolutions modern-day heirsthe folks behind the World Food Prize, the Gates Foundation, seed companies, और इसी तरह–of promoting GM foods as a magic bullet for global hunger. This is complete nonsense. We advocates of genetically-enhanced crops, starting with Borlaug, are scrupulously careful about our rhetoric. Biotechnology is no panacea, but it is one of many tools that hold great promise for the production of food in the 21st century.

As more countries support this access to technology, theyll give thanks in the future not only to Borlaug and the other fathers of the Green Revolution, but the researchers, philanthropists, farmers and companies that are making possible the Gene Revolution.

डीन Kleckner, an Iowa farmer, chairs Truth About Trade and Technology (www.truthabouttrade.org)