As I waited at Sal and Mookies in Jackson for my pizza to take home to the family, I sat down with a soft drink and reached into bowl of nuts. … Not peanuts, but chickpeas. … It reminded me of the story I read in the most recent edition of “Time” about cotton.
While we have been writing off the South’s cash crop for the last decade, it appears scientists have been having other ideas.
According the “Time” article, ‘It’s as true in today’s world as it was in the antebellum South: cotton is king.’
Could it be?
Well, for more than 7,000 cotton has mostly been used for its fiber. Apparently, however, cotton seed is rich in protein. And protein could help feed lots of people, right?
Yup, except cotton has a chemical in it that is toxic. The toxic “gossypol” actually helps repel insects from the plant while it is growing. You remove the gossypol, you remove any chance of having cotton in the first place.
Scientists, according to this article, have found a way to remove the toxic chemical, yet preserve the insect-fighting abilities.
So, now you could have a “Cheap and an abundant form of protein for everyone.”
Great for the South, right?
Great for Mississippi right?
More cotton demand, means higher prices, which means better times for farmers, which might even mean better times for the Delta and Southwest Mississippi, right?
My only question is, did we get away from cotton too soon. Do we still have the infrastructure (cotton gins) to take on a heavy demand for cotton again.
I don’t know the answer, but as I sat at Sal and Mookies, I thought about that last paragraph of the story in time, which read, “Genetically modified cottonseeds will need government approval before they hit grocery shelves, and they’re more likely to be used first to supplement fish or animal feed. But with the global population still on the rise and farmland limited, the planet can use free protein. And you might even like it. “It’s not bad,” says (the scientist that made this cotton-seed discovery), who has popped a few seeds. “Tastes like chickpeas.”
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