No evidence GM increases yields
2.THE FACTS ON PRODUCTIVITY – US Department of Agriculture
NOTE: This letter (item 1) comes from the current edition of Farmers Weekly. The Julian Little referred to is the main spokesman for the biotech industry in the UK.
1.No evidence GM increases yields
Did anyone else spot that throughout Julian Little's talking point (It's yield that will matter from now, 9 May 2008), in which he attempted - on behalf of the GM industry - to make the case for GM crops on the basis of increased yields, he failed to provide a shred of evidence that GM crops do in fact increase yields?
This is not surprising given that the conclusion of the recent United Nations International Agriculture Assessment report, written by 400 scientists and supported by 60 countries, was that there was no evidence that GM crops increase yields. The biotech industry was so disgruntled by the report’s lack of support that it pulled out of the entire process last year, and the USA has refused to sign up to the final document for the same reasons.
No one disputes that we face huge challenges; farming must be both competitive and environmentally friendly. But GM crops have failed to deliver on both counts. Most GM crops grown are modified to be herbicide tolerant, leading to dramatic increases in the use of pesticides as more and more resistant weeds emerge. There is not a single GM drought tolerant crop on the market.
The International Agriculture Assessment made it clear that the way forward must be through localised solutions, combining scientific research with traditional knowledge in partnership with farmers and consumers. The fact that the UK does not grow GM crops is a chance for UK farmers to continue to produce the GM-free food the market demands.
Friends of the Earth
London N1 7JQ
2.THE FACTS ON PRODUCTIVITY
"currently available GM crops do not increase the yield potential... In fact, yield may even decrease if the varieties used to carry the herbicide tolerant or insect-resistant genes are not the highest yielding cultivars".
Authors:Fernandez-Cornejo, J. & Caswell
Title:Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States
Source:USDA/ERS Economic Information Bulletin No. 11, April 2006
An earlier US Department of Agriculture report also noted that GM crops do not increase yield potential and may reduce yields (p21). That report also says, "Perhaps the biggest issue raised by these results is how to explain the rapid adoption of GE crops when farm financial impacts appear to be mixed or even negative." (p24)
Authors:Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo and William D. McBride
Title:Adoption of Bioengineered Crops
Source:Agricultural Economic Report No. AER810, May 2002