Increased productivity? Monsanto's failed to introduce a single GM crop with increased yield potential. Even USDA data shows GM crops do not increase yield potential and may reduce yields.
Reduced chemical use? Over 80% of the GMOs grown worldwide have been engineered for for herbicide tolerance (to Roundup, in Monsanto's case), thus encouraging the indiscriminate use of chemicals. Unsurprisingly, the most reliable evidence suggests this has led to an increase in chemical use, particularly following the dramatic rise in Roundup-resistant weeds.
Profoundly changed global agriculture? That's certainly the case. It's helped:
*create novel risks for consumers
*massively increase corporate control over the food chain *further intensify farming - thus underming small producers while accelerating agriculture's negative impact on the environment *divert both attention and resouces from proven means of helping poor famers
But what's most revealing about this award is what it says about increasing corporate control over science, ie when the US's National Academy of Sciences justifies itself not on the basis of objective science but industry hyperbole.
National Academy Of Sciences Recognizes Monsanto's Chief Technology Officer For Development Of Agricultural Biotechnology
Monsanto press release, 24 January 2008
ST. LOUIS, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Council announced this week that Robert T. Fraley, Ph.D., chief technology officer and executive vice president for Monsanto, has been awarded the NAS Award for the Industrial Application of Science. This prize is awarded every three years for original work of intrinsic scientific importance and with significant, beneficial applications in industry -- in this case, the improvement of crops through biotechnology.
The NAS council awarded Fraley for his development of 'technologies which enabled the production of the world's first transgenic crops. These plants have increased productivity, reduced chemical use and profoundly changed global agriculture.'
'On behalf of the Monsanto team, I congratulate Robb on this tremendous recognition,' said Hugh Grant, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Monsanto.
'It was Robb's leadership that brought the first products developed through biotechnology to market in the 1990s,' Grant said. 'As a result of these efforts, literally millions of farmers around the world benefit from the use of these products including the ability to increase yield and profitability on farm while simultaneously reducing global agriculture's footprint on our environment.'
Fraley's development of the first biotechnology product, which first launched on four million acres in 1996, paved the way for a renaissance in global agriculture. Today, seven million farmers in 18 countries grow biotech crops on more than 160 million acres. The 12 products resulting from his work represent one of the most successful new agricultural technologies ever launched.
The annual growth and acceptance of these products, steady addition of new products and a pipeline of future products emerging from this technology demonstrate the ongoing, sustainable nature of agricultural biotechnology as a key agronomic tool to enhance the production of the world's major food, feed and fiber crops.
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. For more information, please visit: http://www.monsanto.com/.