Fairy tales about GM crops
Here's the latest:
"The United States is uniquely positioned both scientifically and politically to apply agricultural biotechnology as a tool in building global food security. As we have seen with corn and cotton already, biotech crops that are resistant to pest and disease can boost productivity in developing countries."
Speaker:Henrietta H. Fore, Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and Administrator, USAID
Title:U.S. Response to the Global Food Crisis: New Approaches
Source:Testimony before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, May 14 2008
So where is there a single GM corn or cotton crop that is resistant to disease??????
USAID is far from alone, of course, in claiming that GM crops are a magical solution to the current food crisis.
Here are just a few of the many other recent examples of the fairy tales being peddled.
"The longer we deny ourselves this technological way to increase food output and reduce the use of fertiliser, the longer the current imbalance between food supply and demand will last."
Author:Bill Emmott, former editor of The Economist
Title:GM crops can save us from food shortages
Source:The Telegraph, 17 April 2008
"It is Africa which could benefit most from GM technology, especially from newly-developed strains of drought-resistant crops."
Author:Dominic Lawson, former editor of The Telegraph
Title:Feed the world? Tear down trade barriers and let GM crops flourish across the globe
Source:The Independent, 18 April 2008
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/dominic-lawson/dominic-lawson- feed-the-world-tear-down-trade-barriers-and-let-gm-crops-flourish-across-the-glo be-811176.html
"Biotechnology and crops developed through biotechnolgy really have done wonderful things in terms of crop yield, drought resistance and insect resistance."
Speaker:The Bush Administration's Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs, Dan Price
Occasion:Press briefing on food aid
Source:The White House, 2 May 2008
"...in spite of studies conducted over the past few years, both at the whole plant level and using transgenic plants, understanding the mechanisms involved in nitrogen remobilization during leaf senescence and remobilization is still at a preliminary stage and requires more research."
Author:Ashok K. Shrawat and Allen G. Good
Title:Genetic Engineering Approaches to Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency
Source:ISB News, May 2008
"Neither Monsanto nor Bayer LifeSciences was willing to provide any documentation to support their claims to drought-resistant crop strains."
Title:GM crops: Biotech agriculture - Time to take GM seriously
Source:Ethical Corporation, 7 February 2008
"Biotechnologists have reasons for exaggerating their abilities to manipulate plants. If 'biotechnology' is to contribute tolerant crops, these crops may still be decades from commercial availability. The generation of drought tolerant crops is likely to have a similar period of development."
Contributor:Tim Flowers, Professor of Plant Physiology, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex
Conference:Can agricultural biotechnology be pro-poor?Examining the politics of policy in the developing world
Source:Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, 1-2 October 2003
US bio-engineers working to develop drought-resistant seeds say Kenyans should not expect to benefit from such "miracle crops" for at least eight to 10 years. Those currently starving in parts of the country and those likely to suffer hunger if drought conditions persist will have to look to emergency food aid rather than to agricultural self-sufficiency, the scientists say. Maize and other biotech crops able to thrive despite scant rainfall will not be planted in the United States until about 2010, says Christopher Horner, a spokesman for Monsanto, one of the world's leading developers of genetically modified seeds. Such crops "will be introduced initially in the United States well before they become available in other countries," Mr Horner adds.
Author:Kevin J. Kelley
Title:Drought-resistant GM seeds won't benefit Kenyans for the next decade
Source:The Nation (Kenya), 31 January 2006
"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