Fake farmers at it again?
2.Harrington at it again
3.Biotech industry faking it in Europe
NOTE: Last month Jonathon Harrington, the biotech-industry backed CropGen lobbyist, was challeneged by journalist Steve Dube as to whether he was a "farmer or faker" over his claims to have planted GM maize on his Welsh "farm".
Now it seems more fake farmers are popping up - this time in Australia (see item 1).
Previously, of course, the biotech industry's given us fake farmers in India claiming great benefits from growing GM cotton and urging others to do the same.
And in South Africa they even stage-managed a fake "farmers' march" in support of GM crops.
Meanwhile, Harrington - despite having failed to repsond to Steve Dube's challenge, continues to promote himself as a "farmer" - most recently on the BBC's Farming Today letters page (item 2).
Here Harrington also claims that, "The truth is that the use of GM crop technology is increasing in Europe". But an excerpt from the Farming Today programme (item 3) shows how untrue that claim is - there has been a year on year decrease in the planting of GM crops in Europe, possibly by as much as 35% over the past few years.
So whether he's a farmer or a faker, Harrington's claims seem to be just as bogus as ISAAA's dodgy figures (item 3).
1.Farmer or faker
I think 'farmer' Jonathan Harrington may have a long lost cousin living here in Western Australia. For several years we have had a guy parading as an 'agricultural consultant' and delivering the ususal pro GM spiel to farmers' groups and agricultural colleges. He wrote the GM policy for the shadow state government and he visited Canadian farmers, and spread the good news on GM. Just about a year ago he bought a piece of (far north and pretty poor by all accounts) and called himself a farmer. Since then our anti GM state government has been replaced by the pro GM mob and this guy has suddenly revealed that he is, in fact, the General Manager of a Biotech company, and owns GM wheat patents!
2.Jonathon Harrington. Mid Wales
Farming Today webpage, February 14 2009 3:30 PM
Re; Anne Palmers comments on GM crops and others on subsidies: The truth is that the use of GM crop technology is increasing in Europe but more particularly in the world as a whole. At present only one crop, forage maize has been approved to be grown in The EU and I am threatened with prosecution for growing varieties that have this approval. Like many farmers I want to have access to a technology that could help me to use less pesticides, increase my yields and in time maybe reduce my dependence on the taxpayers generosity.
3.Farming Today, 13 January 2009
Presenter: In Europe where 7 countries are growing a GM maize on a commercial basis ISAAA [International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications] claim a 21% increase. Campaigners say that figure is wrong as it doesn't include France which banned the crop last year.
We brought together Kathana Chandrasekeran from Friends of the Earth and Dr Julian Little chairman of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council [biotech industry front group] and I started by asking Dr Little if those figures were misleading.
JL: The way that the ISAAA have taken those figures you're right doesn't include France, but the rest of Europe has more than made up for it.
Presenter: Kathana Chandrasekeran from Friends of the Earth, how much difference does taking France out of the figure make to it?
KC: Well, you can see what difference it makes because if you actually look at the correct figures there has been a 2% decrease in the actual land planted to GM since last year. And you can only show an increase, as they have done, by not taking into account France, which is one of the biggest agricultural countries in Europe. The other thing is that when you actually look at the figures for what is actually happening in GM for the last 4 or 5 years there has been a steady decrease year on year to a maximum of 35%.
Presenter: Are you talking there about Europe?
KC: The whole of Europe in fact. So it's not true at all to say that the rest of Europe has made up for it...
KC:... because even if you take all European countries into account there has been a year on year decrease in the planting of GM crops.
JL: No, that's clearly not the case and er you can ask anybody in Spain for example where GM crops are being grown and there's been a steady increase. Spain is by far the biggest country in Europe actually growing GM maize... [GMW: research shows that the cultivation of GM maize in Spain has caused a drastic reduction in the cultivation of organic maize, making their coexistence practically impossible]
KC: I'm talking about the whole of [Europe]... Spain is the only country that has a significant planting of GM. There's only one GM crop that is planted and that is maize...
JL: That's right...
KC:...and the rest of the countries, if you look at Europe as a whole, calculating the actual land area, it has gone down.
JL: Let's look at the reality then, it's not really very surprising that Europe only grows a tiny amount of GM crops and that is because there has only ever been one crop available to them for the last 10 years so essentially unless you have got European corn borer as a big problem in your area for maize, then you don't have any use at all for this particular GM crop...
JL: ...So it's not really very surprising that there isn't too much around