GM crops industry has stalled (28/1/2005)

some v. useful points and statistics


GeneEthics today refuted claims by the industry-backed International Service for the Acquisition of Agro-biotechnology Applications (ISAAA) that the global area of genetically manipulated (GM) crops increased rapidly from 2003 to 2004. Their latest annual review published today shows the GM crop industry remains stalled.

"GM crops are only 1.4% of global agricultural area and are not taking the world by storm," GeneEthics Network Director, Bob Phelps says.

"GM crops are also less productive than the best conventional varieties and cannot feed the world as industry constantly claims," he says.

"The ISAAA's own figures show commercial GM crops are not a global industry, as 98% of GM crops are grown in just six countries - USA 59%; Argentina 20%; Canada 6%; Brazil 6%, China 5%, and Paraguay 2%. 93% is in the Americas," he says.

"The GM industry's crop product range has also stalled, with only four broadacre commercial crops - soy, corn, canola and cotton," he says.

"And these GM crop plants have only two commercial traits - tolerance to being oversprayed with toxic weedicides, and producing insecticide toxins," he says.

"Both traits add more chemicals to our environment and foods," Mr Phelps says.

"The ISAAA report offers no evidence that the GM industry can keep its promises of more nutritious foods, longer shelf life products, drought and salt tolerant crops," he says.

"Other crops with new traits being field tested in many places are at least ten years away from commercial reality, and most will fail," he says.

"Over ninety percent of all commercial GM crops are monopoly owned and controlled by Monsanto, which is heavily backed by the US government at home and abroad, with subsidies and sweetheart policies," he says.

"Despite this, North American farming organisations rejected GM wheat last year and Monsanto cancelled its GM wheat research," he says.

"Farmers' grim experiences of lower yields and profits, and lost markets, are a better guide to the bleak future of GM crops than ISAAA's fantasy
trip," he says.

"Shoppers, farmers and food processors will ensure that genetically manipulated crops go nowhere fast," Mr Phelps concludes.


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