GMO Crop Catastrophe in USA a lesson for EU

Linked with Frederick William Engdahl – Germany and USA. – Published on, by F. William Engdahl, August 22, 2010.

As the European Union moves closer to approving the cultivation of GMOs despite stiff widespread opposition, it ought to be paying urgent attention to the agricultural arms race unfolding in the United States. The gospel of high-tech genetically modified (GM) crops is no longer sounding quite so sweet.

Roundup-resistant “superweeds” are plaguing Monsanto crops across southern US states, driving farmers to use more herbicides, abandon their farms or … return to conventional crops  … // 

… US Farmers Turn to Organics:

Farmers across the United States are reported to be going back to conventional non-GMO crops instead. According to a new report from the US Department of Agriculture, retail sales of organic food went up to $21.1 billion in 2008 from $3.6 billion in 1997. [3] The market is so active that organic farms have struggled at times to produce sufficient supply to keep up with the rapid growth in consumer demand, leading to periodic shortages of organic products.

The new UK Conservative-Liberal coalition government is strongly backing lifting a de facto ban on GMO in that country. UK Chief Scientific Adviser, Prof. John Beddington, recently wrote an article in which he misleadingly claimed ” The next decade will see the development of combinations of desirable traits and the introduction of new traits such as drought tolerance. By mid-century much more radical options involving highly polygenic traits may be feasible.” He went on to promise “cloned animals with engineered innate immunity to diseases” and more. I think we can pass that one up, thank you.

A recent study by Iowa State University and the US Department of Agriculture assessing the performance of farms during the three-year transition it takes to switch from conventional to certified organic production showed notable advantages of organic farming over GMO or even conventional non-GMO crops. In an experiment lasting four years – three years transition and first year organic – the study showed that although yields dropped initially, they equalized in the third year, and by the fourth year, the organic yields were ahead of the conventional for both soybean and corn.

As well, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) has recently been published, the result of three-year deliberation by 400 participating scientists and non-government representatives from 110 countries around the world. It came to the conclusion that small scale organic agriculture is the way ahead for coping with hunger, social inequities and environmental disasters. [4] As Dr Ho argues, a fundamental shift in farming practice is needed urgently, before the agricultural catastrophe spreads further across Germany and the EU to the rest of the world [5]. (full text and Notes 1 to 5).

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