Saturday, November 21, 2009


While the global sugar market is all excited about impending large scale purchase of sugar by India which may push up the price significantly in the coming months, a turf war is going on in the US between traditional farmers of sugar beets and those opting for its GM version which may have further bearing on international sugar price. About 50% of sugar in the US is produced by the farmers who cultivate genetically modified sugar beets and the legal wrangle that is brewing may see the courts stopping use of GM seeds till a preview is completed by the government regarding safety and other issues raised by the traditional farmers.

"Organic growers have raised similar concerns about genetically engineered soy beans, corn and other crops. This time they're looking to tip the balance back. They spearheaded a lawsuit charging the USDA approved Roundup Ready sugar beets without assessing potential environmental impacts, like genetic contamination and herbicide resistance. In September, a federal judge ordered the USDA to do the environmental review. It could take years. In the meantime, the farmers and their allies are headed back to court".

It is ironical that sugar which is being blamed for all the health afflictions currently being experienced in the US should be the center of such a controversy. USA has been in the forefront in promoting GM crops with major seed companies like Monsanto enjoying monopoly in seed supplies. If India is going to buy sugar in significant volumes, it may be prudent to avoid American sugar till such time there is unanimity regarding its safety.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The wrangle is not between the beet farmers- the beet industry is much closer to 90% GM and apart from the fee that Monsanto imposes to use gm seed, i understand the growers are happy with gm seed.
The lawsuit is regarding the seed growing area where growers of other crops are concerned that their crops will be harmed by the cultivation of the gm seed
there is no difference in gm / non gm sugar