Saturday, April 9, 2011


That the GM food lobby will go to any extent to expand its influence is well known but its latest claim that GM technology can only increase the crop yield is a little far fetched. So far no scientific evidence had surfaced to prove that a GM variant of a particular agricultural crop can increase the yield though reducing damage to the crop from pests and insects may effectively give more yield in some crops. In other words the loss of food through GM crops can be reduced just like the use of chemical protectants which are considered environmentally toxic and hazardous. But there are other options like use of environment friendly natural crop protectants which have established their credentials through the explosive growth of organic crop industry all over the world. The following report is an interesting expose about GM crop technology and if this is to be believed all countries must follow the US which allows more than 30 GM food varieties and make their future secure from food scarcity!

"GM crops are being grown on over 1 billion hectares worldwide thanks in part to their higher yields. This news arrives immediately after the G20 meeting, where food security was high on the agenda. Moreover, high-level reports such as the recentForesight report on The Future of Food and Farming, have shown that agriculture will need to produce far more food in the coming years. European farmers could contribute even more to the fight against food insecurity if they had access to all the options that exist for farmers elsewhere. The latest figures on GM crop cultivation underline the commitment of farmers worldwide to employ technological breakthroughs to meet the world's need for food, while also decreasing carbon emissions, saving water, and gaining economic benefits. According to the latest report by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) in 2010, 15.4 million farmers planted over 148 million hectares of biotech crops in 29 countries, up by 10 % from 2009, when there were 14 million farmers and 134 million hectares. In Europe, the number of countries cultivating GM crops increased from 6 in 2009 to 8 in 2010, thanks to the authorization of a GM potato that is cultivated for industrial use by farmers in Sweden, Germany and Czech Republic. The number of hectares of the only other authorized GM crop in Europe, an insect-resistant GM maize, decreased slightly in Europe from 94,750 hectares in 2009 to 91,643 hectares, because of lower overall maize plantings. Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, EuropaBio's Director for Agricultural Biotechnology asserted, "The figures released today are excellent news for farmers and consumers worldwide. And yet, European farmers are only allowed to grow two GM crops, while farmers in the Americas are allowed to grow 30+ GM crops. This is a sad and unfair situation for European farmers."

It is a sad reflection that a supposedly democratic country like the US does not give its citizens the right to decide what food they eat by making no distinction between natural and GM crops in the food labels, though in majority of the cases environmental impact and safety to humans have never been established. The US consumer is some what lucky that they have an active judiciary which is responsive to consumer concerns by intervening by preventing unlimited cultivation of GM sugar beets and Alfa Alfa! The recent efforts by the GM technology giant Monsanto to make a back door entry to India through its GM Brinjal is too fresh in the memory of many concerned people and thanks to the eternal vigilance amongst a few consumer activist organizations, it is unlikely that GM crop cultivation will ever be on a viable scale in this country.


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