GM Crops Fail to Deliver on Promises After 20 Years
Greenpeace has released a new report reviewing evidence of GM environmental risks, market failures, and increased pesticide use for the past 20 years. It says, "Two decades on, the promises are getting bigger and bigger, but GM crops are not delivering any of them." Around 85% of GM crops are cultivated in just four countries in the Americas (US, Brazil, Argentina and Canada), representing only 3% of global agricultural land.
The report effectively debunks seven myths about GM crops showing that: (1) GM crops are not feeding the world, do not increase yields, can negatively affect the livelihoods of small-scale farmers, and reinforce the industrial agriculture model that has failed to feed the world so far; (2) genetic engineering lags behind conventional breeding in developing plant varieties that can help agriculture cope with climate change; (3) long-term environmental and health monitoring programmes on GM crops either do not exist or are inadequate; (4) GM crops increase pesticide use and herbicide-resistant weeds and super-pests have emerged in response to herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant GM crops, requiring additional pesticide use; (5) GM seed prices are protected by patents and their prices have soared over the last 20 years; (6) GM crops can contaminate non-GM crops; and (7) GM crops are not only an ineffective type of innovation but they also restrict innovation due to intellectual property rights owned by a handful of corporations.
The report also stresses that there is no scientific consensus about the safety of GM crops. The paper puts forward ecological farming practices as a proven and sustainable solution to the challenges facing farming and food security. For instance, Western European countries have achieved higher average maize yields per hectare than the GM maize systems in the US and also outperformed GM rapeseed yields in Canada.