miércoles, marzo 11, 2009

Do GM Crops Increase Yield? The answer is No

Devinder Sharma

Ground Reality, March 10 2009

Lies, damn lies and the Monsanto site.

Tell a lie a hundred times, and the chances are that it would appear to be a truth. Monsanto makes that effort, probably for the umpteenth number of time. And the chances are that you too could be duped to accept these distortions as truth.

My attention has been drawn to an article "Do GM crops increase yield?" on Monsanto's web page. I must confess this is first time I am visiting Monsanto's site. This is what it says: Recently, there have been a number of claims from anti-biotechnology activists that genetically-modified (GM) crops don't increase yields. Some have claimed that GM crops actually have lower yields than non-GM crops.

Both claims are simply false.

And then, it goes on to explain what germplasm is, what is breeding, biotechnology, and finally comes to yield. This is what it says:

The introduction of GM traits through biotechnology has led to increased yields independent of breeding. Take for example statistics cited by PG Economics, which annually tallies the benefits of GM crops, taking data from numerous studies around the world:

Mexico - yield increases with herbicide tolerant soybean of 9 percent.

Romania - yield increases with herbicide tolerant soybeans have averaged 31 percent.

Philippines - average yield increase of 15 percent with herbicide tolerant corn.

Philippines - average yield increase of 24 percent with insect resistant corn.

Hawaii - virus resistant papaya has increased yields by an average of 40 percent.

India - insect resistant cotton has led to yield increases on average more than 50 percent.

This is not amusing. It can't be taken lightly anymore. I am not only shocked but also disgusted at the way corporations try to fabricate and swing the facts, dress them up in a manner that the so-called 'educated' of today will accept them without asking any question.

At the outset, Monsanto's claims are simply flawed. I have seen similar conclusions, at least about Bt cotton yields in India, in an IFPRI study. But then, I have always been saying that IFPRI is one organisation that needs to be shut down. It has done more damage to developing country agriculture and food security than any other academic institution.

Nevertheless, let us first look at Monsanto's claims.

The increases in crop yields that it has shown in Mexico, Romania, the Philippines, Hawaii and India are actually not yield increases. In scientific terms, these are called crop losses, which have been very cleverly repacked as yield increases. What Monsanto has done is to indulge in a jugglery of scientific terminologies, and taking advantage of your ignorance, to build up on claims that actually do not exist.

As per Monsanto's article: The most common traits in GM crops are herbicide tolerance (HT) and insect resistance (IR). HT plants contain genetic material from common soil bacteria. IR crops contain genetic material from a bacterium that attacks certain insects.

This is true. And still more, herbicide tolerant plants and insect resistant plants in a way perform the same function that chemical pesticides do. Both the GM plants and the chemical pesticides reduce crop losses. Come to think of it. Doesn't the GM plants work more or less like a bio-pesticide? The insect feeds on the plant carrying the toxin, and dies. Spraying the chemical pesticide also does the same.

In the case of herbicide tolerant plants, it is much worse. Biotech companies have successfully dove-tailed the trait for herbicide tolerance in the plant to ensure that those who buy the GM seeds have no other option but to also buy the companies own brand of herbicide. Killing two birds with one stone, you would say. Exactly.

READ THE REST: http://www.biosafety-info.net/article.php?aid=576

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