A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists on the value of GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) crops is the first to evaluate in detail the overall yield effect of these crops after more than 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization in the United States.
Based on all the information that’s been gathered during that time, the report concludes that these frankencrops have done little to increase overall crop yields.
While Big Agriculture has touted that GMO crops will save the world, the report says they are largely failing to do so. GE (Genetically Engineered) soybeans have not increased yields, and GE corn has only marginally increased yields. While corn and soybean yields have risen substantially over the last 15 years overall; that hasn’t been the result of GE traits, but due to traditional selective breeding or improvement of other agricultural practices.
The report says that organic and other methods that use reduced amounts of fertilizer and pesticides compared to typical industrial crop production generally produce yields comparable to those of conventional methods for growing corn or soybeans.
Non-transgenic soybeans in recent low-external-input experiments produced yields 13 percent higher than for GE soybeans.
So why does Big Agriculture continue to push the GMO envelope if this is the case? It’s all about control – these companies through their tinkering own the species they create – they are patented.
These frankencrops can then infect traditional crops (that they don’t own). When this happens, they in effect own that crop too. That is beyond frightening and if you think this view is rather paranoid, there are documented cases of this “infection” happening and then the farmer (who is the victim) is then sued for infringing on the company’s patent.
I mentioned a short while ago about the situation regarding our vanishing food crops. Companies pushing GE crops want to see this happen. Control the food, control the world. All the environmental issues aside, this alone is a good enough reason to ban GMO crops.
While that’s not likely to happen, we can do our bit to preserve traditional food crops by planting gardens with heritage and heirloom seeds.
You can read the entire Union of Concerned Scientists report “Failure To Yield” here (PDF).