GM or GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) crops now account for 9 percent of total land used for primary crops around the world.
According to the WorldWatch Institute, the vast majority of GM crops are soybean, corn, cotton and canola. Twenty-three countries were growing GM crops in 2007, with the leader being the USA which accounts for half of the GM crop area globally.
Australia was one of the countries to join the growing list of nations giving in to the GMO machine this year with the introduction of GM canola crops in New South Wales and Victoria.
One of the attributes of GM crops touted by Big Agriculture is their tolerance to herbicide and pesticides. Given this resistance, it’s seen an increase in pesticide use of 4%; likely due to farmers needing to take less care of how pesticides and herbicides are applied – they can just spray indiscriminately and it won’t harm the crop.
Overuse and poor use of herbicides can lead to resistance in weeds. According to the Institute, the number of “super weeds” has been increasing since GM crops gained popularity – a total of 15 species – up from 2 in the 1990s.
Far from being humanity’s savior; GM crops have been linked to many problems. Increased yields and nutritional value haven’t materialized, in fact a 5 to 10 percent yield drag has been noted in GM soybeans. The failure of GM cotton has been linked to many suicides among poor farmers in India. Contamination of organic and other non-GM crops continues to haunt farmers who are resisting the shift to GMO.
A report by over 400 scientists published earlier this year expresses serious concerns about the role of GM crops in attaining food security and recommends more-effective alternatives and solutions.
Yep, 2008 was a great year for GMO – well, for companies like Monsanto, which controls 23 percent of the global proprietary seed market it was anyway.
Thinking of planting a veggie garden? Consider heirloom and heritage seeds instead of frankenseed.