Following are some views on GM food crops. What do you think and why?
“The Overall impact on pesticide use of just the GM crops currently available has been enormous. Reductions in pesticide use from just 8 GM crops in the US have been calculated at more than 21 million kg in the year 2001 alone. GM crops also increased yields by about 1 billion kg, saved more than $1billion in production costs, and reduced the use of tillage in agriculture. Virus-resistant papaya cultivars have saved the papaya industry on the ‘Big Island’ of Hawaii.
China has benefited more from agricultural biotech than any other country in the world, solely due to reduced insecticide use in Bt cotton.”
Rich Roush, September 2004
“Genetically modified food varieties by themselves are equally unlikely to solve the world’s food problems. In addition, virtually all GM crop production at present is of just four crops (soy-beans, corn, canola, and cotton) not eaten directly by humans but used for animal fodder, oil, or clothing, and grown in six temperate-zone countries or regions. Reasons are the strong consumer resistance to eating GM foods and the fact that companies developing GM crops can make money by selling their products to rich farmers in mostly affluent temperate-zone countries, but not by selling to poor farmers in developing tropical countries. Hence the companies have no interest in investing heavily to develop GM cassava, millet, or sorghum for farmers in developing nations.”
Jared Diamond, 6th January 2005 in http://www.truthout.org/docs_05/010805G.shtml
“GM crops at their heart are about corporate profits and this is the main objection that NGO organization have with them. They do not want people tied to corporations for their basic food. Witness the farmers in the US that are being prosecuted for saving seed. Also the results of cross-breeding with non-GM crops has not been fully tested and it is almost impossible to predict all the implications. Finally there is no way to stop bees from pollinating non-GM crops with GM crops’ pollen or stop birds eating GM seed and dropping it elsewhere. There have been cases of farmers being prosecuted for illegally growing patented crops that have drifted in from GM crops on the next farm.”
Ender, 27th May 2005 this blog
“GM crops may lead to corporate profits but then so do cardiovascular solutions, greenhouse management strategies,war and so on. What really needs to be said about GM crops is that they have become the sacraficial lamb for a raft of disgruntled, discontented minorities around the western world. It might be globalisation, green politics or organic farming that these people are so passionate about but their line in the sand as it were has become GM crops. Yet scientific discoveries (like the unravelling of DNA) will continue to forge new ways mankind to live smarter, healthier and more comfortable lives. And this is where leaders must recognise, pandering to a form of populism that fosters a distrust of expertise in technical issues is tantamount to leading or relying on ignorance.”
Chris Kelly, 30th May 2005 this blog
“GM food crops could be good, but they could also be bad. I’m torn. In a way I find it sad that we would need to come up with genetically modified crops to solve hunger issues around the world, I also think its good that science can solve difficult problems. I see GM foods as a high tech offering. As a means to solve problems, I wonder if there could be “better” solutions than GM foods to hunger issues, such as better land management, better understanding of climate, reduced social strife and better living standards in poorer countries. I put “better” in inverted commas because I know it is a subjective word, and can appreciate that other people will have a different idea of “better” to me.
I think that companies that push GM are doing so primarily for profit rather than helping to reduce hunger, which makes me skeptical of the benefits as companies report them (which isn’t to say that GM foods couldn’t reduce hunger). I don’t like the term ‘franken foods’ and find I have to filter through much of what I read in the papers on this issue because it is too polarised and emotional. I am similarly sceptical of many environment group claims on the issue. I don’t have a strong POSITION on this issue.”
Steve, 31st May 2005, this blog
“I have no ethical problems with GM foods. I suspect that both their present advantages and health risks have been massively overhyped.”
Ken Miles, 5th June 2005, this blog
What do you think?