new report shows that planting genetically modified (GM) crops is causing an increased use of harmful pesticides in major biotech crop producing countries.
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Old Codger
2008-02-15 12:08:48 UTC
by Niccolo Sarno — last modified 2008-02-07 17:07

A new report shows that planting genetically modified (GM) crops is
causing an increased use of harmful pesticides in major biotech crop
producing countries.


Friends of the Earth International


In 2007 GM crops still failed to tackle hunger and poverty in
developing countries

February 13, 2008 – A new report released on February 13th shows that
planting genetically modified (GM) crops is causing an increased use
of harmful pesticides in major biotech crop producing countries. [1]

The 2008 edition of the Friends of the Earth International “Who
Benefits from GM crops?” report series is titled “The Rise in
Pesticide Use” and concludes that GM crops on the market today have on
the whole caused an increase rather than a decrease in toxic
pesticides use, and have failed to tackle hunger and poverty. [2]

After more than a decade of GM crop cultivation, more than 70% of the
area cultivated with biotech crops is still concentrated in only two
countries: the US and Argentina. To date, GM crops have done nothing
to alleviate hunger or poverty in Africa or elsewhere.

“The biotech industry is telling Africans that we need GM crops to
tackle the food needs of our population. But how can we believe such
statements when the majority of GM crops are used to feed the animals
of rich countries, produce industrial products like agrofuels, and
overall don’t yield more than conventional crops?”, said Nnimmo Bassey
of Friends of the Earth Nigeria/ERA.

“GM crops still fail to deliver the long-promised benefits. They are
not good for the environment, as they are increasing pesticide use. In
addition, they do not benefit small farmers or consumers in terms of
quality or price,” added Bassey.

The new report launch coincides with the annual release of the “Global
Status of Commercialized Biotech” report of the industry-sponsored
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications
(ISAAA) which promotes GM crops as beneficial for the environment and
a key solution to hunger and poverty.

The GM crops industry continues to misleadingly claim that GM crops
reduce pesticide use and play a role in tackling poverty and hunger.
The main conclusions of the 2008 report “The Rise in Pesticide Use”
include :

1) GM crops are not ‘green’. The adoption of Roundup Ready (RR) crops,
the most extensively grown GM crop today, has led to an increase in
pesticide use:

- In the United States, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) shows that RR crops drove a more than 15-fold increase in the
use of glyphosate –the herbicide associated with RR crops- on major
field crops from 1994 to 2005. In 2006, the last year for which data
is available, glyphosate use on soybeans jumped a substantial 28%. The
intensity of glyphosate use has also risen dramatically. From 1994 to
2006, the amount of glyphosate applied per acre of soya rose by more
than 150%.

The increase in glyphosate herbicide is no longer displacing other
herbicides in the US. From 2002 to 2006 the use of 2,4-D –one of the
most widely used herbicide in the world- on soybeans more than
doubled, and the use of atrazine (an herbicide banned in Europe due to
links to health problems) on corn increased by 12 per cent from 2002
to 2005.

- In major RR soybean producer countries, like Brazil and Argentina,
glyphosate use and weed resistance have risen. A 2007 study by a
Brazilian governmental agency shows that the use of glyphosate
increased 79,6% between 2000 to 2005, much faster than the expansion
in area planted with RR soya. In 2007 a glyphosate-resistant weed
called Johnson Grass infested over 120,000 ha in Argentina. An
estimated 25 million litres of herbicides other than glyphosate will
be needed, resulting in increasing production costs of between $160 to
950 million per year. In India, a 2007 study from Andhra University
concluded that Bt cotton uses the same amount of pesticides as
conventional cotton.

2) GM crops do not tackle hunger or poverty. Most GM crops
commercialized so far are destined for animal feed, not for food, and
none have been introduced to address hunger and poverty issues. GM
crops are not providing help to small farmers in developing countries.
In South Africa, for example since the adoption of Bt cotton, the
number of small cotton farmers have plummeted from 3229 in 2001/02 to
just 853 in 2006/07.

3) Overall, current GM crops do not yield more than other existing
crop varieties:

- RR Soybeans, the most widely planted GM crop in the world, does not
have a higher yield performance than conventional soya. On the
contrary, many studies show that RR soya has on average 5-10% lower
yield than equivalent conventional varieties.

- Bt cotton does not have higher yields than conventional cotton. In
most countries where Bt cotton was adopted -such as the U.S.,
Argentina, Colombia, and Australia – overall cotton yields remained
constant . In other countries, like India and China, the yield
increase is mainly due to weather conditions and other production
factors not related to GM technology. For example Xinjiang, the
Chinese province with the highest cotton production and the highest
average yield in China, grows mostly conventional cotton, not Bt



Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth Nigeria,

Tel: +234 8037274395 (mobile) or +234 52602680 (office)


Nizam Mahshar, Friends of the Earth Malaysia, Tel: +60 194777755


Helen Holder, Friends of the Earth Europe in Brussels:

+32 474 857 638 or +32 2 542 01 82


Bill Freese, Center for Food Safety, United States, Tel: +1 202 (547)


David Cardozo, Friends of the Earth Paraguay, Tel: +595 981 445067



A Question and Answer document on GM crops and the Millennium
Development Goals of halving hunger and poverty by 2015 is available

The executive summary of the report is available online at

The executive summary of the report is available IN SPANISH online at:


The executive summary of the report is available IN FRENCH online at:


The full report is available online at


[2] Previous editions of the ‘Who Benefits from GM crops’ series are
online at:



friends of the earth international
secretariat po box 19199, 1000 gd amsterdam, the netherlands
tel: 31 20 622 1369. fax: 31 20 639 2181.
Old Codger
2008-02-15 21:50:27 UTC
Old Codger wrote:

Not a word. Pete the troll is performing the old 'forge headers and
copy and paste garbage' trick again.
Post by Old Codger
A new report shows that planting genetically modified (GM) crops is
causing an increased use of harmful pesticides in major biotech crop
producing countries.
As Pete never reads what he posts and desires only to provoke
argument it is safest to assume that anything he espouses is
at least unsafe and probably malicious.
Old Codger
e-mail use reply to field

What matters in politics is not what happens, but what you can make
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