EWG released a new analysis on Tuesday debunking the myth that genetically engineered crops (often called GMOs) will be crucial to “feeding the world” as the population soars. My report takes a hard look at recent research and concludes that so far, GE crops have done nothing to improve global food security – and there’s little reason to think that they will any time soon.
GMOs are not about feeding people, but about controlling people, Henry Kissinger style. Even if they are safe (I don’t know, but it certainly has not been proven to my satisfaction), they should be opposed on the moral value of human freedom. This control issue needs to be interjected into the dialogue.
“Given that creating just one genetically engineered crop variety can cost upwards of $130 million, you’d think Big Ag companies would invest in strategies that have been proven to work.”
This isn’t the argument against GMO’s. $130 million is a small amount when considering Monsanto makes $15 billion a year primarily selling Roundup herbicide and Roundup Ready corn and soya seeds along with BT cotton seeds. GMO companies are investing in strategies that are very profitable for the Big Six agrochemical companies: Syngenta, Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Bayer, and BASF.
Regenerative agricultural practices such as crop rotation, cover crops, green manure, low-till, mulching and composting do not sell Big Ag products so there’s no motivation for the Big Six to support these.
The primary argument against GMO in the developing world is that there is a viable option, agroecology, which is superior to the GMO monoculture, industrial farming strategy. Let us count the ways agroecology is better:
- Suitable for local landrace crops
- Farmers don’t need to buy seeds
- Farmers don’t need to buy chemical pesticides or petrochemical-based fertilizers
- Does not kill insect pollinators
- Naturally fights insect infestation through poly-cropping
- Agroecology sequesters carbon rather than releasing it to the atmosphere
- Agroecology requires less irrigation as it creates soil that can better hold moisture
- Increases rural incomes and economies
- Decreases urban migration
- Increases food security
- Promotes crop diversity and nutritional variety in local diets
All these and what I think is the most important benefit: agroecology supports the cultural diversity of the earth by making it possible for rural people to participate in the economy while living on their ancestral lands so they can keep alive their own unique cultures. Anthropologists tell us that the earth loses a language every 2 weeks. Think of it. Every 2 weeks the last person that speaks a language dies.
Excellent comment. Thank your for taking the time to concisely lay out the key facts.
Ten + years ago I ‘read’ we could provide food and water for all hungry humans for $40B / year. Just USA spends ten times that on our military to fight poor hungry uneducated people some of whom may become terrorists in hopes of gaining freedom of religion, legitimate government and access to resources. Feeding the poor would not hurt ag profits as these people do not buy food anyway. Of course if we feed them they may self educate and re produce and want human rights. I don’t think capitalism at all wants to feed the world, though Jesus, or Ghandi, or J. Lennon would want that.
Corporate agriculture uses 10,000 calories of petroleum products to produce 1000 calories of food; we literally eat oil at current. My friend a Republican grocery checker was telling me how we should ‘close the border’ last week. I wanted to mention that all her tomatoes were shipped from Mexico, but chose to remain friends.
We could feed the world tomorrow, if we had it in our hearts and wallets; Monsanto, quit pretending otherwise.
My exact thoughts WiseOwl-
I recently read that Monsanto is A Rockefeller creation- Not sure but sounds about right- “Suicide genes” in seeds! What kind of people would even think in these terms?
The absolute and ultimate control of people and populations is through food production and availability- This is A “No Brainer”-End of story!
And more than 300,000 of India’s farmers have committed suicide because of Monsanto’s BT Cotton and the financial burden it’s necessary accompanying products have placed on these people who lost their farms- India doesn’t need these poisonous Agricultural blood suckers-India did just fine for millennia without them-
And as for the fisheries, it is the huge bottom dragging trawlers that are the main culprit (aside from ocean acidification, coal plant toxins, plastics etc.) and these trawlers are out in force…
Just as Rockefeller and other gilded age robber barons maximized the creation of monopolies in all business sectors (until Teddy Roosevelt and other trust busters broke up the monopolies) the prevailing corporate business model pursued by today’s global corporations (Monsanto, Microsoft, the Waltons to name a few) is not just a national monopoly but a global monopoly.
As Wenonah Hauter’s research confirms in FOODOPOLY Monsanto and much of the agribusiness sector are all about monopolizing the world’s food supply.
Rather than breaking up monopolies, today’s politicians enable them to expand like never before.
Putting your comments in the context of 1915, note that farmers’ life expectancy was 4 to 8 years longer than miners, construction workers, sailors, factory workers and several other occupations.
Agreed, in a free and fair market economy no business would invest tens of millions in a product or service that produced inferior results.
In today’s global economy, however, large, wealthy corporations own the judicial and legislative branches in many nations, thereby creating government sanctioned and government protected monopolies that will profit the respective corporation irrespective of the quality of the product or service it provides.
Africa is a classic example whereby US taxpayers are footing the bill for widespread US military intervention intended to make the continent safe for Monsanto and other corporations to establish monopolies.