GM acceptance in decline as global crop cultivation falls

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

GM acceptance in decline as global crop cultivation falls

Related tags Agriculture

The number of countries cultivating genetically modified crops has fallen for the first time, as acceptance of the technology declines, say Friends of the Earth (FoE).

The new report examines the reality of genetically modified (GM) crop production worldwide - finding that there is significant resistance to GM on all continents, and that cultivation of genetically modified crops has fallen on a global scale.

"There is public resistance to GM crops on every continent, with increasing social and environmental impacts wherever they have been planted,” said Mute Schimpf, food campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe.

In Europe it is clear that the public don't want them, shops refuse to sell them and an increasing number of countries have banned them."

FoE noted that in 2013, for the first time since GM crops started to be introduced around 15 years ago, the number of countries that cultivated GM crops declined.

Indeed, Poland and Egypt are the latest countries to suspend or phase-out GM crop production, noted the report, which added that over 90% of the European Union's GM crop production is based in just one country, Spain.

Schimpf added that the EU has witnessed 'clear consumer rejection', coupled with food retailers that are stepping away from GM products.

Who is benefiting?

The FoE report states that 90% of GM crops are grown in just six countries, and by less than 1% of the world farming population.

An analysis of industry figures by FoE also suggests that a claimed increase in GM planting in 2013 remains confined to these six countries.

Only six countries globally account for more than 90% of GM crop production, the USA, Canada, India, Brazil

The FoE report also claims that despite hype around new GM varieties for improved nutrition and climate adaptation, industry figures show about 99% of the GM crops grown are still herbicide tolerant, insect resistant or a combination of both.

In addition, it suggests that GM varieties focused on nutrition - such as bio-fortified GM Golden Rice - are not the best solution for vitamin deficiencies anyway.

GM problems?

FoE warned that countries including the USA and Canada face escalating problems associated with GM crop production. In the USA, 49% of farmers report problems with herbicide resistant weeds; while in Canada around 10% of farmers report the same problems, resulting in 'increasingly toxic weed-killers being sprayed.'

Indeed, the report cites evidence from the cultivation of GM crops in both North and South America, going back over two decades, which suggests an increased levels of pesticide use due to weed and insect resistance.

"Food and farming should not be in the hands of companies who profit from GM seeds and the chemicals needed to grow them. We need a food system that promotes greener farms, safer food and vibrant rural communities,"​ said Schimpf.

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Posted by Anele,

If GM claims of health benefits etc are true; then why are the GM powerhouses including Monsanto NOT labelling their products so that consumers can easily identify them on the supermarkets shelves?

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Posted by Mike,

F0E is throwing out a list of superficial talking points that do not reflect the truths about the issues surrounding GM food crops.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

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