Regarding David Charbonneau’s last column, Science Unclear Either Way On GM Foods, science is not the only basis on which to evaluate the effects of GMOs. From the perspective of food security and the future of agriculture, GM seeds are a disaster.
GMO agriculture is an extension of current industrial farming practices that have resulted in the contamination of land and water, severe health issues, and the loss of family farms and farmer livelihoods worldwide.
Although promoted as a technology to reduce pesticide use, GM crops in the U.S. have used 26 per cent more pesticides per acre than non-GMO crops (based on U.S. Dept. of Agriculture data), putting human and environmental health even more at risk.
GMOs are promoted as a way to end hunger, but according to Anthony Gucciardi, a 2012 report funded by the WTO and the UN from a team of 900 scientists found that GM crops are actually not effective at fighting world hunger.
In fact, the team found that Monsanto’s GM seeds which have led to thousands of farmer suicides due to excessive costs and crop failures were out performed by traditional “agro-ecological” farming practices.
In an address to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization 24 delegates from 18 African countries stated: “We strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly nor economically beneficial to us.
“We do not believe that such companies or gene technologies will help our farmers to produce the food that is needed in the 21st century.
“On the contrary, we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia, and that it will undermine our capacity to feed ourselves.”
Food security is not possible unless farmers are able to save seed, adapted to local conditions, as they have for millennia. The goal of Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Dupont and Syngenta is to make saving seed illegal, as in the WTO’s trade-related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement, resulting in corporate control of the food supply.
Why have we surrendered control over something so basic to human survival as seeds?
How long will we continue to buy into the biotech industry’s program, which pushes a few monoculture commodity crops, when history and science have proven that seed biodiversity is essential for growing crops capable of surviving severe climate conditions?
And when does “how long” become “too late?”
Shuswap Thompson Organic Producers’ Association