Saturday April 19, 2014

Farmers banking on GM foods

The letter Croplife Canada Exhibits Paranoia (The Daily News, Dec. 9) caught my attention.

Mr. Johnston wrote about Lorne Hepworth from Croplife Canada being paranoid about a cross-country speakers’ tour focusing on genetically engineered foods and human health.

It is my impression that Mr. Hepworth was trying to present some facts in order to balance the discussions around a very important issue.

Mr. Johnston indicates that he doesn’t profess to be an “expert on the production of food” and that is precisely why consumers such as him need to get informed and hear both sides of the story. He asked some very good questions and, as a farmer, I would like to respond.

Organic farming may be growing rapidly, as Mr. Johnson asserts, but it still only accounts for about two per cent of Canadian agriculture. That aside, the fact is that there is plenty of opportunity for all types of farmers.

In fact, it might interest your readers to know just how popular modified crops are with farmers. We have been growing GM crops for almost 20 years and we are not alone. The total number of farmers growing GM has steadily increased since the technology was introduced.

In 2012, a total of 17.3 million planted biotech crops in 28 countries. Over 90 per cent of these were small and resource-poor farmers from developing countries. The highest increase in any country, in absolute hectares growth, was Brazil with 6.3 million hectares.

The highest proportional increase was South Africa with a 26-per-cent increase to reach 2.9 million hectares.

This shows that GM foods are widely accepted by growers and consumers.

As a farmer, I trust the Canadian regulatory system approves products that are safe to their own citizens and to the millions of people we sell our products to.


Taylor, B.C.

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