GM crops in decline

May 2014

Picture of a field of cotton with blue sky and clouds
Field of cotton in Canada. CC photo by Mike Beauregard on Flickr
The total area planted with GM crops in industrialised nations has fallen for the first time since the technology was commercialised in 1996. Last year, GM plantings in those countries fell by about two percent.
 
These figures don't come from any "wicked", "environmentalist", "Luddite", "GM crop-trashing vandals" trying to say "I told you so". They come from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA).  
This organisation is funded by pro-GM governments, foundations and the biotech industry. It has been criticised, in the past, for “repeatedly” using “inflated and massaged figures to try and make a struggling industry look unstoppable” (GM Watch). Indeed the ISAAA described the current fall as a “plateauing” of growth). This leaves a suspicion that, if the ISAAA is forced to admit to a reduction, the actual decline might well be much greater.
 
The fall in biotech crop planting seems to have been largely due to changes in the growing of cotton and canola. There was a drop in GM cotton in the US where farmers have realised GM crops only yield well under optimum conditions and have switched to cheaper, conventional seed on their less productive land. Australia grew less cotton overall. Canadian farmers' love affair with canola seems to be waning and farmers rotated wheat into their fields instead.
 
Here's another perspective on the whole GM planting situation:   
  • Globally, non-GM crops are grown in all countries which grow crops
  • Globally, non-GM crops cover 88.55 percent of cultivable land
  • Globally, no GM crops are grown in 86 percent of countries
  • Despite the year-on-year expansion of GM soya in Brazil, non-GM soya production increased by 10 percent in 2014 compared with the previous year, and in its biggest soya-producing State, Mato Grosso, non-GM soya is predicted to be up 50%.
 

OUR COMMENT

 
Before anyone starts celebrating, be aware that the scope for GM expansion in the US is now limiting. As a result, the biotech industry is looking to Latin America countries to drive sales growth this decade.  
 
Other developing countries will no doubt be next in line, and our pro-GM Government is clearly eyeing up Africa [1] 
 
Developing countries are vulnerable to the manipulations of pro-GM interests. YOUR CONTINUED REJECTION OF GM FOODS is important to help them stand up to the biotech threat.
 
 
Background:
 
[1] MINISTER FOR GM HYPE - News, November 2013
 
SOURCES:

Jack Kaskey, Modified crop plantings fall in industrialised nations, Business Week, 17.02.14

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, Global Status of GMO and Non-GMO Crops, Institute of Science in Society 3.04.14

ISAAA gets it wrong -- again! GM Watch, 22.07.09

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