(NaturalNews) Farmers in South Africa have reported an inexplicable failure to seed in three different varieties of corn genetically modified (GM) by the Monsanto Corporation.
"One can't see from the outside whether a plant is unseeded," said Kobus van Coller of Free State province. "One must open up the cob leaves to establish the problem."
The problems occurred only in corn engineered by Monsanto for increased yields or for resistance to the company's trademark herbicide, Roundup (glyphosate). Failure to seed has been documented in the provinces of Free State, Mpumalanga and North West.
According to Monsanto, the crop failure occurred due to "underfertilization processes in the laboratory," and has only been a problem in "less than 25 percent" of the seed from the three corn varieties.
Marian Mayet of the Africa Center for Biosecurity disputed the company's claims, however. According to her sources, some farms have experienced crop failures as high as 80 percent. She also expressed doubt over Monsanto's explanation for the problem, laying the blame instead on the GM technologies used to produce the seed.
"Monsanto says they just made a mistake in the laboratory, however we say that biotechnology is a failure," Mayet said. "You cannot make a 'mistake' with three different varieties of corn. We have been warning against GM-technology for years, we have been warning Monsanto that there will be problems."
Mayet called on the government to launch an investigation into the crop failures and to institute an immediate ban on the cultivation of all GM crops in South Africa.
South Africa was one of the first countries after the United States to adopt GM corn. Like the United States but unlike many European countries, South Africa does not require that GM ingredients be labeled as such on food packaging.
The South African grocery chain Woolworths imposed a ban on carrying any GM foods in 2000.