GMO cultivation declining in developed nations, despite industry promotion suggesting the opposite

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: GMO cultivation, developed nations, biotech industry

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(NaturalNews) For the first time since their initial commercialization in the mid-1990s, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are on the decline in the industrialized world, says a new report by the pro-biotech lobbying group International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, or ISAAA.

Despite heavy promotion of the technology by the chemical industry, which has been hiding GMOs in the food supply for nearly 20 years, overall plantings of GM crops have dropped in places like Canada and the U.S. by about 2 percent, according to the report. And the crops hit the largest include both cotton and canola.

"Growth is plateauing as far as the major industrial countries are concerned," stated Clive James, author of the new report and founder of the Ithica, New York-based ISAAA, to Businessweek. "The major trend is going to be in the developing countries, which for the second consecutive year planted more [GMOs] than industrial countries."

Canada, whose canola crop is currently 96 percent GMO, recently cut back on this oil-making crop, driving down the numbers. And Australia, which is shamed by a cotton crop that is currently 99 percent GMO, reportedly shed some of this commodity as well, replacing it with non-GMO wheat.

GM cotton in the U.S. also saw a decline, falling from 94 percent in 2012 to 90 percent in 2013. A combination of drought conditions and growing consumer awareness and rejection of GMOs has driven many farmers to scrap their transgenic crops altogether in favor of conventional seeds, according to experts watching the scenario unfold.

"Consumers are the final arbitrators, [and] Gmo farmers are already starting to lose market shares," wrote one commenter in response to a recent Vancouver Sun piece which falsely claims that an "overwhelming" number of farmers support GM crops. "Gmo and massive pesticide use go hand in hand and the public is becoming aware."

Many farmers were coerced into adopting GMO - nobody really wants the failed technology!

The interesting thing about GMOs and how they ever came to be accepted is that they never really were accepted, at least not by an informed public. Backroom deals between powerful corporations and corrupt politicians helped pave the way for chemical companies like Monsanto to quietly make absurd promises to farmers about lower costs, increased yields and less required labor if they transitioned to transgenic.

Fast forward 20 years and many farmers are essentially stuck with the technology, which has never provided any of the promised benefits. Fearful that they might become the next victims of a predatory business model that could sue them for patent infringement when GMO traits drift from nearby fields into their own, these farmers are forced to grit their teeth and continue until an opportunity to escape emerges.

"Even farmers who once believed GM offered benefits are now in doubt, owing to the cost and difficulty of controlling rapidly evolving weed tolerance to the herbicides employed with the herbicide-tolerant crops," wrote E. Ann Clark, a retired professor of plant agriculture at the University of Guelph in a letter of rebuttal to The Vancouver Sun, which never actually published it.

"As of 2012, 49% of 3000 surveyed US farmers had glyphosate-tolerant weeds on their farms (glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup) --up from 34% in 2011," she adds. "Hundreds of biotypes from 25 different weed species are now glyphosate-tolerant. As of 2012, glyphosate-tolerant weeds covered 25 million ha (61 million ac) of US crop land -- and growing."

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