Wie heeft belang bij GGO's ?

Friends of the Earth schreven in 2006 een rapport onder de titel : "Monsanto en de door het bedrijfsleven aangedreven revolutie van de GGO's" (Who Benefits From GM Crops? - Monsanto and the corporate-driven genetically modified crop revolution.)
Daarin wordt geanalyseerd hoe het mogelijk was dat de GG-teelten in een beperkt aantal landen zo snel konden doordringen. Dat blijkt het gevolg te zijn van de aggressieve stategieën van de biotechindustrie, onder aanvoering van Monsanto, eerder dan van de voordelen die voortvloeien uit het gebruik van deze technologie.

Het rapport is te vinden op : http://www.foei.org/publications/pdfs/gmcrops2006execsummary.pdf

Who benefits from GM crops ?

The GM crops that have been commercialized during the last decade, from 1996 to 2005, have been oriented towards maximizing benefits for the agribusiness and seed industries that control GM traits and the chemical products associated with GM crops. In ten years, the commercialization of just two GM traits –herbicide tolerance and insect resistance – have dominated the market in three major crops: corn, soybeans and cotton.

Over 70% of the total global GM crop area is herbicide tolerant; the rest is insecticide resistant, namely Bt. Most of those crops are earmarked for animal feed or for heavily processed products.

In the case of Argentina, only 2% of all GM soy stays in the country; the rest is exported, primarily to Europe and China, for animal feed and other highly processed products.

The feed industry, the main recipient of GM products, has already expressed its lack of preference for GM over conventional soy. The European feed industry stated in 2005 that there is “no direct advantage from the presence of residues of herbicide resistant genes in the products they buy. The industry is therefore not prepared to pay for the use of this technology.”

GM products also do not offer advantages to consumers, as they are neither cheaper nor better quality. Even the French biotech industry has stated that the GM crops currently available in the market do not benefit consumers. There are clearly no environmental benefits to GM agriculture, as seen by the fact that the most widely planted herbicide-tolerant varieties increase pesticide use substantially. Furthermore, soy expansion is driving small farmers off the land, fostering the emergence of huge mega-farms, and contributing to deforestation.

Neither have GM crops done anything to ease hunger in the world, despite the continual use of this argument by the biotech industry to promote GM crops. First, GM crops are overwhelmingly grown in and/or exported to the world’s rich nations. Secondly, they are fed primarily to animals for meat

production and consumption by the well-to-do in the US, Europe, Japan and other wealthy nations. By and large, the poorer farmers of the world cannot afford to purchase imported soybean meal or maize (whether GM or not) to feed their livestock. While GM maize might be exported to some extent to poorer countries for direct human consumption, it offers absolutely no advantage over conventional corn; indeed, Bt corn’s insecticidal toxin has not been adequately reviewed to assess its potential impacts on human health. Third, the reduced yields associated with GM crops shrink rather than expand the world’s available feed/food supply. In any case, hunger and malnutrition are ultimately caused more by poverty, lack of access to land, illiteracy and poor health care than by deficient agricultural production techniques.

So then, who does benefit from the GM revolution? Taking into account the way in which GM crops have been introduced, the beneficiaries to date are obvious: big agribusiness and the biotech corporations that ‘own’ the GM seeds and traits.

Secondly, some large farmers in exporting countries have received some benefits, although these appear to be more related to greater ease of production and the ability to cover more acres as opposed to an increase in profits per hectare. On the other hand, small farmers in several developing countries – Argentina and Paraguay in particular - have been evicted from their lands by large landowners to make room for a huge expansion in soybean cultivation – most of it GM – for export to mainly richer nations. To the extent that GM crops like Roundup Ready soy facilitate expansion of monocultures, they also reduce a nation’s food diversity and security, as seen most dramatically in the case of Argentina.

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