In Part 3 of this 4-Part Series (read Part 1 and Part 2), guest blogger Jennifer Slattery takes on the myth that GM crops will miraculously solve world hunger. Putting aside the fact that hunger is not a supply issue but a distribution problem, Jennifer shows how GM crops fail even to deliver on increasing yields.
So come the answers from the green-washing corporatists: that we are stopping the end of world hunger by opposing GM crops. Yeah right guys, nice try. As if we’re dumb enough to believe that your terminator seed crops, (that destroy themselves after one season and never grow back), will feed more people than ones that grow back year after year naturally. The fact is that GM crops are less hearty even when they grow that one time. Yet Monsanto still brazenly claims on it's website that it's GM products increase crop yields across the board:
"Mexico - yield increases with herbicide tolerant soybean of 9 percent.
Romania – yield increases with herbicide tolerant soybeans have averaged 31 percent.
Philippines – average yield increase of 15 percent with herbicide tolerant corn.
Philippines – average yield increase of 24 percent with insect resistant corn.
Hawaii – virus resistant papaya has increased yields by an average of 40 percent.
India – insect resistant cotton has led to yield increases on average more than 50 percent."
However, Monsanto's claims aren't in sync with the facts on the ground; where a thirteen year study showed that:
"the UCS [Union of Concerned Scientists] report concluded that genetically engineering herbicide-tolerant soybeans and herbicide-tolerant corn has not increased yields. Insect-resistant corn, meanwhile, has improved yields only marginally. The increase in yields for both crops over the last 13 years, the report found, was largely due to traditional breeding or improvements in agricultural practices."
You can read the UCS findings and see for yourself: Failure to Yield Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops
The people at Monsanto have no problem with ignoring science for the sake of their own profits. The Failure to Yield report made a critical distinction between potential yield and actual yield, the semantics games played by Monsanto to get us to buy their argument that they are saving starving people, rather than making them even poorer by spiking food costs. Monsanto enjoys talking about their potential, or projected gains in yield made under fantasy optimal conditions, rather than discuss the real output. The UCS report on crop yield refers to reality; as in the production levels after losses due to pests, drought and other normal environmental factors. Sorry Monsanto, the truth always wins out in the end.
So save us the "stopping world hunger" spiel. As if we haven’t heard about the thousands of Indian farmers who have committed suicide because of your terminator cotton seeds.
“For official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month. Simple, rural people, they are dying slow, agonizing deaths. Most swallow insecticide - a pricey substance they were promised they would not need when they were coerced into growing expensive GM crops.” - The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops.
Hmm, didn't save those crops, farms, or farmers in India. In fact, Monsanto took what little they had, without remorse, and then had the gall to brag about your crop yield "success"? What success? Here's what the UCS recommends to combat world hunger, here in the U.S. and around the world:
“If we are going to make headway in combating hunger due to overpopulation and climate change, we will need to increase crop yields,” said Gurian-Sherman. “Traditional breeding outperforms genetic engineering hands down.”
The fact is the company is being forced out of numerous countries. Hungary banned Monsanto seeds and destroyed a thousand acres of GM crops. Peru placed a ten year moratorium on Monsanto seed. Operations in France, Germany and the Czech Republic have been shut down after EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom called them out for trying to lie and force unsuitable GM technology in Europe.
Here in the U.S. the Occupy movement is setting Monsanto in its sights, supporting the lawsuit brought by over 300,000 farmers against the company:
"Outside the courthouse in Folely Square, over 200 activists, organized by the Occupy Wall Street Food Justice working group, waited to meet and welcome the plaintiffs when they emerged from the courthouse. “We want to show farmers who are coming in from around the country that people in cities care about these issues. We want to stand in solidarity and connect rural and urban issues,” said Corbin Laedlein, an organizer with the group."
It's time to stand up together against companies like Monsanto. As Dr. Vandana Shiva, another great interview from The Corporation film, wrote this week:
"This asymmetric pressure of Monsanto on the US government, and the joint pressure of both on the governments across the world, is a major threat to the future of seeds, the future of food and the future of democracy."
Coming up next in the final installment of this series, Jennifer combats the myth that Monsanto is not a monopoly, and provides some ways to fight back.