A group of 20 NGOs from India, South-east Asia, Africa and Latin America published the Global Citizens' Report on the State of GMOs with very interesting results:
The report finds that genetic engineering has failed in increasing the yields of food crops, and instead induced much higher usages of pesticides and chemicals, as well as the growth of ‘superweeds’.
The report states that when GM crops were first introduced about 20 years ago, it was claimed that they will be the solution to food security, climate change and soil erosion; however, according to the assessment this hasn’t happened and hunger instead reached new peaks. It is further mentioned that only two GM traits have been developed on a larger scale (such as pest resistance) – while other benefits like drought resistance haven’t been notably addressed yet.
Furthermore, the report unveils that since the introduction of GM crops, the use of insecticides and herbicides has dramatically increased – whereas the development of genetically engineered crops was supposed to reduce the use of these chemicals.
Interestingly, i.e. in cotton fields in China where GM insect-resistant ‘Bt cotton’ is grown extensively, pest populations grew 12 times bigger as compared to 1997, requiring much more pesticide use - and have consequently offset any benefits from introducing Bt cotton. Similar results were found in India where Bt cotton is grown.
In Argentina and Brazil, soya farmers were assessed to be using double the amount of herbicides on GM plants versus conventional crops.
Most importantly and alarmingly, the report mentions that – particularly in the US – many weeds have started growing resistance to herbicides and pesticides that were specially developed for GM crops – which again has led to invasions of ‘superweeds’.
Another problem yet to be addressed is the fact that GM crops are now being largely used for biofuels, and this in itself adds to food insecurity, since land is being taken away from growing food crops worldwide.
To read more check the following article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/19/gm-crops-insecurity-superweeds-pesticides?newsfeed=true