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Farm Subsidies Shore Up GE Farmer's Losses

Farm Subsidies Shore Up Farmer's Losses Caused By GE Crops

US farmers have been given massive government handouts again this year to ensure GE crops continue to be grown.

Genetically engineered varieties of soya and maize now predominate the market, around 70% of the price farmers receive for soya crops has been in subsidies for several years now. Despite the fact that consumers worldwide have rejected genetically engineered foods.

'GE crops have led to poor prices being paid for crop exports, which in turn has led to subsidies and so farmers just keep on growing them, it's a vicious circle", said Susie Lees from GE Free NZ in Food and Environment, "The US continue to practice double standards, forcing WTO rulings on others, whilst being anti-competitive themselves."

In Jan 2002, corn prices in eastern Nebraska were in the $1.75 per bushel range, about $1.25 per bushel below the cost of production with soya prices around $3.85, and US corn exports were 7 million bushels down on the previous year. The US exported around 2.8 million metric tons of corn to the EU in 1995/96. That dropped to 1.7 the following year and has steadily gone down to nearly nothing last year. The EU imports 2.5 million metric tons of corn each year, but not from the US.

In 2001 sixty percent of the U.S. soybean crop, was sown with Monsanto's genetically engineered seeds. 11.4 percent more herbicides were used on Monsanto soybean crops compared to conventional soybeans.

Recently a Research Center in North Dakota decided against running trials of Monsanto GE wheat as nearly 70 percent of Canadian wheat and more than 50 percent of U.S. wheat is exported. According to Canadian Wheat Board estimates, two-thirds of international buyers do not want to buy GE wheat.

A Monsanto Canada spokesperson openly admitted that it will be impossible to keep wheat 100 percent free of its genetic property: "To be able to say zero percent, that's impossible. We've been quite open about that." In 2001 Monsanto put in an application for a trial of GE wheat in New Zealand, over 1500 public submissions to ERMA rejected it.

ENDS

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