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New Reports on GE Crops


New Reports on GE Crops

Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics applaud the independent report released this week by the UK Soil Association (SA).

This report, together with that of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released in June, substantiates the need for an extended moratorium on GE field trials and commercial releases.

The SA report shows that engineered soybeans, corn and canola have cost the US economy up to US$12 billion since 1999: lower crop prices, loss of export orders, product recalls. Higher profits have not eventuated. Contamination of food and farming has created major difficulties. US agriculture is buoyed up by subsidies: US$190 billion more promised over the next decade.

The USDA report, The Adoption of Bio-engineered Crops ( http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aer810/), was undertaken by their Economic Research Service and concluded that "perhaps the biggest issue raised by these results is how to explain the rapid adoption of GE crops when farm financial impacts appear to be mixed or even negative."

A 1998 study, funded by Iowa State University, revealed the uptake of GE crops can be driven by farmers believing industry claims that the crops will deliver - just as much as by factual data of actual crop performance. It confirmed that over 50 percent of farmers planted herbicide-tolerant GE soya because they believed it would produce higher yields than conventional varieties. Analysis showed the opposite to be true.

A subsequent study confirmed that "there is essentially no difference in costs between the tolerant and non-tolerant fields" but higher yields from non-GE crops meant a profit for growers.

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