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Seeds of Doubt: North American farmers' experiences of GM crops

Warwick, Hugh and Meziani, Gundula (2002) Seeds of Doubt: North American farmers' experiences of GM crops. Soil Association.

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Summary

The picture the biotechnology industry has painted of GM crops in North America is one of unqualified success, after six years of commercial growing. The objective of this report was to assess whether this image is accurate and if not what problems have occurred. We present interviews with North American farmers about their experiences of GM soya, maize and oilseed rape, and review of some of the independent research.
The evidence we have gathered demonstrates that GM food crops are far from a success story. In complete contrast to the impression given by the biotechnology industry, it is clear that they have not realised most of the claimed benefits and have been a practical and economic disaster. Widespread GM contamination has severely disrupted GM-free production including organic farming, destroyed trade and undermined the competitiveness of North American agriculture overall. GM crops have also increased the reliance of farmers on herbicides and led to many legal problems.
Six years after the first commercial growing of GM crops, the use of genetic engineering in global agriculture is still limited. Only four countries including the US and Canada grow 99 per cent of the GM crops grown worldwide, and just four crops account for 99 per cent of the global area planted to GM crops. In the UK, we have a choice over whether to remain GM-free.
Our findings show that GM crops would obstruct the government from meeting its policy objective that farming should become more competitive and meet consumer requirements. It would also prevent it from honouring its public commitment to ensure that the expansion of organic farming is not undermined by the introduction of GM crops. The Soil Association believes this report will contribute towards a more balanced and realistic debate on the likely impacts of GM crops on farming in the UK and assist an informed decision on the commercialisation of GM crops.


EPrint Type:Report
Keywords:GM, GMO, Genetic Modification, biotechnology, contamination, North America, Canada, herbicides, soya, maize, oilseed rape
Subjects: Values, standards and certification > Consumer issues
Values, standards and certification > Technology assessment
Research affiliation: UK > Soil Association
Deposited By: Coles, Miss Megan
ID Code:9041
Deposited On:21 Aug 2006
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:33
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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