GMOs Don’t Work As Advertised by Monsanto & Cohorts
|November 28, 2013||Posted by Staff under Environmental|
This 2013 excerpt of Independent Science News, Oct 30, is by Colin Tudge.
Golden Rice is a flagship for GMOs. Golden Rice is not the answer to the world’s vitamin A problem, rather it is part of the cause. Syngenta’s promotion of it is an exercise in top-down control.
Vitamin A deficiency is now a huge and horrible issue primarily because horticulture has been squeezed out by monocultural big-scale agriculture —- the kind that produces nothing but rice or wheat or maize as far as the eye can see. The best way by far to supply carotene (and thus vitamin A) is by horticulture which traditionally was at the core of all agriculture.
We have been told that GMOs increase yields with lower inputs and have been proven beyond reasonable doubt to be safe. In reality, GMOs do not consistently or even usually yield well under field conditions; they do not necessarily lead to reduction in chemical inputs, and have often led to increases; and there is no worldwide consensus of scientists vouching for their safety.
No GMO food crop has ever solved a problem that really needs solving that could not have been solved by conventional means in the same time and at less cost.
We have been assured that without high tech, industrialized agriculture, we will all starve. Yet the world already produces enough staple food to support 14 billion -– twice the present number. A billion starve because the wrong food is produced in the wrong places by the wrong means by the wrong people -– and once the food is produced, half of it is wasted.
The task is not to increase output, but to produce what we do produce (or even less) by means that are kinder to people, livestock, and wildlife.
The industrial farming that is supposed to be feeding the world in practice provides only 30% of the world’s food. Another 20% comes from fishing, hunting, and people’s back gardens – and the remaining 50% comes from the mostly small, mostly mixed traditional farms that the industrialists and their political assistants tell us are an anachronism; and small mixed farms can be the most productive of all, per unit area. Furthermore, to produce their 30%, the industrial farms gobble up enormous quantities of oil for their industrial chemistry with immense collateral damage, not least to the climate. In contrast traditional farms are low input, and at least when properly managed, need not be damaging at all.
Small, mixed, traditional-style farms are said to be far too expensive because they are labour-intensive. But in fact, about 80% of what people spend on food in supermarkets goes to the middle-men and the banks (who lend the money to set up the system in the first place). So the farmers get only 20%. If those farmers are up to their ears in debt, then a fair slice of that 20% goes to the banks. At most, the farm labour costs account for less than 10% of the total food bill. It’s the 80% we need to get down.
When farmers sell directly to customers they get 100% of the retail price; through farmers’ markets they typically get around 70%; and through local shops at least 30%.
Want to Stop the Monsanto Protection Act”
The Monsanto Protection Act allows big agricultural and biotech corporations to ignore food safety regulations and sell genetically engineered foods even after a court order to stop. The Monsanto Protection Act was written anonymously and in secret — and prevents courts from doing their jobs.
US Sens. Jeff Merkley, Bernie Sanders, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Earl Blumenauer, Kyrsten Sinema, Yes on 522, and the Daily Kos community sponsored a petition to tell Congress to stop the Monsanto Protection Act.
Ed. Notes: You know why corporations are called limiteds in the UK? Because their salient feature is they limit the liability of those responsible for harming others in order to turn a fatter profit. If you repealed such limits or at least made businesses pay a fair and ongoing fee for their corporate charter, then they’d become much better corporate citizens.
At the bottom of the business hierarchy, most farmers toil on land that’s not theirs but owned by absentee investors. The actual farmer has little say over how to farm. To empower farmers you have to spread farmland ownership. A very effective way to do that is to have government recover ground rents. Having to pay land rents makes it pointless to own land you don’t use — the profit goes to the rent. So absentee owners sell out, actual farmers get some farmland, and everybody’s happy (almost).
Happily, this geonomic solution has worked wherever tried.