A major study out of Kansas has now dispelled the myth (lie? charade? PR scam? boondoggle?) that Monsanto has been using for years to promote its GMO crops - that GM crops produce greater yields. It then slathers that manure ... no, manure is too real and valuable to work as an analogy ... that synthetic crap, with an even more synthetic concern for the world's poor and starving. And thus evil disguised as goodness, worms its way in where it should never have gotten.
But, can you hear the trumpets sounding as the long-overdue calvary arrives with a message?
At a moment in which Monsanto and the other biotech madmen are poised to use the food crisis to insert GMO crops into areas they have been resisted, or crops such as wheat which has been fought against, The University of Kansas has provided a definitive study slaying the central claim of GMO crops - that their yield is greater so they are the answer to world hunger.
THE GREAT GM CROP MYTH EXPOSED
Sunday, 20 April 2008
By Geoffrey Lean
Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis.
The study - carried out over the past three years at the University of Kansas in the US grain belt - has found that GM soya produces about 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent, contradicting assertions by advocates of the technology that it increases yields.
Professor Barney Gordon, of the university’s department of agronomy, said he started the research - reported in the journal Better Crops - because many farmers who had changed over to the GM crop had “noticed that yields are not as high as expected even under optimal conditions”. He added: “People were asking the question ‘how come I don’t get as high a yield as I used to?’”
He grew a Monsanto GM soybean and an almost identical conventional variety in the same field. The modified crop produced only 70 bushels of grain per acre, compared with 77 bushels from the non-GM one.
The timing could not be more important. Engdahl writes:
A deadly fungus, known as Ug99, which kills wheat, has likely spread
to Pakistan from Africa according to reports. If true, that threatens
the vital Asian Bread Basket including the Punjab region. The spread
of the deadly virus, stem rust, against which an effective fungicide
does not exist, comes as world grain stocks reach the lowest in four
decades and government subsidized bio-ethanol production, especially
in the USA, Brazil and EU are taking land out of food production at
alarming rates. The deadly fungus is being used by Monsanto and the US
Government to spread patented GMO seeds.
WHY FOOD PRICES WILL GO THROUGH THE ROOF IN COMING MONTHS
by F. William Engdahl March 31, 2008
Thanks to those who have said science will solve everything and who pushed aside farmers and nature itself,, things have gone from bad to worse as our backup system, bio-diversity, was undermined:
"In the 1950s, the last major outbreak destroyed 40% of the spring
wheat crop in North America. At that time governments started a major
effort to breed resistant wheat plants, led by Norman Borlaug of the
Rockefeller Foundation. That was the misnamed Green Revolution. The
result today is far fewer varieties of wheat that might resist such a
new fungus outbreak." Engdahl
Monsanto and the biotech "industry" became the second "Green" revolution, not only altering seeds with the "stated" purpose (pul-lease) of helping create more food for the poor. Using genetic engineering and the great extension of intellectual property laws (both thanks to Clarence Thomas, previous Monsanto employee, who not only ruled that GMOs were no different from normal organisms and but in favor of intellectual property laws allowing for "ownership" of biology itself), Monsanto has taken seeds out of the hands of the poor and claimed exclusive ownership (even as India's starving farmers are killing themselves when Monsanto's Bt-cotton failed, still not allowing them to collect seeds off their own property to try again) , wiped out biodiversity everywhere it has gone through displacement and also through buying up seeds companies.
Ah, Monsanto, the great help-mate of the poor. Could we find more ways to destroy Iraq and make money on doing so? For those who haven't yet considered that "farming" or "organic" are about as up against the wall political as one can get, look what Bremer's order no. 81 has done while no one was looking:
"As part of sweeping "economic restructuring" implemented by the Bush Administration in Iraq, Iraqi farmers will no longer be permitted to save their seeds. Instead, they will be forced to buy seeds from US corporations -- which can include seeds the Iraqis themselves developed over hundreds of years. That is because in recent years, transnational corporations have patented and now own many seed varieties originated or developed by indigenous peoples. In a short time, Iraq will be living under the new American credo: Pay Monsanto, or starve.
... "The US has been imposing patents on life around the world through trade deals. In this case, they invaded the country first, then imposed their patents. This is both immoral and unacceptable", said Shalini Bhutani, one of the report's authors.
The new law in question  heralds the entry into Iraqi law of patents on life forms - this first one affecting plants and seeds. This law fits in neatly into the US vision of Iraqi agriculture in the future - that of an industrial agricultural system dependent on large corporations providing inputs and seeds.
In 2002, FAO estimated that 97 percent of Iraqi farmers used saved seed from their own stocks from last year's harvest or purchased from local markets. When the new law - on plant variety protection (PVP) - is put into effect, seed saving will be illegal and the market will only offer proprietary "PVP-protected" planting material "invented" by transnational agribusiness corporations. The new law totally ignores all the contributions Iraqi farmers have made to development of important crops like wheat, barley, date and pulses. Its consequences are the loss of farmers' freedoms and a grave threat to food sovereignty in Iraq. In this way, the US has declared a new war against the Iraqi farmer.
And where Monsanto did not have the US military forcing draconian agricultural "rape" laws on a population, the food crisis (brought on by the "Green" revolutions destruction of plant diversity, becomes the argument for an emergency introduction of GMO wheat by Monsanto. Engdahl, again:
"One of the consequences of the spread of Ug99 is a campaign by
Monsanto Corporation and other major producers of genetically
manipulated plant seeds to promote wholesale introduction of GMO wheat
varieties said to be resistant to the Ug99 fungus. Biologists at
Monsanto and at the various GMO laboratories around the world are
working to patent such strains.
Norman Borlaug, the former Rockefeller Foundation head of the Green
Revolution is active in funding the research to develop a fungus
resistant variety against Ug99 working with his former center in
Mexico, the CIMMYT and ICARDA in Kenya, where the pathogen is now
endemic. So far, about 90% of the 12,000 lines tested are susceptible
to Ug99. That includes all the major wheat cultivars of the Middle
East and west Asia. At least 80% of the 200 varieties sent from the
United States can't cope with infection. The situation is even more
dire for Egypt, Iran, and other countries in immediate peril.
Even if a new resistant variety was ready to be released today it
would take two or three years' seed increase in order to have just
enough wheat seed for 20 percent of the acres planted to wheat in the
Work is also being done by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service
(ARS), the same agency which co-developed Monsanto's Terminator seed
technology. In my book, Seeds of Destruction I document the insidious
role of Borlaug and the Rockefeller Foundation in promoting the
misnamed Green Revolution as well as patents on food seeds to
ultimately control food supplies as a potential political lever. The
spreading alarm over the Ug99 fungus is being used by Monsanto and
other GMO agribusiness companies to demand that the current ban on GMO
wheat be lifted to allow spread of GMO patented wheat seeds on the
argument they are Ug99 stem rust resistant."
So, it is with great hoopla that the world needs to welcome studies proving that GMO crops fail in comparison to normal crops. Lean quietly describes what has to be one of the most important studies for mankind in a very critical effort to stop and then reverse the loss of normal crops, the loss of biodiversity, the loss of democratic control to corporate power that uses GMOs to control world food supplies.
"The new study confirms earlier research at the University of Nebraska, which found that another Monsanto GM soya produced 6 per cent less than its closest conventional relative, and 11 per cent less than the best non-GM soya available.
The Nebraska study suggested that two factors are at work. First, it takes time to modify a plant and, while this is being done, better conventional ones are being developed. This is acknowledged even by the fervently pro-GM US Department of Agriculture, which has admitted that the time lag could lead to a “decrease” in yields.
But the fact that GM crops did worse than their near-identical non-GM counterparts suggest that a second factor is also at work, and that the very process of modification depresses productivity. The new Kansas study both confirms this and suggests how it is happening.
A similar situation seems to have happened with GM cotton in the US, where the total US crop declined even as GM technology took over. (See graphic above.)
Monsanto said yesterday that it was surprised by the extent of the decline found by the Kansas study, but not by the fact that the yields had dropped. It said that the soya had not been engineered to increase yields, and that it was now developing one that would.
Critics doubt whether the company will achieve this, saying that it requires more complex modification. And Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington - and who was one of the first to predict the current food crisis - said that the physiology of plants was now reaching the limits of the productivity that could be achieved.
A former champion crop grower himself, he drew the comparison with human runners. Since Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile more than 50 years ago, the best time has improved only modestly . “Despite all the advances in training, no one contemplates a three-minute mile.”
Last week the biggest study of its kind ever conducted - the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development - concluded that GM was not the answer to world hunger.
Professor Bob Watson, the director of the study and chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when asked if GM could solve world hunger, said: “The simple answer is no.”
And lest we forget this night of the primary, Burson-Masteller, which represents Monsanto, is running Clinton's campaign (Penn, its CEO is in the shadows now) and she wants a centralized department of food "safety" (makes me feel unsafe just hearing about it), and were she elected, she would be likely to follow in Bill's footsteps and put Monsanto over everything to do with food.
You can go to a new blog - http://yupfarming.blogspot.com/ - for a way that you can combat the PR campaign that Monsanto will use to try to drown out these new studies with continuing GMO promotion.