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THE GMO SCRAPBOOK: LOWER YIELDS, AND IS IT REALLY ABOUT SOLVING WORLD ...

As readers can probably guess by now, this past week I have been focused on the subject of GMOs as a looming geopolitical issue between the BRICSA bloc and the West, especially in the wake of the recent Russian ban on all agricultural imports from the USA, EU, Canada, and Australia.  But there's more looming on that score, as this article, shared with us by a regular reader here, Mr. F.S., indicates:

Can GMOs Help Feed the World?

Of course, we're all familiar with the claim of big agribusiness companies that their product is going to ward off starvation, increase yields, and so on. But this, as the article avers, is wrong on two counts, and I want to draw your attention to these statements, but for a rather different reason than their rather obvious implications:

"As John Robbins writes, if Monsanto’s true goal is addressing hunger, then their seeds would be designed to fix the core problems that underlie the hunger issue, such as:[1]

"-Able to grow on substandard or marginal soils
-Able to produce more high-quality protein with increased per-acre yield, without the need for expensive machinery, chemicals, fertilizers or water
-Engineered to favor small farms over larger farms
-Cheap and freely available without restrictive licensing
-Designed for crops that feed people, not livestock

"If GE foods were really a viable way to eliminate world hunger, then meeting these challenges would be a powerful argument in their favor, would it not? So, what does the science say?

"Monsanto gets a failing grade across the board.

"With nearly 100 million acres of GE food now planted worldwide, Monsanto’s crops have yet to do one thing to alleviate hunger, particularly for the world’s less fortunate. In fact, most of that acreage is devoted to growing corn and transgenic soybeans for livestock feed.

GE CROPS PRODUCE A HIGHER YIELD … RIGHT?

"No—their yield is actually lower. Overall, research has shown a 5 to 10 percent reduction in yield for GE soybeans versus the conventional variety. Other GE crops are performing equally poorly.[2] These plants are weak, malnourished and fail with the slightest environmental stress or drought. Agronomists and plant scientists have made far greater advances in yields with conventional breeding methods than with GE crops.

"The yields of GE cotton have been particularly abysmal. Scientists have determined that growing GE cotton in the US can result in a 40 percent drop in income. In India, the situation is much worse with up to 100 percent failure rates for Bt cotton, leaving farmers in total financial ruin. According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, more than 182,900 Indian farmers took their own lives between 1997 and 2007 as a result of GE crop failures—a staggering 46 farmer suicides each and every day.[3]"

Certainly Mon(ster)santo is not the only agribusiness company there are many others, but the claims remain similar. Indeed, I have blogged previously on this site about University of Iowa studies conducted on normal crops vs GMOs, and you'll recall that while GMOs initially appear to have higher yields, this falls off over time while normal seeds continue. In other words, over time, normal seeds out-produce their man-made rivals. And as many are aware, if the GMO-pushing agribusiness giants were really interested in the problem of increasing yield and alleviating world hunger, then they would have done precisely as John Robbins suggests, they would have engineered plants that could grow in substandard soils, without the need for herbicides and so on, done so without licensing (fat chance!), and designed crops for people not animals. (Let's not even get into the fact that it appears that an increasing body of evidence correlates increases of GMOs with decreases of bee populations.)

So why am I bothering with an article that essentially rehearses known concerns? Well, recall, that I have been advancing the hypothesis for a couple of years now, that eventually the BRICSA nations might make the GMO issue a geopolitical one, perhaps even a human rights one (if they play their cards carefully and deftly). To make this work, I suggested in last week's News and Views from the Nefarium that argicultural trade among the BRICS nations would have to expand and be formalized (which we have already seen with recent agricultural trade agreements between Russia and China), and once this was established, then BRICSA-wide standards for agricultural products would have to be negotiated. This would be driven, so I suggested, by the fact that the BRICSA bloc's two most powerful members - Russia and China - have already either questioned the whole GMO enterprise in Russia's case, or enacted partial bans on targeted products in China's case.

To make such a geopolitical use of the GMO issue occur, an effective propaganda will have to be organized, and that, I submit, this article outlines in spades: (1) the claim to be addressing world hunger and agricultural production can be challenged - strongly - simply on the basis of what types of products have been the predominant focus of the agribusiness giants, (2) the claim to higher yields is debatable, and (3) the falling yields indicate bad agricultural practice in the big corporate farms.

So we may add one more thing to watch in the coming months and years, and that is, if any of the BRICSA members start talking openly and persistently about these three factors when addressing their domestic, and international, agricultural policy. If so, then to my mind, folks, that's a clear signal that the GMO issue has become geopolitical.

See you on the flip side...

7 thoughts on “ THE GMO SCRAPBOOK: LOWER YIELDS, AND IS IT REALLY ABOUT SOLVING WORLD ...”

  1. Monsanto has encountered a setback to its plans. A ruling to withdraw Monsanto’s permit to plant GM soy crops has been issued by a district judge in the state of Yucatán who was “convinced by the scientific evidence presented about the threats posed by GM soy crops to honey production in the Yucatán peninsula, which includes Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatán states.

    Co-existence between honey production and GM soybeans is not possible, the judge ruled.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/aug/08/sweet-victory-beekeepers-monsanto-gm-soybeans

    This is an important ruling, but I’m sure Monsanto will now resort to paying higher bribes and corrupting more officials of the Mexican government to get the ruling overturned by a higher court. Just another example of farmers being forced to fight the Corporatocracy and their own government.

  2. In my research of social media there was one commentary I came across titled, “What I learned from six months of GMO research: None of it matters.” By Nathanael Johnson, 9 Jan 2014 9:22 AM. There were 1154 comments posted.

    Reading through the article an admission, or question posed by the author struck me as being pertinent, “If the stakes are so low, why do people care so much?”

    Now that is a very interesting question being posed. Borrowing a few ideas from the article I found some revealing thoughts made by the author, and as always I juxtaposed those with some ideas stirred up by Drs. Scott de Hart and Joseph Ferrell in an interview about their book on Transhumanism.

    I believe Dr Ferrell stated the following, “Transhumanism is basically a Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas. Grimoire is a magician’s recipe of spells. Transhumanist have an agenda and the goal is to take humanity into the four stages of man. To reverse the descent of man, or the Fall of Man. In esoteric literature there is a four-staged descent. At the top of the ladder you have mankind being viewed as a kind of Androgony, and then it falls apart into the sexes. At the next stage of the ladder there is Mineral Man; then Vegetable Man; and finally Animal Man. That mirrors the basic Cosmology of the Big Bang, Then the elements emerge, then plant life and finally animal life. Transhumanist, like an Alchemist, are trying to reverse the whole process and go back up the ladder. They use the GRIN technologies: Genetics, Robotics, Information Processing and Nanotechnology. [At the top] Mineral Man is to be fused with computer chips and directly to computers, and this is a symbol of androgny.”

    The shortcomings of GMO crops made in the original post above begs the question, “If the stakes [with GMO crops] are so low, why do people care so much?” Seems that people around the world sense something big is coming. Why where 1,154 comments posted about a topic where the stakes are so low? Perhaps being forced to climb a steep mountain has struck a chord with a lot of people, and for what purpose should humanity be forced to climb a ‘ladder’? Is there some agenda being foisted upon humanity to reach a mythical state of becoming like gods?

  3. An adverse impact not mentioned above are the so-called Super Weeds. Search the words “Super Weeds” and a slew of very recent news articles appear from newspapers in the Midwestern states where cotton, corn and soybean farmers are fighting a real battle against weeds that have become herbicide resistant.

    Also, farmers who use strong herbicides such as glycophosphates like Roundup are experiencing severe health affects. There is a documentary titled “The World According to Monsanto” worth viewing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=N6_DbVdVo-k

  4. nobodyouwantoknow

    GMO also is an acronym for Generic Mendacious Obtuseness, which otherwise means Stupit. It is a prionic fragment of technocratic arrogance. There is no cure but death.

  5. As the author of this article writes towards the end GMO’S real aim is full spectrum profit and control. Always been business goal for centuries these people couldn’t run a grade Z whorehouse but they what us to trust them running the planet. They must also believe cows can jump over the Moon and it’s made of green cheese.

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