Friends of the Earth Europe
NEW REPORT: GM CROPS STILL NOT PERFORMING
Brussels, 8 January 2007 ? A new report to be released tomorrow shows that
genetically modified (GM) crops have failed to address the main challenges
facing farmers in most countries of the world, and more than 70% of large
scale GM planting is still limited to two countries (U.S. and Argentina).
The new report, 'Who Benefits from GM crops? An analysis of the global
performance of genetically modified (GM) crops 1996-2006'  also notes
that the 'second generation' GM farm crops with attractive 'traits' long
promised by the industry has failed to appear.
"No GM crop on the market today offers benefits to the consumer in terms of
quality or price, and to date these crops have done nothing to alleviate
hunger or poverty in Africa or elsewhere," said Nnimmo Bassey of Friends of
the Earth Africa in Nigeria.
"The great majority of GM crops cultivated today are used as high-priced
animal feed to supply rich nations with meat," he added.
According to the report, GM crops commercialized today have on the whole
increased rather than decreased pesticide use, and do not yield more than
conventional varieties. The environment has not benefited, and GM crops will
become increasingly unsustainable over the medium to long term.
In Europe, the report acknowledges a small increase in cultivation of GM
maize (up to approximately 1% of all maize production) but highlights strong
continued opposition to GM crops in the European Union and an increase in
the number of European regions declaring themselves GM Free.
Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "The widespread opposition
to genetically modified crops and foods in Europe continues to restrict the
growing of these unwanted and unneeded crops. Consumers and farmers can see
that they offer no added value and only additional environmental and health
The Friends of the Earth International report launch coincides with the
annual release of the "Global Status of Commercialized Biotech" report of
the industry-sponsored International Service for the Acquisition of
Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) -which promotes GM crops as a key solution
to hunger and poverty. The GM crops industry continues to misleadingly claim
that GM crops play a role in solving world hunger.
2006 A BAD YEAR FOR GM CROPS
+ In 2006 the US Department of Agriculture, a chief proponent of GM crops,
for the first time acknowledged that GM crop yields are not greater than
those of conventional crops, and a compelling number of studies by
independent scientists demonstrate that GM crop yields are lower than, or at
best equivalent to, yields from non-GM varieties.
+ In 2006 due to a soybean sector crisis and lower yields in Brazil and
Paraguay, Monsanto had to scale down its expectations in both countries. The
company was forced to publicly announce in Paraguay a reduction in the
royalties they demanded from soy producers. The Ministry of Environment in
Paraguay detected higher losses in Roundup Ready soy yields than in the
conventional varieties, verifying that the GM varieties were highly
sensitive to drought.
+ In the last decade cotton production has declined in the majority of
countries that have adopted GM cotton like Mexico, Argentina, Colombia,
South Africa and Australia, and significant drops in GM cotton production
specifically are forecasted in 2006 for South Africa and Mexico.
+ In 2006 a European Union-wide survey of public views reconfirmed the
European public?s opposition to GM food.
+ In 2006 the rice food supply on four continents was contaminated with an
illegal GM rice supposedly field-tested only until 2001, proving once again
the inability or unwillingness of the biotech industry to control its
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
In Africa: Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth Africa
Tel: +234 8037274395 (mobile) or +234 52602680 (office)
In Asia: Nizam Mahshar, Friends of the Earth Malaysia
In Europe: Adrian Bebb, Friends of the Earth Europe
In South America: Karen Nansen, Friends of the Earth Uruguay,
Tel: +598 99 524 003
NOTES TO EDITORS:
 The executive summary of the report is available at
link to www.foei.org
The full report is available for media upon request from the contacts above
or from email@example.com
A three-page 'Highlights of the report' is available at:
link to www.foei.org