US farmers dumping GMO seeds as eco-crops more profitable and cheaper to grow

A growing number of farmers are abandoning genetically modified seeds because non-GMO crops are more productive and profitable, the Global Research reports. Growing non-GMO crops are cheaper and more profitable.

“We get the same or better yields, and we save money up front,” crop consultant and farmer Aaron Bloom, who has been experimenting with non-GMO seeds for five years, said.

Farmers are switching back to natural seed because it is more profitable — not because of any ideology, Modern Farmer magazine discovered.

“Five years ago the [GMO seeds] worked,” said farmer Christ Huegerich, who along with his father planted GMO seeds. “I didn’t have corn rootworm because of the Bt gene, and I used less pesticide. Now, the worms are adjusting, and the weeds are resistant. Mother Nature adapts.”

In addition, nowadays farmers are paid more for conventional corn than GMO corn, as the eco-markets gain more popularity.

In addition, the Modern Farmer article, called the Post GMO-Economy, highlights main point why farmers dump GMO. For instance, the cost of growing one acre of non-GMO corn is $680.95, the cost of growing an acre of GMO corn is $761.80, that means it costs $80.85 more an acre to raise GMO corn. The price of GMO seeds can cost up to $150 a bag more than regular seeds.

The market of non-GMO seed is growing. Sales of such seeds have doubled for the last several years. And the general market for non-GMO foods has risen to $3.1 billion in 2013 from $1.3 billion in 2011, partially because some Asian and European countries don’t want GMO seeds.

Such bloom of cultivating non-GMO seeds might indicate that era of GMO is ending, and consumers make conscious choice of non-GMO products.

EU lacks evidence on the safety of GMO, says no to its production

The Members of European Parliament (MEPs) called on the European Commission (EC) not to allow the genetically modified maize crop Pioneer 1507 on the EU market. This insect-resistant crop could be dangerous to harmless butterflies and moths, said a resolution approved on Thursday 16 January 2014. “Based on this proposal, we are clearly lacking evidence on the safety of this new GMO strain to have it on the EU markets” said Dagmar Roth-Behrendt, a German member of the S&D group, who opposed approval along with other members of the environment committee.

Since the non-renewal of a couple of other authorisations in the mid-1990s, there is only one variety of maize – the MON 810 from Monsanto – which is currently authorised to be cultivated for commercial use in the EU. This one would be the second one.

In the case of maize 1507 from Pioneer, MEPs have decided to object to this proposal for an authorisation because they were very surprised by the Commission attitude to take a positive decision which had been opposed by 12 member states (with only six Member States voting in favour of the authorisation).

The risk assessments from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) show that highly sensitive butterflies and moths may be at risk when exposed to maize 1507 pollen. Yet, Pioneer refused to present additional documents regarding monitoring and risk mitigating measures for these non-target species.

Lastly, the Commission took this decision of authorisation arguing that it had been condemned by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) last September. However, the ECJ has only ruled that the Commission had failed to act. It has not prevented the Commission from presenting a new proposal recommending not to authorise maize 1507.

MEPs cannot know when the decision of the Council will come. Yet, what I can say is that any new authorisation for GMO cultivation is an issue, as it is always a challenge for the Council to find a majority either in favour or against such a decision. This is the reason why requests for authorisation can remain a very long time without a final decision.

Last July, Monsanto announced it will withdraw pending approval requests to grow new types of genetically modified crops in the EU, explaining that there was a lack of commercial prospects for cultivation. It is true that the regulatory environment is made difficult due to the fact that several member states are not in favour of new authorisation for cultivation. It must also been said that the lack of evidence provided by the industry on the safety of new GM crops does not help to dispel EU citizens’ recurring doubts on GMOs.

This is why for the time being the majority (61%), of Europeans are opposed to the development of GM food in Europe (Eurobarometer of November 2010). They consider GMOs as not offering benefits, as unsafe, as inequitable and as worrying.

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