Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Genetically modified crops on the rise

Seed Daily: The amount of the world's farmland utilized for growing genetically modified crops increase by about 10 percent last year, a biotechnology organization says. The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications says it calculates more than 2.5 billion acres have been cultivated with GM crops since their introduction in 1996, the BBC reported Tuesday.

ISAAA is an organization partly funded by industry that promotes biotechnology in agriculture. "We can recount a momentous year of progress in biotech crop adoption," said Clive James, ISAAA chairman and founder.

However, critics of GM crops say this is still just 10 percent of the world's arable land area as defined by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Greenpeace, opposed to GM crop introduction, has presented a petition to the European Commission demanding it stop approving new GM varieties.

"Today's European data show that GM crops are failing in the field and on the market; farmers and consumers are not falling for biotech industry propaganda," Greenpeace EU agriculture policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer said. "GM crops are not more productive and are less resistant to extreme climate conditions than normal crops," she said. "They do, however, present a serious risk for our environment."…

A field in Calumet County, Wisconsin, with corn stover in the foreground, with no indication whether the crop is transgenic. Shot by Royalbroil, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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