Thursday, November 7, 2013

Victoria's Green Matters - 7th November 2013

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:The subject of genetically modified (GM) food continues to cause controversy from whichever side you view the argument.

Consumers around the world have been consistently against the use of GM crops; there was a lot of hype in the beginning about ‘GM food feeding the world’ but this has never come about because GM crops have not fulfilled their promise. Farmers who have grown herbicide tolerant GM crops have now to battle herbicide tolerant weeds, leading to the increased use of weedkillers. Farmers who tried out pest resistant GM crops are now trying to combat pests that are unaffected by the toxins in the plants.

Historically, there has always been research into the breeding of crops that are resistant to the different growing problems that arise around the world. For example, the use of technologies such as gene marker mapping and genome sequencing has led to the production of drought and flood tolerant rice varieties with higher yields. British scientists have developed disease resistant pearl millet for Africa and a new type of ‘superwheat’ that could increase productivity by 30%, all by tried and tested traditional methods and at a much lower cost than with GM technology.

But traditional methods do not make vast profits for the seed production companies; farmers can collect and save seed, year on year, unlike the use of GM seed which locks farmers into a yearly necessity of buying seed, usually from one of the three huge companies that control 70% of the market.

Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal.

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