Geneticallly Modified Farming Proven Inferior

A
series of remarkable experiments has shown that the growing techniques
which
Novartis, Monsanto, and other biotechnology companies have sought to impose upon the world are, in
contradiction to everything we have been brought up to believe, actually
less productive than some of the methods developed by traditional
farmers
over the past 10,000 years.


A
series of remarkable experiments has shown that the growing techniques
which
Novartis, Monsanto, and other biotechnology companies have sought to impose upon the world are, in
contradiction to everything we have been brought up to believe, actually
less productive than some of the methods developed by traditional
farmers
over the past 10,000 years.

Last week, Nature magazine reported the results of one of the biggest
agricultural experiments ever conducted. A team of Chinese scientists
had
tested the key principle of modern rice-growing (planting a single,
hi-tech
variety across hundreds of hectares) against a much older technique
(planting several breeds in one field). They found, to the astonishment
of
the farmers who had been drilled for years in the benefits of
"monoculture",
that reverting to the old method resulted in spectacular increases in
yield.

Rice blast – a devastating fungus which normally requires repeated
applications of poison to control – decreased by 94%. The farmers
planting a
mixture of strains were able to stop applying their poisons altogether,
while producing 18% more rice per acre than they were growing before.

Another paper, published in Nature two years ago, showed that yields of
organic maize are identical to yields of maize grown with fertilisers
and
pesticides, while soil quality in the organic fields dramatically
improves.
In trials in Hertfordshire, wheat grown with manure has produced higher
yields for the past 150 years than wheat grown with artificial
nutrients.

Professor Jules Pretty of Essex University has shown how farmers in
India,
Kenya, Brazil, Guatemala and Honduras have doubled or tripled their
yields
by switching to organic or semi-organic techniques. A study in the US
reveals that small farms growing a wide range of plants can produce 10
times
as much money per acre as big farms growing single crops.

Cuba, forced
into
organic farming by the economic blockade, has now adopted this as
policy,
having discovered that it improves both the productivity and the quality
of
its crops.

Hi-tech farming, by contrast, is sowing ever graver problems. This year,
food production in Punjab and Haryana, the Indian states long celebrated
as
the great success stories of modern, intensive cultivation, has all but
collapsed. The new crops the farmers there have been encouraged to grow
demand far more water and nutrients than the old ones, with the result
that,
in many places, both the ground water and the soil have been exhausted.

We have, in other words, been deceived. Traditional farming has been
stamped
out all over the world not because it is less productive than
monoculture,
but because it is, in some respects, more productive.

Organic
cultivation
has been characterised as an enemy of progress for the simple reason
that it
cannot be monopolised: it can be adopted by any farmer anywhere, without
the
help of multinational companies. Though it is more productive to grow
several species or several varieties of crops in one field, the biotech
companies must reduce diversity in order to make money, leaving farmers
with
no choice but to purchase their most profitable seeds. This is why they
have
spent the last 10 years buying up seed breeding institutes and lobbying
governments to do what ours has done: banning the sale of any seed which
has
not been officially – and expensively – registered and approved.

All this requires an unrelenting propaganda war against the tried and
tested
techniques of traditional farming, as the big companies and their
scientists
dismiss them as unproductive, unsophisticated and unsafe. The truth, so
effectively suppressed that it is now almost impossible to believe, is
that
organic farming is the key to feeding the world.

Author: George Monbiot

News Service: i-news

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