31/07/2012

Warning for Farmers Against GE Crops

 

A road tour [1] by Green Party Steffan Browning and two Australian Farmers will highlight the serious economic and environmental issues that will be faced by New Zealand Farmers if GMO forage crops or grains are ever introduced into New Zealand.

Chris Kelly, CEO of LandCorp,[2] has voiced concern that New Zealand is not keeping up with biotechnology and GM pasture advances for animal feed. However he pointed out that if animal stock numbers were reduced there was an increase in production. This shows that it is not pasture that is at fault but over stocking.

The hoped-for advantages that have been attributed to GMOs have not been realized. GMO crops, [3] which make up around 85% of the soy and corn grown in the USA are suffering severely in the drought, and over the years have resulted in increased use of toxic sprays. The Rodale Institute in their 2011 report [3], found that:

“Organic corn yields were 31% higher than conventional in years of drought. These drought yields are remarkable when compared to genetically engineered “drought tolerant” varieties which saw increases of only 6.7% to 13.3% over conventional (non-drought resistant) varieties”.[4]

It is not known how GMO plants will cope with the stress and higher levels of toxic compounds that may be produced, as the drought stress can cause the genes to act differently. Health effects have already been linked to GMO crops and this drought could add further to the toxic load.

“It is time that we started farming to the capacity of the land. New Zealand's world class reputation can not rely on high chemical fertilizer inputs and GMO’s that deplete the soil and cause detrimental levels of nitrates and toxins," says Claire Bleakley from GE-free NZ in food and environment.

"It is time that scientists and chemical companies realized that farmers are essential for keeping the food chain healthy by using sustainable production methods that serve future generations. This means production that is free of herbicide and insecticide- laden GMO foods that cause serious endocrine effects."

[1] http://www.greens.org.nz/node/29019
[2] http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/111938/landcorp-head-says-farm-animals-under-fed
[3] http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/14100-gm-crop-efficacy-may-be-jeopardised-by-pest-mutations
[4] http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/fst30years

ENDS:
Claire Bleakley 06 3089842 /027 348 6731
Jon Carapiet 0210507681

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