In The Race For Market Dominance Between Organic & GMO Crops.....Who Is Winning?
On average, the worldwide acreage used to raise genetically-modified foods in the first ten years (1996-2005) grew steadily at a pace of about 9 million hectares per year, or from about one million to 90 million hectares. A hectare is approximately 2.5 acres. By 2005, in the aggregate these hectare were 30x larger in size that those that were organically planted in the US, and 3x larger in the aggregate worldwide.
Worse yet, the rate of growth for such GM crop land use has been 2x that of organic farming, even though the increase in organic land use has been stellar. Thus in 2006 we find close to a 100 million hectares devoted to genetically-modified (GM) foods compared to 31 million hectares for organic farming worldwide, and with gap in this race growing in favor of GM foods.
Or despite the initial comfort in seeing ever more organic products in our supermarkets, let us not lose sight of the overall picture. So far, there is actually a losing ground to the powerful economic push to more deeply control - and in the process narrow diversity and pollute - our food supply via genetically-modified approaches! If we again use the statistics from 2005 as our comparative starting point, organic farming then represented just 0.6 percent of worldwide production compared to 2% for GM farming worldwide, with the rest being "conventional." In this race to newly transform modern agriculture, GM production thus seems to be gaining further, expanding its initial lead over organics at a 2x greater pace.
All the while, the US has led this entire thrust. Bear in mind that he who finally controls our food supply (whether GM, organic or conventional vendors) ultimately controls our survival. Looking back on what happened in the first three years of GM agricultural expansion in the US, there was a use of major Wall Street financing combined with insider influence in Washington to accomplish the task. Here a must read is Jeffrey Smith's Seeds of Deception plus a viewing of Marie-Monique Robin's DVD, The World According to Monsanto. Soon the GM industry converted 25% (not 1-2%) of US agriculture experimentally. The industry then thought it could as easily supplant this experiment to other countries. Monsanto and friends unrelentingly pursued this goal but so far most of the rest of the world has not jumped on the bandwagon. It has reacted with intense resistance and consumer protest, leaving (as of 2006) more than 90% of GM crops in only seven countries This covers primarily the US and portions in Brazil, Argentina, Canada, China, India, and Paraguay. A million or less hectares were planted in Mexico, Romania, Uruguay, South Africa, Australia, Philippines, Honduras, Columbia, Iran, Spain, Portugal, and Germany, often on the pretext of being experimental. Again the rest of the world continues to view genetically-engineered foods with both massive alarm and suspicion. They are subjected to severe restrictions, moratoriums, being partially banned or requiring labeling - and with stiff legal penalties for non-compliance. At the same time, and most alarmingly, the political tactics that were used so successfully in the US to first get a foothold and then expand are still being used worldwide to make inch-by-inch inroads. Between 1996 and 2006, the first decade of production, all the top nine GMO producing countries all showed significant increases straight through 2006.The major US GMO crops have also yearly increased their market share through 2008 and dominant the majority of plantings. Thus soy GMO plantings approach close to 90% of market share and cotton and corn (HT and Bt varieties) close to 60%.
The largest and most lightning-speed expansion of GMO plantings in the US have fueled, as mentioned, vast industry mergers. Coming out of these mega-conglomerates are PR campaigns that tell us
nothing but positive results will ensue for the benefit of all. We are lured to believe, according to Monsanto, that this "breakthrough" technology will create a new kind of utopia. It will aid the environment by reducing toxic chemical use, increase food production to stave off world hunger, and guide us to an agricultural boom. In addition it will provide nutritionally heightened and much better storing and tasting foods. Finally, all of this is based on nothing but "good science" - which in the long run will convince the wary public that genetically-modified foods are equivalent to or better than the ordinary. In our opinion, this is opposite from the truth. GM foods are the most radically-altered foods ever introduced into the human diet and the ecology of our planet - and that one has to be virtually oblivious (corrupted or gullible) not to see past the claims to the contrary. Among the tragic end results, it is estimated that every 30 minutes, one farmer in India commits suicide (due to bankruptcies because they trusted false promises).
Again the size of the genetically-modified foods' rapid market penetration has been propelled by vast financing, marketing hype and political influence to take over 1/4 of US agriculture. This has been quite startling and unsettling, but in no way is indicative that the industry's major claims are honest or "scientific." Money and pursuit of power together corrupt consciousness like no other influence. The motivational thrust is the core attempt to gain a deeper and lasting "control" over nature which, however, is an illusionary aim.
For example, a farmer in Ottawa Tony Huether planted three different kinds of genetically-modified canola seeds that came from the three leading producers (Monsanto's Roundup, Cyanamid's Pursuit, and Aventis' Liberty). At first, he was happy to see he needed to use less of costly herbicides. But within just three years, "superweeds" among canola plants had taken in the genes of all three types of those plants! This ultimately forced him to use not only more herbicides, but far more lethal products. There have been similar experiences in the UK. The primary impetus for Monsanto to develop GM crops was consciously to sell more, not less of its herbicides - to direct the development of modern agricultre in a way that spurred greater control and profits. Nowadays they have a private army of investigators to police the use of their seeds.
The battle over the dominance of GM crops vs organic crops is thus ultimately about this kind of corporate control and profiteering over the whole of global agricultural production.
In my new E-book entitled Raw-Wisdom, I discuss the deeper reasons, other than economics, why this race for market dominance is being lost in favor of GMOs, and what we need to do to turn things around. To receive this E-book, sign up for our newsletter.
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KEYWORDS: Organics vs GMO, organic produce, organic crops, food, foods, genetically modified food, GM foods, GMO food, frankenfood