GMO and pesticide use research - Soil Association comment
03 October 2012
Professor Benbrook’s recent report indicating a rise in pesticide use associated with the widespread adoption of genetically modified crop technology in the US demonstrates very effectively why GM crops don’t offer a real solution. Not only have these GM technologies failed to deliver on their fundamental promises, they have in fact made the problem they were designed to solve even worse and locked farmers further into depending on costly inputs from a handful of powerful chemical companies. What is perhaps even more troubling is the industry’s apparent willingness to advocate GM as a solution for problems such as weed and pest resistance that were caused by the adoption of GM technologies in the first place.
The Soil Association supports practical innovation that addresses real needs, is genuinely sustainable and puts farmers in control of their livelihoods. GM solutions merely attempt to address the symptoms of broader and systemic issues in modern farming practice and provide a window onto the wider problem that agricultural R&D is driven by what will profit chemical companies rather than by what will help create the kind of future for food and farming that the public want. We advocate joined-up research that bridges the natural and social sciences, takes an ecological approach, responds to people’s real needs and respects farmers’ know-how. Where there’s a clear need for new breeds and varieties, we support the use of modern biotechnologies such as genomics and marker-assisted selection, which can speed up breeding without introducing the extra levels of uncertainty associated with genetic modification.