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GM Crops and the Coming Famine

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posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 02:37 PM
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Recent worldwide food shortages and price hikes have yet again prompted proponents of Genetically Modified (->GM) crops to release statements and ads calling for an expansion of their use, often using flashy catchphrases likefighting world hunger.

From data i gathered for threads i wrote for this forum in the past, it becomes obvious that this promise, like many others, is an empty one.

Before i post url's to older threads let me state that the difference, with regard to overall yields and longetivity, sustainability and the forgotten subject of soil depletion is one of agricultural practices, not primarily one of crop varieties. There's an article i pulled from a search engine, calling for a new

Green Revolution.



To American biologist Robert Zeigler, the request underscores two global problems: rapidly depleting grain stockpiles, and the need for a new Green Revolution to satisfy food demand that is forecast to jump 50 percent by 2025


which reminds me strongly of something i've written 1 1/2 years ago:

Source: old thread

please note that the original article is no longer directly available, so use the web archive if you wish to verifiy


Punjab and Haryana were at the forefront of the Green Revolution in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in which farm machinery, pesticides and fertilisers, irrigation and the replacement of traditional crops with high-yielding varieties dramatically increased productivity. The two states together now provide 80 per cent of the country's food surplus.

But the land is increasingly unable to support this burden of intensive agriculture. Crop yields--and water resources--are declining alarmingly, and some parts are close to becoming barren. Many farmers are heavily in debt from their investments in new equipment and reliance on chemicals, and rural unemployment is increasing. These are ominous signs of a deteriorating farm economy.


industrialised agriculture did in fact vastly increase yields, for a few decades, it is now seen to decline in areas, where the environment was more fragile or susceptible to the perils of water depletion and soil erosion. Calling for another round of Green Revolution sounds scary, imho, because diminishing returns are to be expected and this would mean only a few years of higher yields - IF the PR contained some truth, which, as far as i can tell, it does not.


Now, on to the main issue.

GM crops, real life experiences:

Argentina


The growth in output is exclusively the result of an increase in the
area of land under soya bean cultivation. Despite the early promises, RR
soya beans have had five-six per cent lower yields than conventional
soya. Nor has there been the much-heralded decline in pesticide
application. Because of the evolution of vicious new weeds, farmers have
had to use two or three times more pesticides than previously. Overall,
total costs have risen by 14 per cent. Soya prices have dropped as a
result of increased global production, and most farmers are actually
worse off.


India


The Indian government confirmed that Bt cotton’s disastrous yields cost millions. One state even kicked out Monsanto, after they refused to compensate farmers’ losses. Tragically, hundreds of debt-ridden cotton farmers committed suicide.


North America


Lower profits for farmers growing GM crops: The profitability of growing GM herbicide tolerant soya and insect-resistant Bt maize is less than non-GM crops. This is due to the extra cost of GM seed (which can be up to 40% higher), the lower market prices paid for GM crops, and reduced soya yields.



The list is endless, if i was foolish enough to overload the thread with links and quotes, which i won't. i won't go into the deletreious effects on soil ecology or ecology as a whole, either or adverse health effects in animal trials or elsewhere, because these threads have, of course, already been posted.

My intention is to raise awareness that food shortage is an excellent pretext for forcing yet another destructive practice on the world, the West's reluctance to ban bioful processing from food crops (or rivalling crops, which are displacing food crops) clearly shows that they could not care less about the danger famine, in fact the profits are probably good. Furthermore, with sky high royalties payments, a higher price might just be what the doctor prescribed to give the industry a boost.

The solution might lie in using techniques which, while labor intensive, have proven sustainable and reliable, let me illustrate.

Source


Last week, Nature magazine reported the results of one of the biggest agricultural experiments ever conducted (2). A team of Chinese scientists had tested the key principle of modern rice-growing - planting a single, high-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 per cent. The farmers planting a mixture of strains were able to stop applying their poisons altogether, while producing 18 per cent more rice per acre than they were growing before.


let me write that out: Eighteen Percent, nearly a Fifth.

There's no profit in it for the corp's, but such practices will feed the poor and might even give them an income if they manage to produce in excess (




posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 02:55 PM
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Interesting, it's almost as if you're suggesting that the agricultural implosion has been manufactured in an attempt to get us all on GM foods...

I know for a fact that the companies developing the GM foods would be quite interested in securing their revenue for the future - i'll go and find some evidence before i carry on.



posted on Apr, 12 2008 @ 05:52 AM
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reply to post by Anti-Tyrant
 


it's pretty clear that it's an orchestrated event, they are still turning food crops into fuel and they will continue to do so until the newly built plants have been paid off, which, will take approximately two decades. since the industry is thinking and working as conglomerates/cartels, i wouldn't be too surprised if all major branches (fuel, agriculture, chemical industries and don't forget that ALL of them will profit during the reconstruction phase, which, if shaped properly will turn in hefty profits _and_ deepen their stranglehold on civilisation) were somehow involved in it, seeing as they can all benefit nicely from crisis, especially if they cause it and thereby have insider knowledge from the start.

i'm focusing on GM'ed crops because they have the potential to destroy the land for a long time and due to the fact that they lend themslvles to monopolistic practices through air-tight copyright. cross-contamination of natural or just conventional crops works in their favor, too, because they will always win in kangaroo courts around the world.

there is a backlash, of course, and their only chance to prevail is by agression.

www.percyschmeiser.com...

www.organicconsumers.org...

things are not going too well for them, as you can see here: www.connectotel.com...



posted on Apr, 12 2008 @ 06:05 AM
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reply to post by Long Lance
 


we have done this to ourselves

seedless grapes, seedless oranges, etc etc etc

doesn't take a genius to work out at some point we will be seedless, pardon the pun,

no wonder the decided to knock up a seed bank

problem is how long does it take a crop to grow?

david



posted on Apr, 14 2008 @ 02:50 AM
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reply to post by Long Lance
 


We need to stop spending so much on wars and start thinking about
starting back up with reserves of grains,ones that haven't been genetically
altered.



posted on Apr, 14 2008 @ 04:58 AM
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reply to post by alaron
 


interestingly, today's world can be understood much more easily if you extend the meaning of the word 'war' a bit, to include the purposeful use of various means of influence and power to eliminate selected groups of people or to subjugate them. direct war spending would then be just the tip of the iceberg, wouldn't it?

in this context, modern agribusiness and politicised economics in general can be viewed as a form of warfare. guess who the targets are?!


PS: www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Apr, 15 2008 @ 05:13 PM
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i don't know there are alternatives to GM at this point. Of course, previous GM attempts could have made croplands less sustainable, BUT people learn and new GM practices can be made in order to improve yield, survive during drought AND improve sustainability of the land.

Let's not give up hope. Using old non-GM seeds is just ridiculous - there wouldn't be enough yield to support us. Then again, we could just kill off half the world's population, wouldn't u like that >_> [/joke]



posted on Apr, 16 2008 @ 05:45 AM
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Originally posted by yuwing
i don't know there are alternatives to GM at this point. Of course, previous GM attempts could have made croplands less sustainable, BUT people learn and new GM practices can be made in order to improve yield, survive during drought AND improve sustainability of the land.

Let's not give up hope. Using old non-GM seeds is just ridiculous - there wouldn't be enough yield to support us. Then again, we could just kill off half the world's population, wouldn't u like that >_> [/joke]




history has shown that GM'ed crops do not live up to expectations and believing that more of the same will somehow cure the ailment which was brought on by 'previous GM attemps' is not based on fact, to say the least.


the problem of yields, as i outlined in my first post isn't so much one of plant varieties, but one of agricultural practice. Western-style agriculture revolves around monocropping, fertilizers and, if need be chemcial pesticides. its advantages are of course scalability and mechanized farming, which drasticaly decrease workloads, which is one if not the main reason for its widespread acceptance. such a system is of course dependant on low fuel cost for fertilzers and machinery and its benefits do not last long if soil erosion is not kept in check, see my paragraph on Punjab in my OP.

the real question is whether workloads are all that important in poor countries and considering the prospect of starvation it certainly isn't. these less sophisticated methods can serve to increase overall yield by sizeable amount, something which GMOs have not yet consistently demonstrated.



first post

Source


Last week, Nature magazine reported the results of one of the biggest agricultural experiments ever conducted (2). A team of Chinese scientists had tested the key principle of modern rice-growing - planting a single, high-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 per cent. The farmers planting a mixture of strains were able to stop applying their poisons altogether, while producing 18 per cent more rice per acre than they were growing before.


let me write that out: Eighteen Percent, nearly a Fifth.



18% increase by moving away from monocrops alone. why not try something that works, out of the box, so to speak?

PS: why don't we just stop turning food into fuel instead of relying on a technology that, so far, never lived up to expectations? i know hope dies last, but why not look for solutions instead of creating more problems, for a change?

considering the available data from South America, India and the US, the widespread use of GMOs would only aggravate food shortages by a combination of farmers going bankrupt, slight direct decrease in yields (GM soy, f-ex. does no longer accumulate nitrogen) and drastic soil depletion, resulting from either GM plant produced or sprayed toxins killing soil flora and fauna. remember that many GM crops are still just designed to be resistant to herbicides.



posted on Apr, 22 2008 @ 05:03 AM
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www2.nysun.com...


At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

"Where's the rice?" an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. "You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous."



So, who's the largest user of GMOs in the world ? the USA.

GMOs are very limited, legally, it does not take a genius to figure out that growing more crops will run into several limits, because seeds not only need to be distributed centrally, from GM labs, they are also considerably more expensive to buy, which makes expansion a tricky affair. who's going to literally 'bet the farm' on a loan for GM seeds? how many farmers have lost it all through loans in the '80s and '90s?


btw, if you think natural seeds could fill the void, you'd be sorely mistaken, because smaller seed traders have all but vanished (bought out) and the typical extortion contract locks its victims into a planned economic schedule of several years, without any regard for adaption to a changing environment.

PS: you reap what you sow, don't you?

[edit on 22.4.2008 by Long Lance]


sty

posted on Apr, 22 2008 @ 06:50 AM
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My country also got a lower agricultural output in 2007, it was mainly because of the bad weather..



posted on Apr, 22 2008 @ 07:04 AM
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The coming worldwide food shortage is being manufactured by the enviro-insane movement. Turning food into a very inefficient fuel. Corn a great food is a terrible fuel source.

Add to that the Co2 insanity, the lack of exploration for oil and production in america.

The cost of fuel, transportation, loss of corn, loss of other food production due to weather, it all spells FAMINE, in a sudden food riot at Krogers manner.

The nanny state nuts will save us by rationing food from DC, controlling how much we all eat, (to save food for others) since all of us are fat (according to the food police). Soon Krogers will sell only prepackaged, federally approved 2000 calorie per day "famine relief" boxes to save us all from thier stupidity...........



posted on Apr, 22 2008 @ 10:12 AM
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reply to post by sty
 


its not like they'd freely admit: 'Yes, people, industrial agriculture and crops (GM) combined with ethanol and thelunacy of subsidies (as opposed to tarrifs on subsidized crop - but WTO might send merc's just for writigng it out) resulted in a food shortage, which we'll remedy by doing more of the same as usual, until we starve (but at least we'll distribute hunger equally - or will we???) at which point we'll write the planet over to Monsanto™ © ® et al.

what do you think? when was the last time someone blamed The Weather in this context? try to guess it for a few seconds.... still nothing? wait here it comes:

it was

*drumroll*


North Korea


the problem is that NK can be bailed out, the world can't be. i truely wonder how much you'll like eating cattle feedstock, because that's exactly what's going to happen if things persist and errors are not corrected. by then you'll probably understand why deer walks miles to get a natural crop variety as opposed to GM frankenfoods, but we'll be stuck with it anyway. don't get me started on ethanol feedstock...

reply to post by heliosprime
 


take Iraq, considering Halliburton™©® makes a lesiurely 100 bucks per sack of laundry, i'd expect rationing to be super profitable. of course, due to the usual blunders, a few million will starve to death, but hey' they're taking one for the team



posted on Jun, 23 2008 @ 05:27 AM
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i found an illustrative example of agricultural improvement, which appears to actually work.

Source



Rejecting old customs as well as the modern reliance on genetic engineering, Dr. Uphoff, 67, an emeritus professor of government and international agriculture with a trim white beard and a tidy office, advocates a management revolt.

Harvests typically double, he says, if farmers plant early, give seedlings more room to grow and stop flooding fields. That cuts water and seed costs while promoting root and leaf growth.

The method, called the System of Rice Intensification, or S.R.I., emphasizes the quality of individual plants over the quantity. It applies a less-is-more ethic to rice cultivation.

In a decade, it has gone from obscure theory to global trend — and encountered fierce resistance from established rice scientists. Yet a million rice farmers have adopted the system, Dr. Uphoff says. The rural army, he predicts, will swell to 10 million farmers in the next few years, ...


this trend is encouraging, to say the least. note that yields are supposed to double, which is probably a result of small samples grown in overtended lab conditions, therefore probably an overestimate, but the same applies to GMOs, which typically have no yield benefit at all. see f-ex.


www.centerforfoodsafety.org...


+ in the last decade, cotton production has declined in the majority of countries that have adopted GM cotton like Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, South Africa and Australia, and significant drops in GM cotton production are forecasted in 2006 for South Africa and Mexico.


correlation does not equal causation, even though the cause appears obvious and should be investigated, which won't happen anytime soon, i predict.


iow, there are more promising improvements than GM crops, which should be emphasised instead. better technique will help everyone, immediately, no 'ifs&buts', without costing a fortune or carrying uncalculable risks for not visible gain.

tags...

[edit on 2008.6.23 by Long Lance]




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