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Reponse to wytze's points to consider



Wytze,
First of all, I apologize for my delayed response. Lightning knocked out
our phone lines here and I believe destroyed my modem. Anyway.......

Inputs cost money. The technology in the seed is just another input cost.
The farmer/grower is the
party that purchases it. Farmers go into debt when they put in any crop. The
market still sets the price of the commodity. Hopefully the technology will
make the producer more efficient in his
production techniques and also hopefully bring about a yield increase. The
cost to the consumer is still the same as conventionally grown crops, (at
this point in time) according to the market (supply and demand). Companies
that sell the technology don't guarantee a yield increase - they never
have. It is not a cost that gets directly past on to the consumer, it is
just another input cost that the producer bears and hopes that he recoups
when he sells his crop. The weather is ultimately the biggest deciding
factor in yield. The weather is also probably one of the biggest deciding
factors in the price you and I pay at the grocery store because of the world
supply. And price is not guaranteed either. It is a gamble, pure and simple.
Top yielding varieties are planted in order to have the greatest potential
for a high yielding harvest. If a genetically engineered crop can save money
on pesticide applications, it will be beneficial to the farmer to plant it,
even if the yield is the same as a non-GMO. Hopefully seed companies will
continue to improve varieties, as they have in the past, and average yields
will increase. The varieties that have been genetically altered and are on
the market today are not new varieties, they are genetically enhanced
versions of established varieties. Therefore the yield potential is USUALLY
the same - assuming the technology offers no benefit at all. But they
DO offer a benefit. I do not deny the fact that inserting genes into a few
varieties does adversely affect the
yield potential, but NOT all (and the market will weed these out). I know
for a fact that a BT cotton plant will out yield a non-BT cotton plant of
the same variety in the same field. I know for a
fact that BT cotton will require fewer pesticide applications than non-BT
cotton. BT cotton in our area has reduced the number of insecticide
applications for helios complex 75% - applications that would otherwise
have to be made in order to protect the crop. BT and other technologies such
as this have decreased the amount of total chemical applications that must
be made in a season. And Roundup is one of the safest pesticides/chemicals
on the market today!

.... AND don't think that the big supermarkets in Europe would continue on
their anti-GMO campaign if Genetic engineered foods were perceived by the
public in the exact opposite manner as they are today. Because they
would not. They would jump on the bandwagon and promote & sell all GMO
products in a heartbeat. But that is not the case at this point and time. OF
COURSE the companies that produce these GMO’s didn't do enough market
research in the rest of the world to see how they would be accepted.

Oh, and name me one GMO crop that was grown all the way back in 1992 in
Africa. (Probably well before 1992, if that is the year that the report came
out.) 1992 is very early in the life of GMO crops. I may be wrong, but I do
not think that there were enough GMO crops in the world at that point in
time to cause a severe nutritional deficiency anywhere, even if GMO crops
are nutritionally deficient, which they are not.

>"According to a 1992 United Nations Report on nutrition, the
>world wide drive to introduce high yield cereals and western >agricultural
techniques to Asia, Africa and South America, and the >replacement of local
fruits and vegetables by high yield rice, wheat >and maize, low in minerals
and vitamins resulted in severe <deficiency in developing countries".

This statement above has nothing to do with GMO. If anything, GMO offers the
potential for increased nutritional value in many foodstuffs grown around
the world!


>The introduction of chemical dependant cotton in India has led to >farmers
committing suicide. Why?

BECAUSE OF CROP FAILURE AND RECORD LOW PRICES - NOT BECAUSE OF ANY GENETIC
ADDITIVE IN THE CROP. Remember the stock market collapse several years ago
in Japan (I think Japan)? People jumped out of windows. Black Friday in the
US? People jumped out of windows. Same principle!

> It comes down to this: the industry seeds and the herbicides are
>expensive. The farmers have to go in debt in order to buy
>them.

I agree that seed and chemicals for crop production are very expensive, but
growers buy them non-the-less. If growers couldn’t afford them, they wouldn
’t
buy them. It is a very fine line between being able to afford crop
inputs and not being able to afford them. Yes, growers are being asked to
lay a lot of money out on the front end of a growing season, more so than in
the past. Any disaster that occurs that adversely affects yield can quickly
put farmers at a loss for the year. Only the very skilled farm managers
will survive. It is in a company’s best interest to keep farmers in
business so they will continue to purchase products year after year, but
they do push the profit margin as far as they can. (It is also in a country’
s best interest to keep its farmers in business, but that is another
discussion group)

>They do this because they are seduced by industry people that
>"these seeds will give very high yield etc." However, if for whatever
>reason the harvest fails, these farmers are buried in debt.

Any farmer can tell you that nothing is guaranteed in agriculture. What you
are calling seduction is in reality marketing. Companies try to sell their
products just like McDonalds tries to sell hamburgers. No one is holding a
gun to the farmers heads forcing them to buy the products. Farmers have a
right to refuse to purchase a product just as Europeans have the right to
refuse to buy GMO products. The fact is that GMO crops offer something of
value to growers. Growers see the value in them or they wouldn’t buy them.
Of course the value of GMO crops will decrease if the consumers in the ECU
continue to reject them.

>The landvarieties that are still used and preferred by hundreds of
>millions of farmers cost only a fraction of the price of "western"
>seeds, hybrids etc.

I guess yield is not as an important a factor in other parts of the world as
it is in the U.S. where only 1.8% of the population is a farmer. But the
demand for food will increase as the population increases-NO DOUBT. Can we
go on growing the same varieties that you mentioned on the same land area
(really a decreasing land area)
and expect to feed the world? We must have improved varieties that yield
more. The answer is genetic engineering.

Sincerely,
Bill Brooks



Wytze de Lange Wrote:

Dear Coop,

I would like to ask you to consider the following points:
The world today, acoording to what is said by many people, knows about 800
million people who hunger. Another 1 billion (i am not sure about this
number)are undernourished. They have deficiencies in nutrional factors.
I found this quote in the book Biosafety needs and priority actions for West
and
Central Africa: "According to a 1992 United Nations Report on nutrition the
world wide drive to introduce high yield cereals and western agricultural
techniques to Asia, Africa and South America, and the replacement of local
fruits and vegetables by high yield rice, wheat and maize, low in minerals
and
vitamins resulted in severe deficiency in developing countries".
The introduction of chemical dependant cotton in India has led to farmers
committting suicide. Why? It comes down to this: the industry seeds and the
herbicides are expensive.The farmers have to go in debt in order to buy
them.
They do this because they are seduced by industrypeople that "these seeds
will
give very high yield etc." However, if for whatever reason the harvest
fails,
these farmers are burried in debt. That is what drove hundreds of Indian
farmers
to drink their own pesticides, killing themselves.
The landvarieties that are still used and preferred by hundreds of millions
of
farmers cost only a fraction of the price of "western" seeds, hybrids etc.
Hundreds of millions of small farmers still live by mutual exchange of
seeds,
without ownership, breeder's rights or patents. Just the pleasure of sharing
and
exchanging, thereby improving crops, developing new varieties etc
I am sure that there is more to say, but this is all for now.
sincerely,
Wytze de Lange





Co-op wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Co-op <
coop1@crockettnet.com>
> To: Roberto Verzola <
rverzola@phil.gn.apc.org>
> Date: Wednesday, April 28, 1999 1:57 PM
> Subject: Re: Rice
>
> >How does widespread use of chemical agriculture cause starvation and
death?
> >
> >....and I don't want to "foist", anything on anyone. I'm sure chemical
> >companies would like to sell their products to the entire world so they
can
> >make money, I do not dispute that. They try to sell where their is a
> >market, and where there is not a market, they try to make one.
>
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Roberto Verzola <
rverzola@phil.gn.apc.org>
> >To:
coop1@crockettnet.com <coop1@crockettnet.com>
> >Date: Wednesday, April 28, 1999 9:36 AM
> >Subject: Re: Rice
> >
> >
> >> >Again, Show me the numbers. What would happen if we didn't use this
> >> >technology? I'll tell you. There would be mass starvation and death.
> >How
> >> >do you propose to feed the world without pesticides?
> >>
> >>I am from the Philippines. Please stop worrying how you would feed
> >>us... We'd rather work on it ourselves especially since you want to
> >>foist your pesticides on us. MASIPAG, a Philippine organization of
> >>organic farmers, boasts an average rice yield of 3.8 tons per hectare,
> >>which is higher than our national average of 2.8 - 3.3 tons per
> >>hectare (depending on whose statistics you use). In fact, it is the
> >>widespread use of chemical agriculture that causes starvation (due to
> >>increasing poverty) and death.
> >>
> >>Roberto Verzola