Tuesday, November 11, 2008

IFPRI says "Don't Blame GM Crops"

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) conducted scientific study with evidence that Indian farmer’s suicides have not increased by the introduction of GM Crops. The new analysis suggests that if anything, suicides among farmers have been decreasing since the introduction of GM cotton by Monsanto in 2002. It also found that the adoption of pest-resistant BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton varieties had led to massive increases in yield and a 40% decrease in pesticide use.
Although there were initially some catastrophic failures of BT cotton varieties for some farmers after their introduction the report said that conventional varieties did equally badly because of drought. By 2006, BT cotton covered 3.8m hectares or more than 39% of the total cotton area. Yields of the crop have nearly doubled since GM varieties were introduced and India is now the largest cotton producer in Asia and has overtaken the US to become the second largest in the world
The researchers analyzed the data from a variety of sources on suicide of the farmers and on the costs and yields from crops. The report identifies a lack of financial support for farmers as a key problem, absence of a safety net or any other insurance support, the ineffective irrigation systems, the presence of abusive banking systems, the wide availability of highly toxic pesticides, and the potential rewards for suicide likely all contributed to farmer suicides. This has nothing to do with the use of new technology.
IFPRI Report:ifpri.org