GM food production increasing
“Chinese government public outreach efforts and other media are explaining the benefits and development of agricultural biotechnology products. Despite these efforts, consumer opinion appears somewhat mixed as some prefer to believe rumors spread by scholars, non-government organizations, and others who may not be very supportive of agricultural biotechnology,” the report contended.
The other country currently needing much more food than it can produce is India. The country only has 4 percent of the world’s arable land but has to feed 18 percent of the global population, and it isn’t going to do anything but get worse. The debate in India about GM food crops has to be about food security. India currently only grows GM cotton, according to ISAAA, and it totaled 10.6 million hectares in 2011. Getting additional GM crops registered has been road blocked as the approval process has lost its transparency, more than one publication has noted.
EUROPEANS’ UNFOUNDED CLAIMS
Much of the same lack of confidence of biotech foods exists in India and throughout the world because of the European Union spreading its unfounded concerns about biotech foods and a fringe U.S. scientific community spreading negative quasi science.
Direct consumption of GM foods such as tomatoes are very limited in production in a small number of countries today. It is also easy for crackpots in undeveloped countries to spread rumors that cast doubt on GM food production to uneducated populations. An example is a Honduran activist who has been quoted as claiming GM crops can cause people to contract AIDS, and that is just one example of the completely outrageous claims that are being put forward to dissuade undeveloped nations’ people and governments from accepting GM foods.
Even with crazy talk against GM crops in Central and South America, the Americas as a whole is by far the leader in GM food and feed production with 12 countries growing GM crops and six of those countries are in the top 10 for 2011 production. In million hectares, the hectares are U.S., 69; Brazil, 30.3; Argentina, 23.7; Canada, 10.4; Paraguay, 2.8; and Uruguay, 1.3.
Brazil probably has the most rapidly expanding GM crop production. The projections are that Brazil will increase its biotech crops by 15 percent for 2012-2013 cropping (Oct. 2012 to Sept. 2013). Much of that anticipated increase is because of new biotech corn approvals, according to the USDA/FAS.
Science doesn’t support limiting GM crop production, and Europe needs to join the 21st century as the European Commission’s chief scientific advisor is quoted as suggesting. “There is no substantial case of any adverse impact on human health, animal health or environmental health, so that’s pretty robust evidence, and I would be confident in saying that there is no more risk in eating GMO food than eating conventionally farmed food,” said Commissioner Anne Glover as published by EurActiv.com.
What seems to scare governments is that once a country allows GM food production it is a no-return path to follow. New GM crops are not going to stop being developed, and what would be the rationale for approving one GM crop and not the next? That is the big question even today as countries approve one crop and refuse registration for another crop with similar registration documentation, data packages?