14 Sep 2011

GM film worth a look

The Forest of Dean Friends of the Earth have a great newsletter which picks out all sorts of bits of news. In their latest issue they cover a new film about GM and 10 reasons to avoid GM. I've copied below from the newsletter - the 23 minute film is also worth a look - click read more to see.
Farmer to Farmer  -  a film showing how GM has fared in the US.   

Michael Hart, not an organic but a family farmer farming conventional livestock in Cornwall, travelled across the USA researching and filming how GM crops performed in the field  -  not relying on the propaganda from the GM industry. The reality of farming genetically modified crops in the US 10yrs after their introduction was gleaned from interviews with farmers & other specialists about their experiences of growing GM. 

During the making of the film Hart heard of problems:
Ever increasing costs of seeds and chemicals –  Huge price increases for seeds & sprays - well beyond the price increases farmers have received for their crops, eg the price of seed has gone from $40 to $100+ per acre over the last few years.  Also the single pass theory for GM (only 1 application of herbicide is needed) is a fallacy (just a theory or probably propaganda/sales spiel) and on average 3 or more passes were needed for GM crops.

Weeds becoming resistant to herbicides - As weeds have become more resistant to glyphosate there has been a sharp increase in the use of herbicide tank mixes (most of them patented & owned by the biotech companies). Some farmers had to resort to hand labour to remove weeds because the weeds were doing so well!  The machines were clogging up!   This situation was described on a BBC radio4 program by a US farmer recorded at a tribunal.  In the early days it all looked rosy he said (re GM) so he bought more land & grew more fields of GM crops.  How ironic when it all went pear shaped!  Loadsa fields (even more) then needed ye olde hand weeding which meant more manual labour which meant more cost !

Co-existence - the ability to grow GM crops next to non-GM & organic crops – clear to many that it would be a problem for the future turned out to be so.  The US farmers found it did not happen – what a surprise. A very great problem for organic farmers as their crops would be contaminated & the organic farmer would lose organic certification for his land (all or some)   as “unsolvable” & say that it does not work.

Farmers trapped into the genetically modified biotech system.  In India it has caused 1,000s of suicides.  The US farmers Hart originally interviewed expressed puzzlement then that us Brits were not going GM.  When Hart returned after ~4 years he found that they were cynically dispirited at where they found themselves. urging great caution to be exercised by UK & European farmers in adopting this technology.  See website on which I believe is the film: http://gmcropsfarmertofarmer.com/index.htmlFood Inc, re barns of 100s of ‘mass produced/ grown’ animals – as in attempts in this country.  There are similarities with Hart’s  Farmer to Farmer & the organic farmer in Food Inc , & try to see was a tonic. 

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