The Misguided Strategy of GE Crops


Dear Friends and Colleagues

The Misguided Strategy of GE Crops

Genetically engineered (GE) crops have been increasingly promoted as a “twenty-first century” solution to hunger and malnutrition as part of the industrial agricultural paradigm that has dominated global agriculture this last half century. Yet, as of 2012, 870 million people suffered from hunger and malnutrition. In fact, in Africa and India, hunger rose by 20 million and 65 million, respectively. Industrial agriculture also accounts for some 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.

These facts are discussed in an article entitled "Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops: A misguided strategy for the twenty-first century?" and published in the journal Development. In essence, it debunks the "misguided narrative" of so-called successes of GE crops. It cites how GE crops have increased pesticide usage dramatically, given rise to widespread weed and insect resistance, and failed to increase yields as promised. The article warns of a second generation of GE crops resistant to far more toxic herbicides such as 2,4-D.

Instead of GE crops to address hunger, the article recommends the global promotion of sustainable agriculture systems such as agroecology, which are low cost, low input, and multi-functional systems appropriate to local conditions. Although these have been shown to be productive systems that reduce chemical and water usage as well as simultaneously enriching soils and enhancing local ecosystems, they have received dismal amounts of funding. The article calls for a 180-degree turn: "Instead of spending the majority of resources on high-cost technologies, we need to redirect substantial means towards food and farm systems that are sensitive to the complexities of local ecosystems, and incorporate broad criteria such as socio-economic policies, cultural histories, resource conservation, and social equity".

The article can be accessed from

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The Misguided Strategy of GE Crops

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