Seeds of hope
THE LETTER HEADLINED “Seeds of destruction” (23 October), by Anonymous, raises numerous unsubstantiated fears over the safety of genetically modified (GM) foods. The seeds are not destructive: in fact, they’re the only significant agricultural development offering farmers higher yields and better quality produce. More food from the same land to alleviate hunger in a world where more than 800m people go to bed hungry every night. Seeds of hope.
No food has been as rigorously tested as GM. After three years of intensive research, the Royal Society of London – one of the world’s leading academies of science – concluded that “genetic modification doesn’t make food inherently less safe than conventional food” (Royal Society report on human health 2002).
Six international academies of science concurred: Brazil, China, India, Mexico, the Third World Academy of Science and The National Academy of Science of the US.
After the European Commission had funded a bio safety programme over 15 years, involving more than 400 scientists and costing US$64m, it came to the conclusion: “GM
food may even be safer than conventional food.”
South Africa has been growing GM crops for 10 years. More than 60% of our maize is GM, soya 80% and cotton 90%. In the first nine years, cumulatively, 14,673m metric tons of GM maize was produced and consumed each year by 40m South Africans without as much as a tummy ache or any adverse effects to the environment or animal health.
The allegation that Monsanto protects its seeds with terminator genes/seeds is nonsense. There’s no such product produced commercially anywhere worldwide.
In 2007, 12m farmers in 23 countries on six continents planted 114,3m hectares of GM crops. A 12% growth, exceeding organic by millions of hectares. Farmers aren’t stupid: they’ll not plant crops that are to their detriment.