NON-GMO Rus­sia Grows Bumper Crops in 2017

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Rus­sia, known for its strong stance against ge­net­i­cal­ly­mod­i­fied crops, has in 2017 pro­duced its best wheat crop yield since 1978.

Rus­sia’s wheat pro­duc­tion this year de­liv­ered a record­high 81 mil­lion tons, ac­cord­ing to Septem­ber 12 fig­ures pro­vided by the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture in its lat­est pub­lished World Agri­cul­tural Sup­ply and De­mand Es­ti­mates. That is up by 3.5 mil­lion tons from the pre­vi­ous num­ber.

Proz­erno, a Moscow-based grain con­sul­tant, projects to­tal corn pro­duc­tion in the coun­try to close at 16.3 mil­lion tons, yet another record.

Other crops, such as peas and corn, are also ex­pected to reach close to record lev­els within Rus­sia.

These num­bers are high enough that the big­ger prob­lem Rus­sia is cur­rently fac­ing re­gard­ing those crops is where to store them all.

As an ex­pla­na­tion for what has been hap­pen­ing this year in Rus­sia, the USDA sum­mary cites “ex­cel­lent grow­ing con­di­tions” for why this year was such a ban­ner one. From the Rus­sian side, Vladimir Pet­richenko, gen­eral direc­tor of Proz­erno, said that “more funds are in­vested in the in­dus­try, which al­lows us­ing qual­ity seeds, plant pro­tec­tion prod­ucts and ef­fi­cient ma­chin­ery.”

Not bad for a coun­try when Pres­i­dent Dmitry Medvedev of Rus­sia an­nounced in 2014 (only three years ago) that Rus­sia would no longer im­port GMO prod­ucts. As Medvedev said at the time, “If the Amer­i­cans like to eat GMO prod­ucts, let them eat them. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and op­por­tu­ni­ties to pro­duce or­ganic food.”

The coun­try’s lead­ing sci­en­tists backed up Medvedev strongly. As Irina Er­makova, vice-pres­i­dent of Rus­sia’s Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Ge­netic Safety, said con­cur­rently with Medvedev’s an­nounce­ment, “It is nec­es­sary to ban GMOS, to im­pose [a] mora­to­rium [on them] for 10 years. While GMOS will be pro­hib­ited, we can plan ex­per­i­ments [and] tests, or maybe even new meth­ods of re­search could be de­vel­oped. It has been proven that not only in Rus­sia, but also in many other coun­tries in the world, GMOS are dan­ger­ous. Meth­ods of ob­tain­ing the GMOS are not per­fect; there­fore, at this stage, all GMOS are dan­ger­ous. Con­sump­tion and use of GMOS ob­tained in such a way can lead to tu­mors, can­cers and obe­sity among an­i­mals. Biotech­nolo­gies cer­tainly should be de­vel­oped, but GMOS should be stopped. We should stop from spread­ing.”

No mat­ter where one stands on the is­sue of GMOS and their harm­ful pes­ti­cide and her­bi­cide part­ners made from poi­sonous glyphosate, some­thing is ob­vi­ously work­ing quite well this year in very-much-non-gmo-crop Rus­sia.

Photo by Игорь Сикорский, CC

Photo by Janai Robin­son, CC

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