China: Surge in pests around cotton farms
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
Scientists are calling for the long-term risks of GM crops to be reassessed after field studies revealed an explosion in pest numbers around farms which have been growing modified strains of cotton, The Guardian reports. Millions of hectares of farmland in northern China have been struck by infestations of bugs following the widespread adoption of Bt cotton, a variety made by Monsanto.
Outbreaks of mirid bugs, which can devastate around 200 varieties of fruit, vegetable and corn crops, have risen dramatically in the past decade, as cotton farmers have shifted from traditional cotton crops to GM crops. A 10-year study across six major cotton-growing regions of China found that by spraying their crops less, farmers allowed mirid bugs to thrive and infest their own and neighbouring farms. The findings are the first confirmed report of mass infestations after the planting of Bt cotton, which was supposed to save money and lessen the crops' environmental impact.
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