JCR report on economic benefits of GM crops
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
According to a new study of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) growing GM crops could bring farmers economic benefits from savings on herbicides, pesticides and machinery. Previously, say the pro GMO-authors of the study, it was thought that those benefits came from higher yields. More than 10 years ago, GM crops like cotton, maize, rapeseed and soybeen have been taken up – from 2.8 million hectares in 1996 to an estimated 90 million hectares in 2005. Those crops are grown in more than 20 countries worldwide. The only country in Europe growing a GM crop for commercial purposes at a significant rate is Spain.
The report finds that for some GM crops, the difference between their yield and that of conventional crops is almost negligible. However, the yield of some other GM crops, like cotton for example, has been much higher, the study showed, referring to reports from China, India, Argentina and South Africa of yields from Bt cotton crops, which are between 10 % and 87 % higher than the yields of conventional cotton. From Spain, it was reported that the yields of Bt maize was under 5 % higher than of traditional crops.
In addition, the report also forecasts the "benefits" if more EU countries should decide to grow such crops. It estimates that if 75 % of French rapeseed farmers grew the GM variant, they would save € 24 million in weeding costs per season. Similar "benefits" were calculated in the UK. Finally, the report shows the potential costs that farmers may incur in order to adhere to the EU guidelines on co-existence. The main measures are the cleaning of harvesting machinery, the introduction of isolation distances between GM and ordinary crops, and the planting of buffer strips of ordinary crops around GM plots. The full report can be seen here.
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