Saturday, February 9, 2013


Guardian Environment Network When Monsanto revolutionised agriculture with a line of genetically engineered seeds, the promise was that the technology would lower herbicide use - because farmers would have to spray less. In fact, as Washington State University researcher Chuch Benbrook has shown, just the opposite happened. Sixteen years on, Roundup (Monsanto's tradename for its glyphosate herbicide) has certainly killed lots of weeds. But the ones it has left standing are about as resistant to herbicide as the company's Roundup Ready crops, which are designed to survive repeated applications of the agribusiness giant's own Roundup herbicide. 
"Fight resistant weeds with fall, spring attack," declares a headline in Delta Farm Press, a farming trade magazine serving the Mississippi river delta. In 2005, Italian ryegrass resistant to the commonly used herbicide glyphosate was first identified in the state.

Since then, it has been found in 31 Mississippi counties and is widespread throughout the delta. This glyphosate-resistant weed emerges in the fall and grows throughout winter and early spring. The solution: To combat the plague of resistant Italian ryegrass, Mississippi's cotton farmers must hit their fields with a "residual" herbicide in the fall - meaning one that hangs around in soil long enough to kill ryegrass for a while, and then come back with yet another herbicide in the spring, to make sure the job has been done. 
This multi-poison approach to weed control, apparently, is what passes for "integrated pest management" - purportedly a system of low-pesticide crop protection - these days. "The integrated pest management program we recommend uses fall residual herbicides to help reduce the overall population and numbers," [Mississippi State University extension professor Tom] Eubank said.

Instead of the supposed revolution in agriculture that Monsato's GM seeds were meant to bring, the opposite effect has occurred - a rise in herbicide use. Cotton farmers in Mississippi, where cotton, corn, and soy farmers have been using Roundup Ready seeds for years, are now struggling to contain a new generation of super weeds including Italian ryegrass. Producers should come back in the spring or late winter with an alternative herbicide program that attacks the plant using a different mode of action. In lieu of crop rotation and biodiversity (the non-toxic way to control weeds), it has promoted the so-called "diversified herbicide program". And thus we get a clear look at why, since the introduction of Roundup Ready seeds in the 1990s, herbicide use has spiked. 

Well, so far in these 20 years of commercialization of GM crops (and we're not talking about the future we are talking about an experiment of twenty years), there are only two traits that have commercialized on a large scale. One is a family of crops called the BT crops in which a toxin is taken from a soil organism and put into the plant. The claim is that it will control one pest called the boll worm. But that pest has become resistant and new pests have been created. In India 13 times more pesticide is being used on cotton compared to what was being used before. The second family is the Round Up resistant crops or the herbicide resistant crops. These herbicide resistant crops were supposed to control weeds. Instead, the US has fifteen million hectares of land overtaken by super weeds that can't be controlled by Round Up. Now they are asking farmers to spray Agent Orange that was sprayed in Vietnam.

Dr. Vandana Shiva
"Why Monsanto Is Fighting Tooth and Nail Against
California's Prop 37?"
by Sonali Kolhatkar and Vandana Shiva

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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