An ad that recently ran during the American Public Media show Marketplace, sponsored by Monsanto, the world’s largest corporate agribusiness chemical firm, touted how Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) seeds are going to save the world from environmental catastrophe and human hunger.
The Monsanto ads are, quite simply, false. The premise of the ad is that Monsanto’s GM seeds are going to save the world from environmental catastrophe and human hunger, but the reality of Monsanto’s seeds and the company’s ethics and commitment to fighting world hunger have little to do with either.
Eighty-five percent of all GM seeds are engineered for herbicide tolerance, most of these being Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” cotton, corn, soy, and canola seeds. This allows plants to withstand significant amounts of pesticides being sprayed on it, in effect promoting pesticide use. As a result, there has been an increase in pesticide use in the United States since the introduction of GM seeds. Since the introduction of GM crops in the United States, more than 120 million pounds of additional pesticides were used.
At the same time, not a single GM crop has been commercially introduced that is intended to increase yield. Agronomists and plant scientists made far greater advances in yields through conventional breeding methods than they ever have with GM crops. In fact, there have been several studies which show that there are actually yield losses associated with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans. GM crops are not feeding the world, and they are not enabling us to produce more.
Monsanto wants you to believe their crops are feeding hungry children in Africa, and that they are allowing farmers to use fewer chemicals. But do their actions demonstrate that their concern lies solely in their profits?