Interviewer: One of the reasons or explanations from GMO, or one of the benefits that we were supposed to be seeing is bringing an end to world hunger. We'd be able to feed more people. Is that proving to be not true?
Jeffrey M. Smith: The experts have come to the conclusion that the current generation of GMO's has nothing to offer, in terms of feeding the hungry, or eradicating poverty, or creating sustainable development.
The "eye-stad" report was offered by more than 400 scientists over many years, sponsored by the UN and WHO, etcetera, to figure out how agriculture was going to feed the world. I mean, dismiss GMO's as irrelevant. In fact one of the leaders said it's not even clear if it provides any benefits. What it does, actually, is it pulls money away from the more appropriate technologies. Agro-ecology is what they recommended, but that's less in favor when there's the sexy, new GMO technology that costs a lot of money, that's not actually good for the developing nations.
One of the theories about GMO's is that it's going to increase yield, and that increasing yield will feed the hungry. Well, both of those assumptions are false. Higher yields is not going to necessarily eradicate hunger, because we have more food per person at any time in history. It's access to the food; it's issues like poverty, and so growing more on its own, the silver bullet, is not going to solve the problem.
But GMO's doesn't even do that. It doesn't improve yield on average. It reduces yield on average. Primarily it's a weeding technology, where you can spray weed killer and not kill the crops, and so it makes weeding easier, but the herbicide tolerant crops that take the weed killer, they tend to have five to ten percent less yield.
The BT toxin will kill certain insects so in some cases it'll increase yield because it'll kill the insects that would be damaging the crop, but it's a tiny increase; much less than the increase that occurs through natural selection every year.
So it doesn't increase yield, it doesn't feed the world, it doesn't reduce the use of agricultural chemicals. There's been about 527 million pounds more herbicide on these GM crops over the first 16 years. It doesn't increase farmer income. It doesn't increase the sector's income, because actually, countries that invest in GMO's tend to reduce exports because so many people don't want to eat them.
What it does do is it increases the bottom line of companies like Monsanto, whose stated goal is to genetically engineer 100 percent of all commercial seeds in the world, and patent it.
One of the benefits of genetically modified foods was supposed to be higher yields, more food and less hunger world-wide. Has that happened? GMO expert Jeffrey M. Smith discusses this part of the GMO equation and whether or not GMOs are in fact, helping feed the hungry around the world.
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