GMO Crops & Feeding the World
According to the World Health Organization, there is more than enough food to feed the global population. Hunger is the result of distribution and infrastructure problems, and it won’t be eliminated by growing genetically engineered crops (commonly called GMOs).
The companies that develop and market GMOs may promise that they will produce greater yields and solve the world’s food shortages, but recent studies show that GMO yields are hardly keeping pace with non-GMO crops. Farmers growing GMO crops have had to rely on ramping up their use of toxic weed killers and struggle with the evolution of herbicide-resistant “superweeds.”
Furthermore, it’s a myth that U.S. farms “feed the world.” American producers only grow 4 percent of the world’s fruit, vegetables, wheat and rice (see graphic below) – and less than 8 percent of overall global food calories.
Moreover, for U.S. food manufacturers that do export GMO food to any of the 64 countries around the world that require labeling, disclosing the presence of genetically engineered ingredients in their products is just another part of doing business.
A Closer Look At GMO Yields
Recent data expose biotech’s broken promise of higher yields from GMO crops:
- Feeding the World Without GMOs Environmental Working Group
This EWG analysis debunks the myth that we need GMOs to feed the world, noting that GMO crops in the US are no more productive than non-GMO crops in western Europe.
- Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops
Union of Concerned Scientists
This report, one of the first independent studies to measure the impact of GMO crops, concluded that they have not raised the intrinsic or potential yield of any crop. To the contrary, it found that traditional seed breeding has been the root cause of successful efforts to boost yields.
- Glyphosate-Resistant Soybean Cultivar Yields Compared with Sister Lines
University of Nebraska
Some GMO crops actually generate lower yields that non-GMO varieties. This paper described a field trial of soybeans that resulted in a 50 percent drop in the yield of GMO varieties because of gene disruption.
- Adoption of Bioengineered Crops
U.S. Department of Agriculture
“GE crops available for commercial use do not increase the yield potential of a variety. In fact, yield may even decrease… Perhaps the biggest issue raised by these results is how to explain the rapid adoption of GE crops when farm financial impacts appear to be mixed or even negative.”
Researchers at the Drought-Tolerant Maize project found that conventionally bred varieties had up to 30 percent higher yields than GMO varieties.
- Sustainability and Innovation in Staple Crop Production in the U.S. Midwest
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
This study found that between 1986 and 2010 U.S. yields of predominantly (more than 90 percent) GMO corn were lower than yields of conventionally bred corn grown in Western Europe.