The research comes just before the EU is set to withdraw a previous resolution which gives support to GM crops. Members of the European Parliament had argued that the resolution flouted the precautionary principle and failed to take account of the poor performance of GM products.
The report highlights the fact that whilst EU funding for GM food technologies runs to at least 80 million Euros a year, funding for ‘environment-friendly’ farming practices and technologies has been ‘marginal’. The authors also point to the fact that although over 70 GM ‘traits’ have been developed, only two have ever been used in commercial applications. By comparison, the report finds that organic farming has comparable yields to conventional farming, uses 30 per cent less energy, uses less water and virtually no pesticides.
Kirtana Chandrasekaran, Food Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, described the continued push for biotech crops as ‘doomed’:
‘GM farming is failing despite the hype, public funding and political will. Greener food production, like organic, stimulates the economy, benefits the environment and is in huge public demand,’ she said.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist March 2007