Do we need GM?
GMWatch launches new resource on non-GM breakthroughs
Does mention of allergen-free peanuts, striga-resistant cowpeas, salt-resistant wheat, beta-carotene rich sweet potatoes, virus-resistant cassavas make you think of GM?
If so, you've missed the great unpublished story all the non-GM breakthroughs solving precisely the kind of problems (drought-resistance, salt-resistance, biofortification etc.) that GM proponents claim only genetic modification can provide the answer to.
While often speculative claims of potential GM "miracles" win vast amounts of column inches, the many non-GM success stories generally get minimal if any reporting in the popular media. Without GM's often exaggerated crisis narratives and claimed silver bullet solutions, it seems there is no story!
The biotechnology industry and its PR people are keen to keep it that way, particularly because the non-GM solutions are often way ahead of the work on GM. They also bring none of the uncertainties that surround GM.
All of this makes keeping track of the many non-GM success stories especially important. That's why we have created a new section on our website - NEEDGM? - to do exactly that.
Check out NEEDGM? http://bit.ly/dIua50
NEEDGM? has an introduction that explains how the lack of success with GM "solutions" can lead to non-GM successes being claimed as GM breakthroughs. It also explains how GM crops that are touted as breakthroughs often, in reality, derive their breakthrough qualities from *non-GM* plant breeding.
NEEDGM? also breaks down the non-GM breakthroughs we catalogue into a series of separate sections:
* Drought resistance
* Flood resistance
* Pest resistance
* Salt tolerance
* Disease resistance
* Health promoting
* High yield
* Biocontrols and aflatoxin
* Tolerance to specific soil and weather conditions
* Industrial use
These sections show, for example, that although there has been a massive amount of hype about how GM is the way to deliver drought-resistant crops to help survive climate change, and repeated claims that GM is the speedy way to get results, it is actually non-GM plant breeding that is delivering the goods.
Indeed, in our non-GM "Drought resistance" section, we already have a list of about 20 different non-GM breakthroughs in Africa and countries like India. And some of these non-GM drought resistant crops are already working successfully and becoming popular in farmers' fields.
For instance, Dr Gebisa Ejeta of Ethiopia has bred sorghum hybrids that are not only resistant to drought but also resist the devastating Striga weed. Dr Ejeta's non-GM sorghum has already increased the production and availability of one of the world's five principal grains and enhanced the food supply of hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.
Imagine the hoopla if a GM crop had ever done anything remotely like that! Instead, to date there is not a single GM-bred drought resistant variety of any crop that's available on the market. Is it any wonder that Dr Ejeta told Bill Gates, Jeffrey Sachs and other avid GM promoters that, "Africa is not hungry because of lack of biotechnology"?
And remember, "Drought resistance" is just one example of the amazing non-GM breakthroughs that have been happening. Imagine how much more could be achieved if vast amounts of time, attention and funding did not keep being diverted by those with vested interests into highly expensive GM projects
NEEDGM? also provides a chronological index of the non-GM breakthroughs we've catalogued.
Find out about the quiet revolution! http://bit.ly/dIua50