February 17, 2013

New Study Reinforces the Existing Evidence – GMOs Don’t Increase Yield

Filed under: Food and Farms — Tags: — Russ @ 7:42 am


Yet another study proving that GMOs do not increase yield, and more often decrease it. This one’s from the University of Wisconsin.
For a general audience, or arguing in mixed company, I think the right line of attack on GMOs is:
1. Describe how the evidence record proves they’re less nutritious and are poisonous. All independent studies have produced evidence of toxicity. Even industry studies, as rigged as they’ve been, have usually had to suppress their own evidence of toxicity. Meanwhile, although the system has always slandered the real studies, from Pusztai to Seralini, attacking their methodology, it has never cared to repeat these studies using allegedly better methodology. (But that’s the way science works: If you think the study was flawed, you fix the alleged flaw and repeat the study.) That in itself is proof that the biotech corporations don’t really think these studies gave false results.
2. Describe how every claim made for GMOs is a lie: They don’t increase yield; they result in more, not less, herbicide and pesticide use; they inevitably generate superweeds and superbugs against themselves; they inevitably contaminate the environment; they economically harm, not help, farmers.
3. As for the “Feed the World” Big Lie, this is disproven by the fact that we already produce vastly more than enough food for everyone, enough right now for over ten billion people. Yet two billion are food insecure or flat out hungry. This proves that industrial ag cannot feed the world because it doesn’t want to feed the world. This proves that all hunger issues are purely artificial, are purely about depraved distribution systems, and never about insufficient quantity. GMOs, of course, represent a doubling down on industrial ag.




  1. “The U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance”

    The Nyéléni Declaration, named after a seminal food sovereignty forum in Mali in 1007, articulates the six key attributes of food sovereignty. Excerpted from the original, they are:

    Focuses on Food for People: Food sovereignty stresses the right to sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food for all individuals, peoples and communities. Food sovereignty rejects the proposition that food is just another commodity for international agribusiness.

    Values Food Providers: Food sovereignty values and supports the contributions of, and respects the rights of, women and men, peasants and small-scale family farmers, pastoralists, artisanal fishers, forest dwellers, indigenous peoples, and agricultural and fisheries workers, who cultivate, grow, harvest and process food.

    Localizes Food Systems: Food sovereignty puts providers and consumers at the center of decision-making on food issues; protects food providers from the dumping of food and food aid; and resists governance structures, agreements and practices that depend on and promote unsustainable and inequitable international trade and give power to remote and unaccountable corporations.

    Makes Decisions Locally: Food sovereignty seeks control over and access to territory, land, grazing, water, seeds, livestock and fish populations for local food providers. These resources ought to be used and shared in socially and environmentally sustainable ways that conserve diversity.

    Builds Knowledge and Skills: Food sovereignty builds on the skills and local knowledge of food providers and their local organizations that conserve, develop and manage localized food production and harvesting systems, and that pass on this wisdom to future generations. Food sovereignty rejects technologies that undermine, threaten or contaminate these, e.g., genetic engineering.

    Works with Nature: Food sovereignty seeks to heal the planet so that the planet may heal us; and rejects methods that harm ecosystems, and depend on energy-intensive monocultures and other industrialized production methods.


    Comment by Pete — February 17, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

  2. Russ, I found this link on NC this morning on India’s rice revolution. Guardian

    “In a village in India’s poorest state, Bihar, farmers are growing world record amounts of rice – with no GM, and no herbicide. Is this one solution to world food shortages?” Guardian

    The story made me feel optimistic -that your fight is winnable. I’m in no position to judge it. I’m just a consumer and know I don’t like the end result of ruthless corporate-driven science screwing around with my food. Maybe you and others could weigh in on the merits of the article.

    Comment by Leeanne — February 17, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

    • Hi Leeanne,

      I saw the piece. It’s a typical description of what happens when small farmers apply agroecological techniques. These organic methods are the best in every way – absolute production, production relative to industrial ag, and in every way politically, socioeconomically, environmentally, and in terms of animal treatment.

      The piece has some nonsense, like repeating hoary old lies about what the “green revolution” previously accomplished, and it repeats the “Feed the World” Big Lie (that there’s any problem whatsoever with quantity of production). It also looks like the system’s determined to crush this particular efflorescence through co-optation as fast as it can.

      But on the whole the piece is a good description of what agroecology is accomplishing, and can accomplish everywhere.

      This quote:

      “For 40 years now, says Uphoff, science has been obsessed with improving seeds and using artificial fertilisers: “It’s been genes, genes, genes. There has never been talk of managing crops. Corporations say ‘we will breed you a better plant’ and breeders work hard to get 5-10% increase in yields. We have tried to make agriculture an industrial enterprise and have forgotten its biological roots.””

      puts me in mind of this piece.


      It describes the night-and-day aspect of Monsanto propaganda about farmers. Prior to commercialization of GM varieties, the line is that GMOs are great because they greatly simplify agriculture. “It’s all in the seed”, whose planting and growing are depicted as idiot-proof. The farmer is implicitly depicted as a moron and as a helpless child who needs to be taken by the hand of government and corporations. (This is the current AGRA/Obama/Monsanto line in pushing a “second green revolution” for Africa. Needless to say, here especially there’s a heavy undercurrent of racism involved.)

      But once farmers have been swindled and strong-armed into adopting GM varieties and are on the treadmill, the propaganda lauds them as visionaries who selected GMOs out of their great discernment and expertise. Monsanto’s just breathlessly excited and honored to be along for the ride with these heroes.

      Since it’s the MSM, the piece has to include lies from “the other side”. This one was unintentionally too honest: “SRI is good for small farmers who rely on their own families for labour, but not necessarily for larger operations.” Yes. That’s a feature, not a bug as industrial ag would have it. It’s precisely those industrial, corporate larger operations which are a plague on the Earth and humanity. Same for the fact that from the corporate point of view it’s “labor-intensive”. From the point of view of smallholders growing for themselves and their own communities, that’s a GOOD thing.

      But in an absolute sense it’s not very labor intensive. Small organic farmers, using modern agroecological techniques, have to do far less work than their predecessors for higher output. As always, it’s only the top-down artificial pressures of the corporate/government system that force us to “work” so hard.

      Comment by Russ — February 18, 2013 @ 2:03 am

      • Thank you Russ. Thank you for your response and lessons in Ag Propaganda 101. I read every word and every link carefully (I’m a very slow reader) and can honestly say I am better informed and more involved, particularly in my reading, as a result. This issue affects all of us profoundly.

        There’s a difference between feeling some compassion for a sad story and real compassion. It makes me close to weeping to think of families and communities and cultures all over the world being bullied and destroyed by ruthless people operating lawlessly under the US military umbrella of multinational corporations fat on the prosperity they’ve inherited, corrupted and stolen from their betters.

        So that’s the silver lining of this abomination coming home to roost against the American people -without awareness there can be no reform. So, thank you again Russ, for all that you do on your blog toward raising that awareness

        Comment by Leeanne — February 24, 2013 @ 9:50 am

      • Thanks LeeAnne. I’m glad anyone’s still reading. Sometimes I feel in quite the horse latitudes these days.

        (I need a real website and forum, not this rickety blog.)

        It makes me sick too, but I’m confident that we’ll win in the end. Like you say, the food police themselves will increasingly be the teachers of the movement. Meanwhile, around the world there’s an increasing will to fight, and there’s reason to think the assault wave is peaking and will soon start to be rolled back.

        Guess what – replying to you inspired me to try to post that comment in that thread at NC. It never appeared – looks like those same old stupid glitches are still rampant.

        Comment by Russ — February 24, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

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