Study: farmers in countries that grow GMOs have fewer seed choices

By Ken Roseboro
Published: July 31, 2013

Category: GMO News

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One of the claims of proponents of genetically modified crops is that the introduction of GM seeds increases farmers’ choice when it comes to choosing seeds to grow.

A new published study in Environmental Sciences Europe has found the exact opposite: that farmers in a country that grows GM seeds have seen their seed choices dwindle, while farmers in countries that don’t grow GMOs have seen their seed choices increase.

To estimate how much real world choice corn farmers have in countries with different degrees of GM crop adoption (Austria, Germany, Spain, Switzerland), the researchers used surveys of seed catalogues from local and regional seed suppliers, transnational seed corporations, and public national and European seed registration catalogues as an approximation for real world choices available to farmers.

The researchers found that in the non-adopting European countries, farmers have more corn seed varieties available to them today than they had in the 1990s despite restricting GM varieties. Along with the increasing adoption of GM varieties in Spain, the leading GM corn producing country in Europe, came a decline in farmers’ choices of total numbers of available corn varieties.

The study was conducted by Angelika Hilbeck, Tamara Lebrecht, and Raphaela Vogel, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Institute of Integrative Biology, Switzerland; Jack A. Heinemann, Centre for Integrated Research and School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, New Zealand; and Rosa Binimelis, Center for Agro-food Economy and Development-CREDA-UPC-IRTA, Spain.

(Source: Environmental Sciences Europe)

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