ISAAA Developing Countries Report on GM Crops Slammed by GM Freeze

Posted on Feb 21 2013 - 6:41pm by Sustainable Pulse

Developing countries now grow more hectares of GM crops than industrialized countries, according to the biased Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops 2012 report, released by ISAAA on Thursday.

GM Crops

Developing nations planted 52 percent of the global biotech crops in 2012, up from 50 percent a year earlier and above the 48 percent industrial countries grew last year.

GM Freeze slammed the report as “rose tinted and fails to describe the growing opposition and problems with GM crops”

ISAAA’s press release states that the report “underscores rising awareness in developing countries about the benefits of planting genetically modified crops, which not only have increased yields, but also bring savings in fuel, time and machinery, reduction in pesticide use, higher quality of product and more growing cycles.”  Write  to ISAAA to comment on this report here

Pete Riley the GM Freeze founder commented: “As usual the industry funded ISAAA report is rose tinted and fails to describe the growing opposition and problems with GM crops. Globally farmers and government’s are beginning to see that GM crops are failing  to deliver promised benefits and in fact are creating new problems.

In the US , the home of GM crops, weed resistance is now a major problem in the all three main GM crops, cotton, maize and soya, to the extent that a new arsenal of weed killers is being assembled to deal with them.  So much for claims of cheaper and simpler weed control.

Increasingly smaller farmers in India are regretting falling for Monsanto’s sales patter as the Bt cotton varieties don’t meet their needs as farmers with limited access to irrigation and chemical inputs. New pest problems are also emerging.

ISAAA’s attempt to blow the trumpet for GM crops becomes less and less convincing as the years progress. Many governments recognise that GM crops are not providing the solutions and they are looking to other approaches like Marker Assisted Selection used in conventional plant breeding. However, the UK government seems more than happy to repeat the ISAAA style rhetoric at every opportunity!”

The truth is that GM crops still only occupy a tiny percentage of global farmland (3.4% of all farmed land)) and are only a small minority of farmers (17. 3 million out of a total 513 million(3.4%)). One less country grew GM crops in 2012 compared to 2011 (28 down from 29). Brazil alone accounted for nearly two thirds of the increase in global area in 2012. In the US expansion slowed to less than a 1% increase in 2012

Many key facts are completely ignored or glossed over by the latest ISAAA report published today:

In Europe:

  • The complete withdrawal of BASF from the EU market due failure to capture market share for the GM industrial starch altered potato Amflora.[1]
  • A ban on commercial growing GM crops in seven EU Member State.[2]
  • GM crops are only grown in five out of 27 Members Sates in 2012.[3]
  • A reduction in area of GM maize grown in four of the six countries where it is grown.[4]
  • A steep decline in the number of GM test site applications in Europe from over 100 in 2009 to 41 in 2012.[5]

In Americas GM crops resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate (Monsanto brand name Round Up) remain the lead product followed by insect-resistant crops (Bt crops):

  • In a 2012 industry survey forty nine percent of farmers reported glyphosate resistant weeds (super weeds).[6]
  • Since Roundup Ready crops were introduced in 1996, 11 new glyphosate resistant weed species in maize, soya and cotton crops in the US.[7]
  • Growing weed resistance to glyphosate in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay in RR crops.[8]
  • Six US states report growing resistance to Bt crops in rootworm pests in GM maize.[9]
  • Peru has a 10 year moratorium on GM crops in place. [10]

In India:

  • Biopiracy charges  have been made against a Monsanto owned seed company.[11]
  • The State of Maharashtra banned Bt cotton seed sales following crops failure and very high farmer suicide rates.[12]
  • A nationwide10 year Moratorium on Bt Brinjal (aubergine) has been introduced. [13]
  • Bt resistant bollworms have been confirm in Gujarat.[14]

In Africa:

  • Kenya has banned GM import in 2012 [15]
  • 400 farmer, consumer and business organisations have called upon the African Union to ban GMOs [16].


  • South Australia has a long term ban on GM oilseed rape [17]



1. BASF, 29 January 2013. “BASF to expand its plant biotechnology research into fungal resistance in corn”

2.Friends of the Earth Europe GM crops irrelevant in Europe February 2013

3. Friends of the Earth Europe GM crops irrelevant in Europe February 2013

4. Friends of the Earth Europe GM crops irrelevant in Europe February 2013

5. See Plant research in Europe; few New GM Plants

6. See Glyphosate Resistance Spreads in the U.S.

7. Heap, I.  The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds.  Online. Internet. Wednesday, February 20, 2013 .

8 Heap, I.  The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds.  Online. Internet.  Wednesday, February 20, 2013.  Available

9. University of Illinois Extension, press release 28 September 2011. “New Reports of Severe Rootworm Damage in Bt Corn”. Available at

10. See

11.. Mitra A, 2013. National Biodiversity Authority files case against Monsanto-Mahyco.

12. The Times of India, 2012. Maharashtra bans Bt cotton seeds

13. Devjah R., 2010 India bans cultivation of Bt brinjal.

14. Monsanto, 5 May 2010. “Cotton in India”. Available at

15. USDA,2012. Kenya Bans Genetically Modified Food Imports Gain Report 27th November 2011

16. African Civil Society Calls on the African Union to Ban Genetically Modified Crops



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