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GM uptake figures are not accurate

A recent SciDev.Net article appears to accept unquestioningly figures released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) that suggest that genetically modified (GM) crops are being taken up twice as fast in developing as in developed countries (see Poor nations take the lead in GM).

However, there is research that contradicts ISAAA's statistics. GMWatch, for example, has compared ISAAA data with other data from a biotech industry source and scientific sources, and finds that ISAAA’s data gives figures up to 20 times larger than other sources (see http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=2285).

Remember also that much of the GM crops planted in Argentina and Brazil have not involved the paying of royalties to Monsanto, thus artificially facilitating their spread.

In addition to not charging technology fees in Argentina, the company discounted the cost of the accompanying herbicide Roundup to encourage uptake (although they are regretting that decision now – a recent Reuters report revealed that Monsanto is leaving Argentina after being unable to recoup their technology fees when farmers saved their GM seed and planted it).

In Brazil, most of the GM soya planted so far has been illegally smuggled across the border. In both of these cases, if farmers had had to pay high fees for GM seeds, the uptake would probably have been much less.

In such instances, it is important for organisations such as SciDev.Net to consider the source of the information. False data presented as fact can be very damaging, especially from bodies that present themselves as objective and scientific.