One of the only major global crops to avoid the dominating influence of the biotech industry, wheat farmers around the world are now facing serious threats of being replaced by corn, soy and other genetically engineered crops unless the industry adopts GM wheat, according to Shannon Schlecht, director of policy at the U.S. Wheat Associates.
Since 1991, the wheat industry has lost major ground in the U.S.—dwindling from nearly 80 million acres to less than 60 million acres this year—mostly due to the aggressive GM industry, which promises farmers higher yield and lower pest infestations in soy, corn, cotton and canola, even despite new research published in a report titled “The Global Citizens’ Report on the State of GMOs”, which suggests that GM crops are not living up to the high yield claims made by the industry. Farmers are now facing a number of issues from seeds like Monsanto’s Roundup Ready corn, soy, cotton and canola like new ‘superweeds‘ and insects that are developing resistance to the plants and the companion glyphosate pesticide, Roundup.
In an article in FoodNavigator.com, Schlecht said, “twenty years ago wheat was king,” but cites biotech’s advances and new crops like drought-resistant corn that will further marginalize wheat’s viability as a major competitor in the global market.
While most of Europe still maintains a strict anti-GMO policy, the U.K. has recently given approval to Rothamsted Research to explore the benefits of growing GM wheat—the nation’s most important crop often victim to aphid infestations.
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Image: The Knowles Gallery