Farmers in India’s poorest region are recording record rice yields by growing organically, debunking once and for all the myth that GMOs are necessary to feed the world’s growing population.
In a world with an ever-increasing human population, increased food production is of obvious concern. With the world population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, many people, especially those with connections to biotechnology and agrochemical companies, say that genetically modified food (GMO) is necessary in order to satisfy increased global demand for food. However, do we really need GMOs to feed the world?
The unbiased scientific evidence strongly suggests that the answer is no. Genetically modified foods do not increase yields and often damage nearby crops that aren’t genetically engineered to resist herbicides, causing them to actually reduce regional yields. Even the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is often dominated by agrochemical interests, released a report that showed there was no increase in yield potentials for GM crops over the past 15 years. In addition, the majority of GMOs grown aren’t even used to feed hungry people.
In the US, the world’s largest producer of GM crops, 40% of all GM corn is used for ethanol fuel production and the majority of GM soy is used as animal feed. Though one could argue that GM animal feed means increased meat production and cheaper meat, meat production is currently extremely unsustainable and damages the environment. Also, GM-fed animals produce meat that is unhealthy and of low quality.
India’s organic rice revolution
In India, where GM agriculture has proven to be a huge disaster, driving many farmers to suicide over debts to GM seed companies after the technology failed to deliver the promised yields, many farmers are turning to organic methods – and with astonishing results:
“In Bihar, India, farmers are breaking world records for rice production without agrochemicals or GMOs. In 2013, Sumant Kumar and his family produced an astounding 22.4 tons of rice on only one hectare of land, much more than anything achieved by GM seed companies and their expensive herbicides,” Anonymous noted.
The secret to Kumar and other Indian rice farmers’ success is a new organic rice growing method called the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). This breakthrough approach uses different techniques than those of conventional rice farming, including the wide spacing of young rice plants in a square pattern, and avoidance of the traditional method of flooding rice fields.
With the SRI approach, the rice fields are kept moist rather than being flooded, and are fertilized naturally instead of with expensive chemical fertilizers. Rotary weeding is also used, and the end result is greater yields through an approach that also allows farmers to adapt to increasingly unpredictable weather patterns.
The success of the SRI method is proof that natural farming, when appropriately handled, can produce far higher yields than GM farming, and at a lower cost – both in terms of money and damage to the environment- not to point out human health.
The GM farming industry is based on lies and greed. If we genuinely want to feed an increasing world population without endangering ourselves and the environment, organic farming offers the only real solution.