|Bill Gates gestures during the IFAD meeting in Rome|
Bill Gates: We Need Genetically Modified Seeds, Common Dreams, 23 February 2012
At a forum of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates pressed the need for genetically modified seeds in the developing world, and the need for a "digital revolution" to meet the needs of the world's farmers.However:
Gates' claims that genetically modified crops double or triple smaller farmers' yields have been challenged by recent research.
Gates announced $200 million in new grants from his foundation to finance research on a new type of drought-resistant maize.
"Genetic engineering has failed to increase the yield of any food crop but has vastly increased the use of chemicals and the growth of "superweeds", according to a report by 20 Indian, south-east Asian, African and Latin American food and conservation groups representing millions of people."And:
- GM Crops Promote Superweeds, Food Insecurity and Pesticides, say NGOs, John Vidal, the Guardian
“Bill Gates may be a smart guy in terms of computer programming, and an expert on how to become a billionaire, but he obviously knows nothing about agriculture other than what Monsanto and the biotech industry have told him.How does he come to these conclusions? It's like he's living in a bubble.
Eighteen years after the introduction of the first genetically engineered crops, there is no evidence, including data from the pro-biotech USDA, that these energy and chemical-intensive crops increase yield, improve nutrition, or provide greater yields under adverse weather conditions of drought or heavily rains.
On the contrary hundreds of studies, including those by peer-reviewed scientists and the U.N.’s FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) indicate that organic crops provide significantly higher levels of vitamins, nutrients, and cancer-fighting anti-oxidants; that organic crops have significantly higher yields during periods of drought and torrential rain; and that agro-ecological or organic farms produce 2-10 times great yields than industrial-scale chemical and GMO farms.
In others words, not only can organic farming and ranching feed the world, but in fact it is the only way that we will ever be able to feed the world.”
- Ronnie Cummins, International Director of the Organic Consumers Association, to Common Dreams