From Bio Journal - January 2010

GM crop approvals for November 2010

Table 1: GM crops approved for open field cultivation (Type 1 usage)
(Biodiversity Impact Assessment Investigative Commission)
NameApproval Date*
CarnationViolet color and chlorosulfuron herbicide toleranceSuntory Holdings Ltd.25958, OECD UI: IFD-25958-311 November 2010
CarnationViolet color and chlorosulfuron herbicide toleranceSuntory Holdings Ltd.26407, OECD UI: IFD-26407-211 November 2010
SoybeanHigh oleic acid content; ALS inhibitor and glyphosate herbicide toleranceDuPont305423 × 40.3.2, OECD UI: DP-305423-1 × MON-04032-611 November 2010
MaizeLepidoptera pest resistance; glyphosinate and glyphosate herbicide toleranceSyngentaBt11 × MIR162 × B.t.CrylF maize line 1507 × GA21, OECD UI: SYN-BT011-1 × SYN-IR162-4 × DAS-01507-1 × MON-00021-911 November 2010
MaizeAryloxyalkanoate-type herbicide toleranceDow Chemical Japan Ltd.DAS40278, OECD UI: DAS40278-911 November 2010
* Technically, approval is granted after public comments have been accepted.

Closeup: IAASTD evaluation of GM crops

Established in 2003, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is a project to conduct an overall assessment on the most effective science and technology for agriculture. The assessment process was initiated by the World Bank and organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are cooperating with the procedures. It is the worldfs largest agricultural assessment body. The IAASTD assessment of GM crops, released in April 2008, was extremely negative. According to a summary by Professor Jack A. Heinemann of Canterbury University, the assessment of GM crops is as follows.

GM crops have no merits
  1. Although it is now 14 years since GM crops went on the market, there is no evidence to indicate a general, sustained or reliable increase in yields.
  2. There is no evidence to indicate a sustained decrease in the the expenditures of farmers who grow GM crops, or a sustained or reliable income increase.
  3. There is no evidence to indicate a sustained reduction in pesticide or herbicide use. In fact, the use of some herbicides has dramatically increased and the options for weed suppression practices of traditional farmers have been reduced due to the characteristic spraying methods used for GM crops.
  4. Almost none of the GM crops were developed with the goal of raising yields, but for the purpose of selling a specific herbicide or insecticide.
  5. There is no evidence to indicate that the crops that the vast majority of the worldfs farmers require have been developed by genetic modification.
  6. The indiscriminate plunder of plant genetic resources as intellectual property of a small number of large corporations has led to a consolidation of the seed industry and has put at risk both biodiversity and the long-term diversity of agricultural crops. In the case that GM animals become a reality as commodities it is beyond doubt that a similar contraction will occur with respect to the genetic resources of animals.

Investment should be redirected towards targets other than GM technology
The assessment proposes the following measures as solutions to the above issues.
  1. There is firm evidence that contributions can be made to sustainable food provision for the worldfs people by investing in agroecological techniques (such as organic farming and so on).
  2. Reinvestment in proven technologies for the development of new crop varieties, such as traditional crossbreeding and the use of marker genes, should be initiated immediately.
  3. The framework of intellectual property rights should be reviewed as a matter of urgency.
  4. The major food exporting countries should adopt as a matter of urgency a principle of trade assistance that promotes food security and sovereignty in other countries as well as in their own country. This has clear implications for Japan.

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