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5. GMOs Do Not Increase Yields, and Work Against Feeding a Hungry World
As evidence for this assertion, the institute cites the Union of Concerned Scientists' 2009 report Failure to Yield, calling it “the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.” But this report is less than honest when evaluating biotech crop yield information: biotech crops boost yields chiefly by preventing weeds from using up sunlight and nutrients and insects destroying them.
review article in Nature Biotechnology found that “of 168 results comparing yields of GM and conventional crops, 124 show positive results for adopters compared to non-adopters, 32 indicate no difference and 13 are negative.” With regard to feeding the world, yield increases are greater for poor farmers in developing countries than for farmers in rich countries. “The average yield increases for developing countries range from 16 percent for insect-resistant corn to 30 percent for insect-resistant cotton,” the Nature Biotechnology article notes, “with an 85 percent yield increase observed in a single study on herbicide-tolerant corn.”More recently, a 2010
A 2012 article by two British environmental scientists, reviewing the past 15 years of published literature on the agronomic and environmental effects of biotech crops, finds that they increase yields and produce impacts that are largely “positive in both developed and developing world contexts.” They add, “The often claimed negative impacts of GM crops have yet to materialize on large scales in the field.”
Indeed they have not.