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Does GE reduce herbicide use?

Page - February 1, 2007
It is not true that GE is a ‘green’ technology, which allows farmers to use less herbicides.

An airplane sprays soya crop fields in Argentina . Increased herbicide use leads to an increase in herbicide-resistant weeds, known as 'super weeds'.

The myth that GE allows farmers to use less herbicides, is one of the most successful myths promoted by the genetic engineering industry.

But the reality is quite different. 70% of the GE crops in the field are engineered to withstand high doses of toxic herbicides. Application of toxic chemicals is actually a necessity with these crops, while techniques that truly move farmers away from chemical use fall to the wayside.

Since 1996 the cultivation of GE crops in the US has led to a dramatic increase in toxic herbicide use of 122 million pounds (55 million KG).   

In Argentina, the second biggest producer of GE crops in the world, the cultivation of GE soya has also led to massive deforestation.

All the trees knocked down by bulldozers are discarded onto huge piles, often kilometres long, and set alight. The cleared land can only support the GE soya monoculture for a few years before the soil nutrients disappear. 

The social consequences of GE cultivation in the country are just as devastating; small farmers and indigenous communities are forcibly evicted from their land by government-supported GE Soya landlords.

Many of the agro-chemical companies trying to convince the public that GE organisms are good for the environment are actually concealing a much different agenda: an effort to increase sales of herbicides owned and marketed by the very same companies.