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Question

What are the top organizations that profit from GMOs?

Submitted by: Cody Arnsby


Answer

Expert response from Community Manager

Moderator for GMOAnswers.com

Monday, 30/04/2018 15:11

In addition to the response below, consumers also benefit from GMOs in a variety of ways.

Expert Amanda Zaluckyj, TheFarmer’sDaughterUSA.com, looks at some of these ways in one of her blog posts. In this piece she addresses six different ways GMOs benefit consumers, such as how GMOs help keep bugs out of food, help reduce food waste, cut the cost of food, make some foods safer to eat, reduce the carbon footprint of food, and how they are better for the environment. We encourage you to check out full post here

Additionally, a similar question was answered that addresses the profitability of GMOs to the products and the benefits to the consumer.

“GM crops have been improved to help farmers reduce losses due to pests and disease and farm more sustainably. The quality and nutritional value of the food derived from these crops has not been changed. Julie Howard, Chief Scientist at the USAID Bureau for Food Security addresses the benefits of GMO in a recent response; included below is an excerpt you may find helpful:

‘…to date, the majority of the benefits of GMOs have been realized by farmers, there are also important examples of direct consumer benefits. GMO commodities incorporating pest resistance can and have significantly reduced pesticide use and resulting pesticide residues…’”

Read the full response here.

Lastly, in the response to this question, What role does “profit” play in determining which genetic traits will be commercialized?, Greg Conko, Former Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute discusses actual profit a bit.

We hope this answers your question, if you have any additional questions, please ask!

Answer

Expert response from Dr. Stuart Smyth

Assistant Professor, Department of Bioresource Policy, Business and Economics, University of Saskatchewan

Monday, 30/04/2018 15:08

The top organizations that benefit from GMOs are the producer organizations and ultimately the farmers themselves. When famers grow any crop, regardless of whether it is GM or not, they pay a small fee, known as a ‘check-off’ that goes to fund further research into the development of new crop varieties. Each commodity has a check-off fee specific to that commodity and the check-off fees are not necessarily the same for each commodity.

For example, in the production of canola in Canada it is C$1 per tonne. In 1996, the first year of GM canola, the check-off fee would have generated about C$5 million that would have been available to be reinvested back into research for new varieties. In 2017, the check-off fee generated just over C$21 million. An increase of C$16 million in funding for new crop research is a tremendous benefit for the canola farmer organizations, as organizations like this have Boards of Directors that make the decisions on where and how to reinvest these check-off revenues. Were it not for the improved yields from GM canola, research funding available for the development of new varieties would be 75 percent lower than presently is the case.

As a comparison, wheat (which is a non-GM crop) check-offs have decreased by C$8 million per year between 1996 and 2017, dropping from C$30 million to C$22 million.

The use of check-off fees is a very beneficial cyclical process. Farmers pay this small fee, which is then invested in the research and development of new canola varieties, which provides improved canola varieties for farmers to produce. Due to the increased acres of GM crops and the higher production, by far the most profitable organizations have been the commodity producer organizations that have considerably higher revenues to invest into additional research, which certainly benefits the farmers, but also benefits the environment through reduced impacts and ultimately benefits us as consumers through lower food prices.