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who need more gmos, the people or industry?

Submitted by: Prabhupada shakti


Expert response from Michiel van Lookeren Campagne

Former Head of Biology Research, Syngenta

Friday, 04/09/2015 13:32

In the agriculture industry, our customers are farmers. We innovate to provide solutions for unmet farmer needs. The most important farmer need is yield, as that translates directly into revenue for the farmer. 
As for any business, the grower wants to maximize revenue and reduce costs. Farm profitability is the balance between investment in maximizing yield through the adoption of novel seed varieties, fertilizer, crop protection chemicals, fertilizer and enhanced agronomic practices, and the price he/she gets for the crop. As an industry, we provide farmers with innovations that help increase profitability by either increasing yield or reducing production cost, and then we charge the grower for a portion of those benefits.
It is therefore the grower that needs the GMOs – and its acceptance worldwide proves the need for seeds bred using genetic modification. In 2014, a record 181.5 million hectares of biotech crops were grown globally, an increase of more than six million hectares from 2013, according to a report released by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA). They allow a farmer to yield more crops at lower production costs and greater convenience. This, in turn, benefits the consumer by keeping food prices low. 
If we, as an industry, would be able to bring similar breakthrough benefits to farmers through traditional breeding technologies, we would do that as the development costs are usually a lot lower. It typically takes 10 to 13 years and $136 million to bring a GM solution to market. However, genetic modification provides us with a tool to broaden the options for break-through technology, and as such supplement our toolkit to enhance crop yield and quality beyond the traditional breeding technologies. 
As a company, we have important stakeholders beyond our direct customers. If we want to be sustainable as a company we need to also satisfy the needs of our employees, our shareholders, the environment and society at large. To address this more holistic sustainability challenge, Syngenta launched The Good Growth Plan, where we made six measurable commitments that contribute to sustainable agriculture.


Expert response from Dr. Stuart Smyth

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

Wednesday, 07/10/2015 16:10


GMOs benefit everyone, consumers, farmers and the companies that produce them. I’ve included a table that identifies how the benefits are estimated to be distributed between the three different groups, for each of the four main crops that are GM. 





Farmer benefits


Company benefits


Consumer benefits



































The benefits with canola are very close to being equal for farmers and the companies, with consumers getting a small percentage. Soybean benefits are more equally shared, with farmers and the company benefits nearly identical while consumers gain considerable benefits through lower meat prices due to the high use of GM soybeans in animal feed. Farmers benefit the most from GM corn, with an even larger share of the benefits from GM cotton. 


Consumers not only gain from lower food prices, they also share the environmental benefits of lower chemical use.



Smyth, S. J., W. A. Kerr and P. W. B. Phillips. Forthcoming. Global Economic, Environmental and Health Benefits from GM Crop Adoption. Global Food Security. 

Klümper, W. and M. Qaim. 2014. A meta-analysis of the impacts of genetically modified crops. PLOS One 9: 11: 1-7.