Genetically modified crops, corn in particular, have virtually taken over supermarkets and even seed supply stores. Monsanto and other biotech giants claim the the GMO seeds produce higher yields and require fewer chemical pesticide and herbicide spraying. Both organic farmers and environmental activists dispute such claims.eFoodsDirect offers an entire line of gluten free and soy free long-term storage food. Preparing meals during either a short or long-term disaster does not mean we have to sacrifice either nutritional value or taste.
Brazilian farmers angered over the recent performance of GMO corn want the four major biotech manufacturers to reimburse them for the costs incurred when applying three coatings of pesticides already this year. “The caterpillars should die if they eat the corn, but since they didn’t die this year producers had to spend on average 120 reais [$54] per hectare … at a time that corn prices are terrible,” Ricardo Tomczyk, president of Aprosoja farm lobby in Mato Grosso state said.
Seed companies are now warning farmers in Brazil for plant corn fields using only conventional seeds stop bugs from mutating and developing more of a resistance to GMO corn seeds, according to the Scientific American. Dow Chemical Company’s Dow Agrosciences division already has programs in Brazil designed to help farmers who are using GMO seeds and battling pests. The “integrated pest management system” designed by Dow Chemical includes a plan for the cultivation of refuge areas. Not surprisingly, growing genetically engineered seeds and using chemical pesticides in a refuge area has been met with stiff opposition.
DuPont, another biotech company focused on the growth of the GMO seed and chemical pesticide industry, said they have received no “formal” complaints concerning a lack of resistance of seeds of a failure of products. The manufacturer’s Pioneer brand has reportedly been working with farmers to increase the durability of their “seed technology” and enhance efficiency. The move appears was prompted by the discovery of Spodoptera worms and the resistance they have developed to Cry1F protein, a company statement revealed.
GMO corn is no longer resistant to pests, Brazilian farmers have claimed. The growers maintain that the genetically modified corn seeds are no longer protected from “voracious tropical bugs” and therefore require enhanced use of pesticides. Monsanto and other biotech companies have long contended that genetically engineered seeds produce greater yields and drastically cut down on the expense associated with applying chemical pesticides to crops.
Brazilian farmers may soon have a massive influx of new orders if they can prevent the destruction of their crops by leafworms. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced recently that food products from the United States will no longer be permitted to be imported into the former Soviet Union. Putin made a few exceptions for chocolate and champagne, but the once large buyer of produce, chicken, and beef will be accepting no new shipments for at least a year. Brazil is one of the handful of countries that Putin has tapped to fill the need for food imports in Russia.
Farming in the “bug-ridden” tropical locale has always been a challenge and the growers once thought GMO corn and other genetically modified seeds were going to be their salvation. Brazilian government leaders are now worried that planting the same crops each year utilizing the same “seed technologies” has left the agricultural realm far more vulnerable to both a dependency upon toxic chemicals and pest outbreaks. The southern grassworm or corn leafworm known as Spodoptera frugiperda is the primary problem facing GMO corn crown in the country.
The Spodoptera frugiperda, also called the fall armyworm, is “part of the order of Lepidoptera and is the caterpillar life stage of a moth. It is regarded as a pest and can wreak havoc with crops if left to multiply. Its name is derived from its feeding habits. They will eat everything in an area and once the food supply is exhausted the entire “army” will move to the next available food source, according to Wikipedia. The armyworm larvae are dull yellow to gray in color with stripes running down the length of the body. The mature caterpillar grows to about 2 inches in length.
The extremely destructive worm is present in the eastern and central regions of both North and South America. The worm is not known to survive freezing temperatures. The worm’s diet consists primarily of small grain crops and grasses. Detecting an infestation is difficult because the mature caterpillars migrate to new feeding areas constantly and routinely travel in the cool night air. When the worms are nearing maturity they are known to law waster to an entire crop in just a couple of days. Illinois corn farmers suffered through a massive Spodoptera frugiperda infestation in 1998.
Researchers in Iowa discovered “significant damage” from rootworms in corn fields in 2013. Agricultural experts in American have warned that growing bug resistance to GMO corn could negatively impact corn production prospects in the near future. The EPA, USDA, and FDA have still shown no movement on the GMO front, continuing to claim the seeds and chemical pesticides are safe to use and pose no dangers to the food supply. A plethora of former Monsanto executives were appointed to key leadership positions in the powerful federal agencies by President Barack Obama. Monsanto donates heavily to both political parties and have an influential lobbying voice in Washington, D.C.
Ricardo Tomczyk, who was the voice of Brazilian farmers in a fight of Monsanto seed royalty payments last year, had this to say about why he is supporting the growing crops in refuge areas:
“There are barely any non-GMO seeds available … it is very uncomfortable that the companies are blaming the farmers.”
Although Tomczyk hopes to negotiate a settlement with GMO corn seed companies, the farmers are prepared to move forward with a lawsuit to garner reparations for pesticides costs if necessary. Brazil produces about 78 million tons of corn each year. Due to a series of record-setting growing years, domestic corn prices recently hit a new law because of the abundant supply. The combination of low prices and enhanced costs associated with the application of chemical pesticides, farmers in Brazil are struggling.
Finding heirloom seeds or “conventional seeds” does often require a bit of work, but the task is worth the effort. Whether buying in bulk for a family farm or a simple backyard or container garden to increase food security, the yield of naturally grown produce can be used immediately for healthy meals or canned and dehydrated to create a shelf-stable food supply for years to come.
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