ISIS Report 23/02/09
Monsanto's Bt Cotton Kills the Soil as Well as Farmers
to ensuring that GMO’s do not harm the environment or health.
The soil, its fertility,
and the organisms which maintain the fertility of soil are a vital aspect
of the environment, especially in the context of food and agricultural production.
A recent scientific
study carried out by Navdanya, compared the soil of fields where Bt-cotton
had been planted for 3 years with adjoining fields with non GMO cotton or
other crops. The region covered included Nagpur, Amravati and Wardha of Vidharbha
which accounts for highest GMO cotton planting in India, and the highest rate
of farmers suicides (4000 per year).
In 3 years, Bt-cotton
has reduced the population of Actinomycetes by 17%. Actinomycetes are vital
for breaking down cellulose and creating humus.
Bacteria were reduced
by 14%. The total microbial biomass was reduced by 8.9%.
Vital soil beneficial
enzymes which make nutrients available to plants have also been drastically
reduced. Acid Phosphatase which contributes to uptake of phosphates was reduced
by 26.6%. Nitrogenase enzymes which help fix nitrogen were reduced by 22.6%.
At this rate, in
a decade of planting with GM cotton, or any GM crop with Bt genes in it,
could lead to total destruction of soil organisms, leaving dead soil unable
to produce food.
The ISAAA in its
recent release has stated that there are 7.6 mha of Bt-cotton in India. This
means 7.6 mha of dying soils.
The impact of GMO’s on soil organisms is not commonly studied. This is a vital lacunae
because Bt toxin crops such as Mon 810 corn or Bt-cotton or Bt Brinjal have
serious impact on beneficial soil organisms.
The government of
India is trying to grant approval to Bt Brinjal without Bio safety studies
on impact on Soil organisms. The European Commissión is trying to put pressure
on GMO free countries to introduce Mon 810.
The Navdanya study
the first that has looked at the long term impact of Bt cotton on soil organisms
is a wake up to regulators worldwide. It also shows that the claims of the
Biotechnology industry about the safety of GM crops are false.
To get a copy of
the report and for further information, please contact –
A-60, Hauz Khas
New Delhi – 110 016
Phone : 91-11-26535422
Email : [email protected]
Website : www.navdanya.org