6 January 2023 – 9am GMT
Three legendary activists for farmers’ rights tackle the false hope and real threats of genetic modification, sharing what they have learned and how those lessons can be used in the ongoing fight. The first wave of genetically modified (GMO) crops made false promises to reduce pesticide use and create higher yields and profits for farmers – from cotton farmers in Asia to maize growers in North America. There is very little evidence that this happened and instead the reality is one of increased herbicide use, ecological damage, static or reduced yields, greater farmer insecurity, greater corporate control and industrialisation. North America led the way with false promises but farmers in many countries have paid the price. While opposition within the EU has protected the UK to some extent, Brexit and high tech zeal for gene editing technology are now changing the dynamic for the new wave of modification. The narrative that gene editing (GE) is not GMO and is somehow “akin to nature” is gaining ground even amongst farmers who call themselves “regenerative” and “sustainable”. Pro GE legislation is being pushed in the UK and across the EU on the back of yet more false promises and hype.