Viewpoint: Farmers not trapped into annually buying patented GMO seeds

soybean seeds.
soybean seeds.

[There] is one myth that often gets used as a criticism against genetic engineered crops. This myth usually takes the form of “I’m not anti-GMO, but farmers always used to save seeds, and the GMO companies have made it so that nobody can do that, and thus everyone is forced to buy new seeds every season.”

By framing this as though it were an indictment of GM seeds, this myth implies a false premise; namely, it presupposes that buying seeds every year was something that wasn’t already normal prior to GMOs, and that it’s something unique to GMOs.

I’ve sometimes even heard people claim that the patents somehow allow Monsanto to “force people to use their seeds.” …However, this is of course complete nonsense. That has never happened. A seed company can’t force anyone to use anything. Farmers choose to use these seeds they do on the basis of a variety criteria, not least of which is the question of whether they permit them higher outputs for fewer inputs. Moreover, contrary to what such myths imply, most farmers don’t find these stewardship agreements particularly onerous.


The popularity of these myths is yet another example of why it’s important to maintain some healthy skepticism with respect to popular public discourse on controversial subject matters.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Genetically Engineered crops and seed saving myths

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