GMO coffee is on the horizon—but will we drink it?

Remember the Gros Michel banana? If you’re under the age of seventy, you probably don’t. That’s because in the 1950s a fungal disease called Panama disease essentially wiped out commercial production of the Gros Michel. In just a few years, growers were forced to switch from the rich, creamy, and physically hearty Gros Michel to the bland, easily bruised, “junk” cultivar of banana we’re familiar with today: the Cavendish.

Now, the same fate that befell the banana could swallow up the most popular drink in the world: coffee.

Between 60 and 65% of the coffee produced in the world is produced from the Arabica plant, with the more bitter Robusta variety making up almost all of the rest. While vastly inferior in taste and often relegated to instant coffee swill, Robusta is undeniably more robust to produce, yielding 60% more beans at a greater growing temperature range while resisting insects and disease, including the dreaded coffee rust.

coffee rust e
Coffee rust

It is coffee rust that now threatens the global supply of Arabica. As Chemical and Engineering News recently reported, roughly 15 percent of production is lost to rust each year and it affects crops worldwide. Forty percent of Colombia’s coffee crop was wiped out by rust in 2008 alone, destroying livelihoods and impoverishing families in the process. Considering that Arabica is basically inbred, with just 1.2 percent genetic diversity, there is little chance it will ever develop resistance. Conventional breeding efforts are underway to create a more resilient version of Arabica, and have been for fifty years, but they probably won’t be able to keep up with coffee rust forever, especially considering the disease’s effects and scope are exacerbated by climate change, which is producing hotter, more humid conditions in prime growing areas – perfect for fungus. Fungicides and strategic growing practices help, but they are imperfect solutions which are difficult to implement on a wide scale.

To anyone familiar with Hawaii’s papaya industry, the solution to save Arabica coffee is obvious and exciting: genetic modification! In the 1990s, Hawaii’s papaya crops were being devastated by a plant virus called ringspot, and by 1998 production had declined 50 percent. That year, Hawaiian horticulturalist Dennis Gonsalves, along with researchers from Cornell University, delivered the Rainbow papaya variety to farmers, essentially identical to the previous papaya but for the addition of a harmless viral gene conferring immunity to ringspot. Farmers eagerly planted Rainbow papaya all across the islands, and ringspot hasn’t troubled Hawaii papayas ever since.

Related article:  Gene editing set to revolutionize agriculture—but how should it be regulated?
papaya with ringspot virus Univ Calif
Papaya infected with ringspot virus

By one learned estimate, GMO coffee could be just 10-15 years away. Genetically-modified Arabica coffee resistant to disease would bring economic stability to the developing nations of Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Honduras, India, and Uganda, which collectively produce three-quarters of the world’s coffee. According to Investopedia, “Ethiopia’s 1.2 million smallholder farmers contribute over 90% of production, and an estimated 15 million Ethiopians depend on the coffee industry for their livelihood.” To help lift hundreds of millions of people in the developing world out of poverty, GMO coffee resistant to disease is a humanitarian necessity.

And yet, as Christophe Montagnon, director of World Coffee Research, essentially the science division of the coffee industry, told Chemical and Engineering News, “The coffee world and story is not yet compatible with genetic modification.” Translation: First World consumers won’t accept GMO coffee. He may be right. Sadly, over half of Americans wrongly believe that genetically modified foods are unsafe, in sharp contrast to the scientific community, where 88% of AAAS researchers say that GM foods are generally safe. Correcting the public’s misplaced fear is paramount to protecting our morning cup of Joe, but more importantly, the livelihoods of millions.

Arabica coffee could go the way of the Gros Michel banana or the Hawaiian papaya. The choice is ours.

Ross Pomeroy is Chief Editor of Real Clear Science and a zoologist and conservation biologist by training. Follow him on Twitter @SteRoPo.

This article was originally published at Real Clear Science as “Why We Should Genetically Modify Coffee” and has been republished here with permission.

60 thoughts on “GMO coffee is on the horizon—but will we drink it?”

  1. And who would hold the patent on this new GMO version of coffee? DOW? Monsanto? How much of any profit would small coffee farmers have to pay for the new plant? Or would it only be the large plantations that could afford it?

    • this is a good poiny. it’s very expensive to develop a new variety of a crop and with genetic engineering the added legal costs due to, in my opinion, excessive regulations are going to be prohibitive for anyone but the biggest biotech corporations (it’s roughly $160million and 3 years of tests at the moment). The solution would be to remove regulations specific to go and treat them in the same way as any new variety developed for commercial production by any other means (e.g. conventional methods using x-ray or chemical mutagenesis).

      • It isn’t the regulations. It’s the profit motive. Monsanto et al are in this research for the money, not to help mankind, and they will charge whatever the market will bear, even if that means that only other mega corporations can raise the new GMO coffee variety. That is how unrestrained capitalism works, my friend.

        • Of course they are in it for profit. Do you think Organic Farmers give their food to the needy for free? No, in point of fact they use farmland that could feed millions to grow food for thousands of wealthy, smug westerners at many times the cost of ordinary crops. They then try to deny life saving GM technology to starving people in third world countries.

          It doesn’t make business sense to sell a product for more than farmers are willing to pay. Larger ag companies are no more likely to pay higher prices than small scale farmers.

          No one is defending the companies. You wouldn’t have to look hard to find things to complain about with many large corporations.

          I have a problem with a few things from more than one such company that are not GMO related, but I’d rather not get into that here.

          But these are the same problems you have with any industry. Criticism of GMOs has nothing to do with this. GMOs are tools, not companies. No one is defending the companies. Yet it’s important to note that these are not the only ones developing these technologies.

          The Organic lobby continues to push this narrative of evil bio tech because it’s own industry is based on fallacy and people are beginning to learn the truth. Climate change and a burgeoning population are making Organic obsolete.

          By the way, cutting edge techniques are far cheaper and so far, have not been subjected to the same regulations. The future of bio tech is cheaper and less costly innovation.

          • I have no problem with genetic manipulation of crops. If the science assures us that they are safe, then I see no reason not to eat them. What I don’t like is for the multi-national corporations to patent the new plants, and gain control over agriculture the world over. And I don’t believe that hunger is due to a shortage of grown food. It is due to inequalities in the system of distribution. We already grow enough food to feed the world. But rich nations consume too much, and use too much grain to feed to livestock, so that the wealthy can eat their fill of meat. You aren’t worried about the overuse of pesticides, but you aren’t exposed to them in the massive amounts the people that harvest your produce are. You are the wealthy smug westerner that knows someone else will pick the crops that will be delivered to you washed and safe. As for your contention that organic is becoming obsolete, here’s what Scientific American has to say: “Organic production may still represent only a small fraction of agricultural sales in the U.S. and worldwide, but it as been growing rapidly over the last two decades. According to the latest global census of farming practices, the area of land certified as organic makes up less than one percent of global agricultural land—but it has grown more than threefold since 1999, with upwards of 37 million hectares of land worldwide now under organic cultivation. The Organic Trade Association forecasts steady growth of nine percent or more annually for organic agriculture in the foreseeable future.”

          • We need the genetic manipulation of humans also, to produce humans who can inhabit every biosphere of the planet and so work efficiently to obtain the materials needed to build our AI future.
            Humans who are immune to the pesticides and herbicides needed for scientific agriculture!!

          • If we’re going to modify humans, I would think increasing IQ levels of everyone would be the first thing, from there we’d be able to solve problems that most people are having a hard time with. Smarter people IMHO are less likely to have 10 kids, take drugs, and go on a killing spree.

          • Companies do not patent plants, they patent traits. You know not of which you speak. There are hundreds of seed suppliers in the US. Stop getting your info from blogs.

          • “A plant patent is granted by the United States government to an inventor (or the inventor’s heirs or assigns) who has invented or discovered and asexually reproduced a distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. The grant, which lasts for 20 years from the date of filing the application, protects the patent owner’s right to exclude others from asexually reproducing the plant, and from using, offering for sale, or selling the plant so reproduced, or any of its parts, throughout the United States, or from importing the plant so reproduced, or any part thereof, into the United States. This protection is limited to a plant in its ordinary meaning.”
            That’s not from a blog; that’s from the US Patent and Trademark Office. But maybe you’d like to contact them and set them straight about the law…

          • And that would be absolutely true of plant patents, such as Clearfield Rice or Honeycrisp apples. GE patents are on traits, so that they can be licensed and used in many varieties by many seed companies.

            But thank you for further illustrating your lack of agricultural knowledge.

          • “…in point of fact they use farmland that could feed millions to grow food for thousands of wealthy, smug westerners at many times the cost of ordinary crops.”

            If most people turn vegetarian, then the superfluous grazing land could be used to grow crops for those in developing countries.

            How many Studies are there to show that GMO food is safe.

        • 1) Capitalism is restrained. There are various laws against monopolies, patents are time limtied, much more so than the copyrights granted to anti-gmo artists.

          2) Of course they’ll charge what the market would bear but the market won’t bear more than what the market can make do with the non-GM varieties. Yes the seeds might cost more, but the farmers won’t buy them unless their benefits would more than offset that cost.

          • No, capitalism is not being constrained, because there is now little enforcement of the anti-monopoly laws, which is why 4 big bio-tech companies control 80% of the US corn market and 70% of the soy. They also control more than half the world’s seed supply. What has been the effect of that? From 2000 to 2010, as GE soybeans came to dominate the market, the price for seed increased 230 percent. And according to the USDA, the avg per acre cost of soybean and corn seed increased 325 and 259 percent respectively. And farmers have fewer seed choices because the large seed companies are phasing out non-GE varieties. So farmers have little choice but to buy GE seeds. In fact, it is only in the 3 EU countries where the planting of GE corn is banned – Germany, Austria and Switzerland – that farmers have either the same or many more corn seed varieties available to them. The development of genetically engineered crops has gone hand-in-hand with the monopolization of the agri-seed market, and is resulting in the narrowing of seed choices and an huge increase in seed prices, which translated in higher costs and fewer choices passed on to consumers.

          • Phasing out non-GE varieties? Have you ever seen a seed catalog? There is no “phasing out” going on. Companies grow what farmers are buying. If farmers want to buy non-ge varieties, companies will grow more non-ge varieties. It’s really quite as simple as that.

            So where is the evidence that there are fewer varieties available to farmers?? Here’s one data point… when I started in the seed business in 1996, our company sold 40ish different corn hybrids. By the time I left the seed business in 2017, it was close to 200 different hybrids. So, tell me again about these narrowed choices.

          • Your statements do not reflect the experience of farmers, unfortunately:
            “Research by Angelika Hilbeck, senior scientist at the Institute of Integrative Biology at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and others found the number of non-GE corn seed varieties in the U.S. decreased 67 percent from 3,226 in 2005 to 1,062 in 2010, while the number of GE corn seed varieties increased 6.7 percent.
            ‘Farmers are facing fewer choices and significantly higher prices in seed,’ said Kristina Hubbard, author of the Farmer to Farmer Campaign report. ‘Seed options narrow when a handful of companies dominate the marketplace.’
            Iowa farmer George Naylor says he has trouble finding non-GE soybean seeds: ‘Some seed companies don’t offer any. One company’s soybean seed lineup is all Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 [seeds].’
            ‘In terms of non-GE in general, there is less breeding,’ said Jim Orf, professor of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota, who breeds non-GE soybeans for food use.
            ‘ Farmers are facing fewer choices and significantly higher prices in seed. Seed options narrow when a handful of companies dominate the marketplace. ‘
            The problem is similar with corn. In 2009 University of Illinois entomologist Michael Gray surveyed farmers in five areas of the state to ask if they had access to high-yielding, non-GE corn seed. He found nearly 40 percent said “no.” Nearly half (46.6 percent) in Malta, Ill., said they did not have access to elite non-GE corn hybrids.
            The situation is even worse with sugar beets where there is no farmer choice. When GE Roundup Ready sugar beets were introduced in 2005, 95 percent of the sugar beet growers converted to GE seed starts.” This is from https://www.fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2013/oct/4/the_gmo_seed_monopoly_fewer_choices_higher_prices

          • Complete nonsense. We have plenty of choices. If some varieties are dropped. It is because farmers do not buy enough. There is no “”deprive the farmers. Of choices conspiracy””. Some are dropped just like Edsels.

          • Look up analogy. Then feel free to come compete at farming using only 1950s varieties. Good luck.

          • I know what an analogy means, and it’s totally inappropriate, and it shows a lack of imagination and intellectual expression.

          • nonsense, When will you be farming with your lower yielding and disease prone outdated varieties. They will find a way to improve the coffee and save jobs and farms in spite of folks like you.

          • No, it’s you that talks nonsense, constantly, the Edsel is an inappropriate analogy, because at the time the car was released, it was perfectly functional, equivalent to all of the cars of that day.
            The only reason why it wasn’t popular, is because people considered it unattractive.
            As an Aussie, even I knew that.

          • Wrong again, when released those old 50s varieties were releasesd. They were functional and equivalent to the other genetics of the day. get lost.

          • Then why did you single out the Edsel for comparison?
            I should get lost?
            Of course, that’s all you’ve got… which is zero intellectual ability.

          • Zero? then why are my comments based on fact and your’s are not? Are you dumber than zero? Sometimes I wonder. Edsel, Model T makes no difference. Soon because of GE. we will have Ferrari coffee plants.

          • Your so called “facts,” are a display of your low intellectual ability to articulate a coherent argument.
            Instead, you have to resort to inappropriate analogies.

            And if that fails, which it most obviously does, you resort to “get lost.”

          • So, I see you are still embarrassed by the whippings you have received from obfuscate. My analogy was and is correct. You are starting to sound like ted.

          • Umm… no… what I described is exactly what farmers have been experiencing and I’ve got 20 years of seed business experience working directly with farmers that backs that up.

            found the number of non-GE corn seed varieties in the U.S. decreased 67 percent from 3,226 in 2005 to 1,062 in 2010, while the number of GE corn seed varieties increased 6.7 percent.

            Of course non-GE varieties decreased. As I stated earlier… seed companies grow what’s in demand. Non-GE seed is in very low demand and as such, seed companies stopped growing as much. That doesn’t mean it’s not available or that they’re being phased out. It means they’re growing the seed they think they can sell.

            Your claim was that seed companies are phasing them out. But, again.. open any seed corn or soy catalog and you’ll see that’s not true. In fact seed companies NEED to supply non-GE varieties in order to satisfy refuge requirements of Bt crops.

          • So Iowa farmer George Naylor is lying when he says that he has trouble finding non-GE soybean seeds, and that some seed companies don’t offer any non-GE soybean seeds? And that “One company’s soybean seed lineup is all Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 [seeds].”? And University of Minnesota Professor of agronomy and plant genetics Jim OrfIn is lying when he says that “in terms of non-GE in general, there is less breeding” ? And that this expert in plant genetics doesn’t know what he is talking about when he says that “farmers are facing fewer choices and significantly higher prices in seed. Seed options narrow when a handful of companies dominate the marketplace”? You come across as an apologist for Monsanto. As I stated earlier, I have no problem with the safety of GMOs, the science seems to support the idea that they are perfectly safe, but when people with academic and research credentials say there is a problem with non-GMO seed choice, that is science too, and I think I’ll believe them over a seed salesman.

          • I don’t know his situation. But it’s really quite irrelevant as one man doesn’t make an industry.

            And there are several companies that license Monsanto’s soybeans. Just as there are many that license DuPont’s, Stein’s and even many that develop their own. So what?

            And whether he knows what he’s talking about isn’t really much of an issue. Certainly seed prices are higher. So what? If customers demand higher priced seeds, companies will plant & grow higher priced seeds. How is that a problem? And doesn’t it make sense that if farmers are buying GE seeds that seed companies would respond buy producing less non-GE seeds? Most companies produce what they think they will sell.

            I can certainly assure you they are not facing fewer choices. In the past, there was only one option… non-GE. Now farmers can grow non-GE, insect resistant, and any number of different herbicide tolerant traits. Those were never options in the past. They all are options today and farmers often plant a mix of all of the above.

            I don’t need to apologize for anyone. I’m just giving you the benefit of two decades of actual direct experince in the industry you’re discussing. So, while I’m sure you can find articles of this person or that person complaining about something, I’ll leave you with this. Farmers get to choose what to plant every single spring. And for over 20 years they have overwhelmingly chose to plant these higher priced seeds. Why do you think that is?

          • No, you cannot assure me that farmers are not facing fewer choices – when farmer organizations and researchers in the field of agronomy say otherwise. And you don’t seem to understand the process and end result of monopolization of a market if you think it has no effect on consumer choice and product prices. That is the whole point of monopolizing a market – to restrict choice and raise prices. But you go on ignoring the evidence and believing that Monsanto and Dow are bringing us an agricultural utopia. I’ll go on spreading the word to people who aren’t pawns of giant agri-business

          • Well, you see…. .that’s the thing. Farmer organizations and researchers aren’t saying otherwise. Individual activist groups have, but go to any state Ag university like Cornell, Purdue, Iowa St, etc… they’ll tell you a completely different story. Check with your state Farm Bureau. You’ll find a different story there than what you’re hearing and that organization exists solely to advocate for farmers.

            And I’ve given you the evidence. Simply open seed catalogs. They’re online. Anyone can see them. You’ll find hundreds upon hundreds of different seed choices. You’ll find conventional seeds haven’t been phased out. You’ll find seeds with no GM traits, one GM trait, two GM traits, 5 GM traits, tolerance to dicamba, glyphosate, 2,4D, Liberty Link, conventionally bred specialty products, etc, etc. None of those choices existed before. There so many more seed choices for farmers now than when I started two decades ago that it becomes difficult for farmers to decide what to use.

            So if anyone is trying to claim that there are fewer choices then that’s the person that is ignoring the evidence. It seems like that might be you. After all, having less of one specific choice is not the same as having fewer choice over all. Wouldn’t you agree?

            But I knew, if I stuck around long enough, your real issue would come out…. the ol’ Big Ag conspiracy theory. Tired and overused.

            You have a good day. Ok?

          • “So Iowa farmer George Naylor is lying ”

            Making it personal might win you an argument on an emotional level, God knows I have stopped having conversations with me people that say “What about me and my personal situation?” Because no matter what I say, it will come off as an attack.

            Of course, it doesn’t mean that you “won” or were telling the truth, it means that you have pulled a dirty trick.

          • I worked in an industry where 2 companies controlled over 90% of the market. I was in one of those companies. The company I was in controlled only one third of that 90%. Guess what, people still got our products very cheaply. Guess what else? that 10% left after the two largest companies share was full of many competitors. Yes, they weren’t big competitors, but they were competitors and they were successful companies

          • You have a case that anti-monopoly laws should be strengthened. 2 or 3 competitors in one major area is usually not enough. But Monopolies are, in my opinion, anti-capitalistic in of themselves. Like a communistic planned economy, they stifle innovation and competition. I argue that lassez-faire is not captialism.

            As far as a tech itself dominating the market, so be it. Phones and wireless drove out drums and smoke signals long ago, same with semiconductors vs tubes (or valves). We have little choices but to buy semiconductor based computers and radios, etc. And so it’s likely that GE will push older techs into niches. It’s just better. But, as you pointed out, there should be at least more than 6 or so, rather than 3 or so competitors in the market. This shows signs of changing as China and, eventually, India, come online with their GE developments.

          • Do you know what the corn “market” is? It is certainly not controlled by any company.

            Have you ever considered that non-GE varieties are phasing out because farmers make MORE MONEY growing GE varieties? I heard Samsung stopped making cassette players LOL

        • the market will not bear any monsanto products that are not monsanto monopolies, such as corn and soy. if you eat corn and soy, you’re consuming round -up. your choice is to stop eating corn and soy, and many other common products.

      • I agree. That’s why patent laws are so important. The organization putting the capital into the product should get first dibs on capital received from said product.

        • Wrong. Because Monsanto owns the patent on the seeds, it can, and has, sued farmers that saved seeds from the crops they planted and harvested. Because of the patent, farmers that buy seed from Monsanto must buy these seeds anew every year. Many farmers used to save a certain percentage of the seeds from the best performing plants, and they could then, if they were so inclined, develop plant varieties that performed well in that soil and climate. The problem with monopolies is that they distort the free market in order to crowd out competitors. Without competitors, the few companies that control the market can charge whatever they choose, and limit the choices they offer. In the end consumers (in this case farmers) are faced with higher prices and fewer choices.

          • Wrong because Monsanto doesn’t own all the patents. Some patents have expired. They have only sued people that have violated patent laws. If farmers want to save seeds. All they have to do is use nonpatented seeds or ones whose patents have expired. There are no monopolies regarding seeds. Farmers have plenty of choices. Just order a few seed catalogs and quit reading and regurgitating lies from wacko sites.

          • “being paid to disparage the critics” That is a shill gambit. It is a crude form of ad hom that reveals the lack of knowledge and integrity of the user. I noticed that you have not been able to even address a single point I made. Much less refute one. The article you have cited is a propaganda piece. “small farmers” the term is used to garner sympathy. Check out the size of some of those farms. Try reading the actual court documents. I have for several cases. Including Bowman and schmeiser. Monsanto was completely within their legal and moral rights to sue those folks. also, as you still foolishly referred to saving seeds. an objection I have already refuted. It is clear that you are unwilling to accept the truth. And yes, the guardian can be a wacko site when referring to economics and agriculture.

          • Here’s a piece about Monsanto facing anti-trust action from the Justice Department.
            Of course it is from that wacko site, The New York TImes.

            “Facing antitrust scrutiny over its practices in the biotechnology seed business, Monsanto has said it will not stand in the way of farmers eventually using lower cost alternatives to its genetically modified soybeans.”
            “In letters to seed companies and farm groups this week, Monsanto said that it would allow farmers to continue to grow its hugely popular Roundup Ready 1 soybeans even after the patent protecting the technology expires in 2014.”
            “The letter countered a widespread impression in the agriculture business that Monsanto planned to force farmers and seed companies to migrate to a successor product called Roundup Ready 2 Yield, which will remain under patent and is more expensive.
            “The issue has potentially broad implications for the agriculture industry because Roundup Ready soybeans will be the first widely grown biotechnology crop to lose patent protection since gene splicing became a mainstay of crop science in the 1990s”.
            “Monsanto’s statement comes as the Justice Department is investigating possible antitrust concerns in the seed business, looking in particular at Monsanto, which dominates the business of supplying crop traits developed through genetic engineering. Critics, including some competitors, say that Monsanto has great leverage over the seed business and growers through restrictive contracts that must be signed to use Monsanto’s genes or to grow the genetically modified crops.”

          • Post the link instead of quoting out of context. Also, what are you whining about. They clearly said they won’t interfere with folks using stuff after the patent expired.

          • Your sniveling protests grow like weeds, don’t they? I posted the relevant portions because I know folks often don’t open the link, which is what corporate apologists like yourself bank on. What you skirt around is the fact that Monsanto is being investigated by Justice for anti-trust violations. And that is undoubtedly the reason Monsanto is backing away from its earlier aggressive bullying of farmers. I have no opinion about the safety of GMOs. But I definitely do not want giant multi-nationals taking over agriculture, or any other major sector of the economy.

          • Your sniveling lie to avoid posting the link is almost as pathetic as your shill gambit. Multinationals are a threat to take over agriculture only in the minds of ignorant leftists. Family farmers have taken over agriculture and have no intention of relinquishing it. Monsanto is not backing away from enforcing patent laws. Try something illegal like the thief schmeiser did and call your attorney. http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/justice-department-ends-monsanto-antitrust-probe/article_667ceab6-e568-57c8-a110-3d99efc31c4c.html

          • So now the Justice Department is composed of ignorant leftists? Cause they are the ones investigating Monsanto for possible anti-trust violations. But that is a fact you’d rather not address, since it doesn’t fit well with your Monsanto apoplectic apologetics. And if you were capable of following the discussion, you would realize the point is not the percentage of farms that are family owned, but the percentage of the seed market that is controlled by a few multinationals. As for your pathetically perfidious attempt to portray American agriculture as some bucolic family farm paradise, the truth is that nearly 100% of chickens raised for meat, 97% of laying hens, 95% of pigs, and 78% of cattle are raised by factory farms, whose methods of farming result in massive soil and water contamination and greenhouse gas emissions, besides being extraordinarily wasteful of energy and water.

          • They are no longer being investigated. The link is to a news story that says the investigation ended. The remark about ignorant leftists refers to folks like you. Factory farms? Industrial techniques are why you have a device to type on that you can afford. Same goes for food. I never said “bucolic family farm paradise” I simply refuted your control agriculture crap. I still get many different seed catalogs and the pieces are great. So, I don’t have your leftist worry and hatred of (play dramatic music) “Multinationals” That is in spite of my telling all the seed companies that claim nongmo to get lost. As for Monsanto. The article is not about them. Nor have I apologized for anything they have done. If you don’t like the livestock business. Quit eating meat.

          • What do you think about this site? I get the impression that it was created by a group linked to Monsanto, or to scientists involved in the GMO field. It’s one thing to defend GMO agro science, but a few of the commentors here seem to be more intent on defending Monsanto against monopoly concerns.

          • I can’t speak for the commenters (if you really meant people who leave comments on articles), but I think the articles themselves are generally sound and accurate. And I think that Jon Entine’s investigative reporting is possibly the best anywhere. He’s a pro. In my opinion, many (most? all?) of the criticisms of GLP come from vested interests.

          • We are just pointing out that you are clueless, not that there is a monopoly. I can buy seed from 20X the amount of companies that I can buy cell service from. I haven’t bought seed from Monsanto in 3 years for my 5000 acre row crop farm.

          • From Obama’s “Justice” Department?
            The most politicized Justice Department in the history of the USA? Hmm, must be legit then.

          • The Guardian is a left wing tabloid, it sometimes prints left wing ideology, it isn’t as bad as American News outlets as there are conservative alternatives at all levels (the sun, Telegraph and usually the Times (of London – the original one), so people can read other points of view, and make their own minds up.
            I have to add here that I haven’t read an English paper in the 20+ years I’ve been in the US, and I haven’t picked up a US one in 15 years, so things may have changed. The Guardian I’m sure hasn’t.

          • You are missing the obvious here, coffee is a perennial, you plant it once, it can also be propagated by cuttings from an upright shoot (sideways growing shoots will only grow sideways apparently), so yes the company that develops it will make a profit on the seeds/young plants, but after that farmers would not need to re-sow.

Leave a Comment

News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend