Daily News Archive
From August 29, 2001

Growth of GMO Industry is Slowing Down

According to The Guardian of the United Kingdom, the growth of the genetically modified food market is declining. Companies are investing less money into the technology, and governments are tightening label and import laws. Sergey Vasnetsov, a chemical analyst on Wall Street, said, "The industry has overstated the rate of progress and underestimated the resistance of consumers…Acceptability will only come with new products but that seems to be something the industry cannot achieve. The crops that will benefit people [as opposed to farmers] are still three or four years away. The market is not expanding and research budgets are down 5-7% on five years ago. Conceptually, the value [of GM foods] has come down."
The United States owns 80% of the world's GM plantings. The acreage of GMOs is mainly increasing in North America. Meanwhile many other countries are exercising caution and regulation of biotechnology. "Europe, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea have largely switched to buying non-GM maize and soya from Brazil and China rather than the US." (John Vidal, The Guardian, 8/28/01)

Chemical companies argue that GM food will reduce world hunger, even though most GMOs are grown in North America. Sergey Vastenov replies, "Let's stop pretending we face food shortages. There is hunger, but not food shortages. GM food is for the rich world. The money from GM is in developed countries. The battle is in Europe."

Benedict Haerlin, GM analyst of Greenpeace, says "No GM company is going to produce varieties for poor countries unless it sees a market."