15 April 1998
Worms recruited to fight GM crops battle

SUPPORTERS of genetically modified foods have recruited the ordinary earthworm in their battle to convince farmers that GM crops are the future.

Earthworm populations can double or treble in fields where “no-till” agricultural systems are used, according to independent academic research. GM crops can be grown with less ploughing and weeding. This not only helps worm populations, but reduces fuel usage, cuts soil erosion, improves fertility, lessens water run-off and helps wildlife habitats.

Now Monsanto, the leading developer of GM plants, is keen to publicise these facts to show their crops are environmentally friendly.

The Financial Times carries an analytical piece which argues GM crops are becoming the new barriers to free farm trade. It says this is symptomatic ofa new sort of trade dispute, pitting globalisation against local values.

  • Financial Times 15/04/98 page 15, page 23 (analysis)