Klaus Ammann: GM Crops Enhance Biodiversity and Agriculture

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Renowned Swiss Botanist Klaus Ammann supports expanded use of plant biotechnology.

Many factors affecting biodiversity are directly and indirectly related to agriculture and the need to produce more food for more people on limited arable land. “The priority is to feed the people, but we must do it in a way to keep as much biodiversity as possible,” says Klaus Ammann, former director of the Botanical Garden and an Honorary Professor Emeritus at the University of Berne, Switzerland.

Practices and technologies that increase the productivity of existing farmland is one way to help limit any negative impact on biodiversity. Critics often try to relate GM crops with negative impacts, yet the benefits of GM crops related to biodiversity are documented. “I have screened thousands of studies and scientific peer-reviewed papers and I have not seen single documentation of permanent negative impact on biodiversity done by genetically engineered crops. It’s a myth that this has happened,” continues Dr. Ammann in a new video and podcast available at http://www.monsanto.com/biotech-gmo/index.htm.

In fact, growers can more easily incorporate no-tillage practices with herbicide-tolerant GM crops, which generates improvements in soil life and fertility. Independent research and a decade of commercial scale usage also demonstrates that non-target insects are more abundant in insect-tolerant GM crops (Bt crops).

“I cannot understand why people are against this technology,” says Dr. Ammann, a member of the Biosafety Committee for Switzerland. “If we want to survive as human beings on this planet, we need to produce more food on smaller amounts of land. This is certainly done best with biotechnology. We cannot do that by just romantically following on old-fashioned agriculture. We must come to terms with using modern technology.”

Klaus Ammann’s exclusive interview can be found at Monsanto Company’s Conversations about Plant Biotechnology website: http:/http://www.monsanto.com/biotech-gmo/new.htm

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Michael Doane

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