Monsanto’s genetically modified BT Cotton is under scrutiny in China for leading to massive insect outbreaks in areas throughout China where its use has been growing. The resultant pest infestations are now threatening other crops in these regions.
These findings were made by a team of scientists led by Kongming Wu at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing and later published in the journal Science. The field trials were conducted over 10 yearsin northern China. The results show that mirid bugshave progressively increased population sizes and obtained peststatus in cotton and other crops, in association witha regional increase in Bt cotton usage and adoption. “Our work highlights a critical need to do ecological assessments and monitoring at the landscape-level to better understand the impacts of GM crop adoption,” said Dr Wu. “This is a massive issue in terms of the environment, but also in terms of costs for the farmer. The plan with GM crops was to reduce costs and environmental impact, but neither of these things seem to be happening, because over time, nature takes its course, and that was bound to happen. The supposed benefits in yield can be canceled out by unintended consequences like this,” explained Environmental advocate Kirtana Chandrasekaran