Why Take Action to Stop GM Alfalfa? Feb 2012 (3:06 minutes)
Take instant action at http://www.cban.ca/alfalfaaction1
This video provides information about how important alfalfa is to food and farming, and the threat that GM alfalfa poses to family farms and organic production. Alfalfa growers do not need or want genetically modified (GM, also called genetically engineered) alfalfa and have been trying to stop GM alfalfa in Canada for at least five years. The introduction of Monsanto's GM herbicide tolerant (Roundup Ready) alfalfa would have serious negative impacts on many different types of farmers and farming systems, both conventional and organic. Because alfalfa is a perennial crop pollinated by bees, GM contamination is inevitable. Alfalfa is an important part of many of the foods we eat everyday. GM alfalfa was actually approved in Canada in 2005 but still needs to go through one more step before it can be legally sold as seed in Canada. Join us to stop GM alfalfa! For more information and more action: http://www.cban.ca/alfalfa
Position Paper on the Introduction of Genetically Modified Alfalfa
The Saskatchewan Organic Directorate (SOD) is opposed to the introduction of genetically modified alfalfa for the following reasons:
Organic standards prohibit the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) for use in organic production. A crop with any detectable GMO contamination cannot be certified organic. Our domestic and international buyers require organic products that are GMO free.
1) All organic farmers use legumes as a soil-building component in their crop rotations. Alfalfa is a perfect legume for nitrogen fixation in the crop rotation for the majority of organic farms. To lose alfalfa in organic farm crop rotation would severely hamper our ability to maintain soil fertility and prevent soil erosion, which would harm the future of our soils health and sustainability.
2) Canadian organic livestock producers are in positioned for exponential growth. The release of GM alfalfa in Canada poses a threat to their ability to grow or buy GMO free hay or pellets. GMO free feed is necessary for the production of organic livestock. There is potential for huge damage to the organic hay, pellets and livestock markets.
3) If organic livestock production is adversely affected by the introduction of a genetically modified alfalfa, it goes without saying that the market for organic alfalfa seed for hay production would also be critically damaged.
4) There is a significant market, both domestic and export, for certified organic alfalfa seed for growing sprouts for human consumption. Consumers of alfalfa seed for sprouting prefer Canada’s high quality seed and reputation for clean organic products. This is a constantly growing market. The potential annual market loss if genetically modified alfalfa is introduced is over a half of a million pounds of alfalfa seed.
5) It will be impossible to prevent the spread of GM alfalfa beyond the fields that it is planted in for the following reasons:
6) import by several countries due to their rejection of GMO crops, food and feed. Alfalfa seed production has been a strong sector in Canadian agriculture, and will suffer losses in its market both within Canada and as an export crop, if genetically modified varieties are introduced.
7) Canada is the world’s largest exporter of alfalfa pellets and alfalfa cubes. We export 350,000 cubic meters of alfalfa pellets and 250,000 cubic meters of alfalfa cubes. A large portion of this export market would be lost if the alfalfa cubes and pellets contained genetically modified alfalfa.
8) The biotech industry claim of reduced pesticide use has not happened. In fact the opposite has happened. “Independent reports from the US show that since 1996, GM corn, soybean and cotton have resulted in an increase in pesticide use of 55 million kilograms.” (Mail & Guardian online, January 10, 2006)
Canadian agricultural producers are going through desperate times in recent years, often only keeping the farm afloat by pouring one or two off farm incomes into the farm. The single bright spot in Canadian agriculture is the vigour and continued growth of the organic sector. Organic agriculture has been growing by 10% or more annually, since it became a market force in the early 1980’s. In the US organics is now an annual $10 billion dollar food sector. (The Western Producer, December 29, 2005)
In conclusion the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate recommends that the Government of Canada support organic agriculture in Canada, by rescinding approvals for environmental release and for food and feed safety of genetically modified alfalfa, banning the importation of GM alfalfa or GM contaminated alfalfa into Canada, and prohibiting testing, commercial release or any other introduction of genetically modified alfalfa into Canada.