n°27 - janvier 2002

Le maïs Bt est-il économiquement intéressant ?

Par Inf’OGM

Publié le 13/12/2001


Une étude de C. Benbrook (US Northwest Science and Environmental Policy Center), réalisée auprès d’agriculteurs ayant cultivé du maïs Bt entre 1996 et 2001, démontre que ces derniers ont perdu environ 92 millions de dollars. Cette perte est liée à la différence entre l’achat des semences Bt et le revenu des agriculteurs, et à l’opposition de l’Union Européenne à l’importation de ce maïs.

GMO Bt Corn Costs Farmers

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA, Press Release, December 13, 2001

GMO Bt Corn Costs Farmers

New Economic Analysis Finds Surprising Variability in Bt and Conventional

Corn Yields Price — A Poor Indicator of Performance

Minneapolis — Over the last six years, farmers who planted genetically

modified Bt corn have lost $92 million or an average of about $1.31 per

acre, according to the first farm-level economic analysis of the product.

« When Does It Pay to Plant Bt Corn : Farm-Level Economic Impacts of Bt Corn,

1996-2001 », is by Dr. Charles Benbrook of Benbrook Consulting Services. Dr.

Benbrook previously served as the Executive Director of the National

Academy of Science Board of Agriculture.

The report found that from 1996-2001, American farmers paid at least $659

million in price premiums to plant Bt corn, while boosting their harvest by

only 276 million bushels — worth some $567 million in economic gain. The

bottom line for farmers is a net loss of $92 million — about $1.31 per acre.

« On average, yield increases due to Bt corn have not increased farm income

enough to cover the higher costs of Bt seed », says Dr. Benbrook. « The jump

in per acre seed expenditures with Bt corn is by far the biggest in history

linked to a single new trait. »

Bt corn is genetically engineered to express the protein-based toxins of Bt

in plant tissues for the control of two Lepidopteran insects, the European

Corn Borer (ECB) and the Southwestern Corn Borer (SWCB). The economic value

of using Bt corn depends largely on whether infestation levels of ECB/SWCB

impact yields.

« We estimate that the U.S. has foregone about 350 million bushels of corn

export sales to the European Union since 1996/97 largely because the EU

doesn’t want GMOs », says Dan McGuire, of the American Corn Growers

Association (ACGA). « The findings of this report are part of a triple

negative for farmers : lost corn exports, lower corn prices and less net

profit from GMO (Bt) corn, which is why the ACGA cautions farmers on their

seed choices. »

« At this point, in most cases Bt corn doesn’Õt pay for farmers », says

Kristin Dawkins, of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy — a

member of Genetically Engineered Food Alert. « We hope this report helps

farmers get better numbers about the costs associated with GMO crops so

they can make informed planting decisions. »

This report is part of series being published by the Institute for

Agriculture and Trade Policy and Genetically Engineered Food Alert on

economic and legal issues related to genetically engineered crops.

Click here to read a four page summary of the report.



Click here to read the report in full.


showfile.cfm ?FileName=When_Does_It_Pay_To_Plant_Bt_Corn.pdf

Contact :

Ben Lilliston, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, +1-612-870-3416

Dr. Charles Benbrook, Benbrook Consulting Services, +1-208-263-5236

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