Study: Non-GM Soy More Sustainable Than GM Soy

shutterstock_147129197The development of GM strains of certain crops was based on the idea that they can become more profitable and sustainable compared to conventional crops. Their advantages and benefits should far outweigh than of cultivating natural strains. In some cases GM may provide such advantages based on what they can offer to farmers. But a study shows that using a non-GM crop in the case of soy may prove to be more sustainable than using its GM counterpart.

According to a study involving Brazilian non-GM and GM soybean meal chains, cultivating non-GM soybean is found to be more sustainable than the GM soybean chain. The study involved an indicator-based approach for benchmarking products in terms of their sustainability. The researchers measured profitability of both chains adjusted for the negative externalities of production as a way to come up with a single metric for benchmarking products by virtue of their relative sustainability. The adjusted profit differences were then evaluated and assessed using the Bennet Total Factor Productivity or TFP indicator as well as the Total Price Recovery or TPR indicator to identify areas for potential sustainability.

The results of the evaluation and comparisons indicate that the non-GM soybean meal chain is more sustainable than the GM chain with higher adjusted profit as a result of a higher TFP and favorable prices. Sustainability issues that were factored into the assessment included profitability, global warming potential, farm worker toxicity, environmental toxicity, consumer toxicity, deforestation, loss of employment and others. Quantity differences include the lower use of biocides in the non-GM chain. Main price difference is associated with the price premium paid per ton for non-GM soybean meal, indicating a consumer preference for non-GM products.

While the study involved only Brazil, a comparative analysis for sustainability performance can also be done in the future to include other major soybean meal producers like the US, Argentina, China as well as Brazil.
Source: GM Watch

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