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June 16, 2000


Yield in Traditional Agriculture; GM Soybean; Iceland Control of


ArialFrom: Wayne Parrott

Subject: Re: shiva - postscript


I teach a course on tropical agriculture, and I take students down to

Central America, where they get first-hand exposure to Mayan

First, Shiva's yield information is sort of correct-- 2 t/ha for

Mexico; but yields are half that in the heartland of the Maya area

(Guatemala). By comparison, maize yields in the USA can be 6 times

than those in Mexico.

Secondly, Shiva does not factor in the amount of soil erosion and soil

fertility losses that traditional Mayan agriculture can impose. This

from the practice of burning fields prior to planting, and planting on

steep slopes with large spacing between plants.

These areas are expanding yield by expanding the area under

rather than by expanding yield per unit area. The amount of

that is going on in Central America is amazing. Given that the cloud

rain forests of Central America are among the most biodiverse in the

the loss is self-evident.

Other problems are equally self-evident. Almost every bean plant is

infected with bean golden mosaic virus, and the stored maize is

with aspergillus-- hence traditional Maya populations have a high level

exposure to aflatoxin.

I must say that I have never seen maize planted with alternating rows

legumes. So if anyone is doing that, it is not common. Normally the

plants are planted at the base of the corn stalk, and allowed to grow

the corn plant. The biggest trend I see is abandoning maize in favor

higher-value crops for export, such as broccoli and snow pea.

At 10:48 AM 6/16/00 -0500, you wrote:

>In Mayan agriculture (both traditional and modern), squash is

>grown as a ground cover between rows of other crops that include


Posted to: Biotech Activists Group (biotech_activists@iatp.org)

By: RBBAX@aol.com

Now that Bill Gates is investing heavily in biotech, and is now

biotech foods, I for one will be boycotting Microsoft products

possible until he wises up. Anyone care to join me?

Ron Baxter




From: "PALLAS, NORMAN R [AG/1000]" <

Subject: RE: Proof that GM soy doesn't deliver

Sorry for the late submission to this discussion. Others have already

addressed the issue of yeild variation with growing area quite

However, there is a remaining issue, the mis-characterization of

as a poison. Yes, glyphosate is poisonous ONLY to green plants.

glyphosate has been demonstrated to be less toxic to humans than

Can you say that of 'Chlorox' bleach? How about 'Drain-O', gasoline (

any of a wide variety of over-the-counter drugs? OR even alcohol.

Additionally, glyphosate biodegrades completely in a matter of days,
not so

many of the 'natural' herbicides and pesticides used in 'organic'

Would someone like to begin a discussion of the relative toxicity of

'natural' crop protection aids vs traditional? Also, the use of

trans-genetic crops REDUCES the need for traditional aids, AND enables

no-till farming, thereby reducing soil erosion. Does anyone recall the

problems caused by poor farming technique and desertification? Mr.

Williamson, you are clearly driven by something other than facts and

Dr. N. R. Pallas

Senior Scientist



-----Original Message-----

>From: Marcus Williamson <

>Subject: Proof that GM soy doesn't deliver

>Proponents of GM food, such as yourselves, have been trying to tell

>that one of the reasons for accepting GM is to feed the world's



Times Re:
Henry Miller; More Trewavas & Mae-Wan Ho; More

Times Fri,
16 Jun 2000 12:34:04 AM Eastern Daylight Time

Times Tom
Zinnen at BioTrek <

Henry Miller describes a situation similar to what I tend to call

Rearranging the Furniture."

If two people are re-arranging furniture, and one is the 'pointer' and

other is the 'mover', it's easier and faster for the pointer to point

where one would like the furniture than it is for the mover to move it.

It's also much less tiring to change one's mind than to change the

location of one's couch. Likewise, it's easier to change one's

negotiating position when the other person is doing all the

eventually you start to wonder if the motive of the pointer wasn't to

rearrange the furniture but rather to exhaust the mover.

I think it may also be called "negotiating in bad faith."


Thomas M. Zinnen, PhD

BioTrek: A Science Outreach Program

of The Biotechnology Center &

of The Environmental Health Sciences Center

University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension

425 Henry Mall

Madison, WI 53706

zinnen@macc.wisc.edu, www.biotech.wisc.edu

608/265-2420, fax 608/262-6748=20

Tollfree 1-877-BioTrek (1-877-246-8735)

>From: "Henry I. Miller" <=20

>Subject: Why Can't We All Get Along?

>Jens Katzek wonders why those who embrace and those who oppose the

>biotechnology can't make common cause for the good of mankind. Part


From:" Toby' H D Bradshaw"

> From: Tom DeGregori <

> Subj: Cheers for Alex Avery's - Vandana Shiva Antoinette: 'Let 'em

> Weeds!


> possibly even impossible. Could I post the question to the botanists

> and biologists whether this 20 tons claim (in the composition that

> gives) is within the limits of what is theoretically possible and if

> so, how close to the limits is it? Second, does anyone on this list

A charitable explanation would be that she was reporting a wet weight

yield. By that (questionable) standard, sugarcane is the world's

crop! It is obviously not a realistic way to compare yield, though.

Toby Bradshaw | (206)616-1796 (voice)

College of Forest Resources | (206)685-2692 (FAX)

University of Washington | http://poplar2.cfr.washington.edu/toby


From: "John Mottley"

Hi all,

Does anyone have an opinion on the recent declaration by the food

giant 'Iceland' that it is to buy up 40% of the world's organic

produce to sell in it's stores. Does anyone think it could lead to

their stated aim of bringing organic food prices down to the level of

conventional produce. But what are the implications?

Isn't this an example of corporate control of the organic food chain?

Is big business, smelling the sweet smell of huge profits, now

making a move? Why aren't the organic lobby up in arms about it,

like they are with GM? And wouldn't it 'deprive' the rest of the world,

where Iceland doesn't trade, of organic produce, sending up prices?

With best regards,

John Mottley,

University of East London.

('We are born naked, wet, and hungry.Then things get worse').



ArialRecently Agrow
reports recent "World Agrochemical Markets" study highlights the "key

findings" that:

"The US agrochemical market, the largest in the world, grew by a total

68% between 1990 and 1998 to reach $8.9 billion, but in 1999 growth

reduced by the popularity of GM crops..." at the same time Agrow

"France, the largest European market, has shown consistent growth over

past five years, and agrochemical sales are now valued at $1.986

More evidence that in the U.S., both farmers and consumers, are

from a trend of reducing dependence on chemical use in farming through

biotechnology, while Europe continues to see growth in their chemical

farming dependence...