Genetically Engineered Cotton Fails in Indonesia

ISIS Press Release
Feb. 14, 2001

GM Cotton Fails in Indonesia

Contrary to Monsanto's claim, its GM cotton succumbed to drought
and insect attack while indigenous variety thrived, Mae-Wan Ho discovered
while on visit to Jakarta.

Monsanto planted 500 hectares of GM cotton within 9 districts of
Sulawesi, Indonesia in open field trials. This came to light when the
company invited journalists to one of the sites where it claimed the GM
cotton out-performed the indigenous variety planted side-by-side.
Konphalindo, a public interest organization dedicated to
environmental protection, demanded information from the Department of
Agriculture, especially the risk assessment required for approval of
the field trials. That was six
months ago. The Department of Agriculture provided no information on risk
assessment, despite repeated requests. Konphalindo wrote a letter to the top
national newspaper Kompas, which triggered investigations by its journalist.

It transpires that the GM cotton failed to out-perform the indigenous
variety in all but one of the 9 districts. Worse yet, the GM cotton
succumbed to drought and the brown hopper. Vivid photographs showed the
browned-out GM cotton field next to the lush green field of
indigenous cotton, which is resistant to both drought and the brown
hopper. One of the photos appeared in Kompas (8 Feb.) under the
headline, "GM cotton in Sulawesi Suspected Illegal". Hira Jhamtani,
founder of Konphalindo,
said, "If Monsanto hadn't boasted of their success, we would never have
found this out. We suspect that no safety assessment had been carried out
at all."

Konphalindo had earlier halted the commercialization of Monsanto's
GM cotton with the help of information provided by ISIS, which drew attention
to a strongly worded advice against the approval of Monsanto's GM cotton
given by UK Government scientists. They warned of antibiotic resistance
genes that would make gonorrhoea untreatable (see "Monsanto's GM Cottons &
Gonorrhoea", ISIS Press Release)

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