Genetically Modified Soy Stirs Up Trouble in Argentina

Argentina’s adoption of genetically modified soy was touted as a big GM success story, propping up struggling farmers and the country’s sinking economy, but seven years later it is causing an environmental disaster, say researchers. The crop, sold by GM giant Monsanto, raised yields so quickly that it spread like a virus and now covers half the arable land in Argentina. Big farmers, eager to plant more, have driven some 150,000 small farmers off their land. The soy was bred to be resistant to Roundup, Monsanto’s patented herbicide. Problem is, the soy is so tenacious that it pops up where it doesn’t belong, prompting farmers to dump other, more powerful herbicides on it. This heavy herbicide use can screw up soil and devastate neighboring farms. Also worrying is the development of herbicide-resistant weeds. Monsanto denies that this cocktail of vicious cycles is the fault of the crop itself, instead placing the blame on monoculture — the planting of one crop to the exclusion of all others — something they were shocked, shocked to find Argentinean farmers engaging in.