Didebulidze, A.

Genetically modified crops and Georgian agriculture - Tbilisi (Georgia) CIMMYT : 2004 - p. 418-420 - Printed

Abstract only

Cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in the world increases from year to year, and, correspondingly increases the amount of genetically modified products on the world market (mainly, com, soybean, potato, etc., Table), among which there are products widely consumed in Georgia. It is clear, that modifying of agricultural crop genes, enables them to resist to various pests, diseases, rodents, and improves their validity time. However, it is desirable to carry out evaluation of the unforeseen revelation of genes, such as changes in nutritional value of the products, allergic or toxic reactions and forthcoming results, which seems quite complicated at the moment. On June 2, 1994 Georgia joined the Con- vention of Biodiversity and took the responsibility to protect diversity of ecosystem on its own territory thus supporting the global biodiversity maintenance. In addition, the country was authorized by Con- vention, as it does for member parties regarding the fair distribution of benefits from the genetic resources. In compliance with this Convention, Ge- orgia is responsible to regulate, control and reduce use of GMO's and their release into the surroun- ding world (This Convention is not yet ratified by Georgia). The Annex to this Convention -"Carta- gena Protocol on Biosafety under the Biodiversity Convention" -a single international document fully dedicated to the control of GMO's -is ratified in more than 50 countries and is in force. As of 2002 data, transgenic crops have been planted on 85 million hectares, which means that an 11 percent "standard" increase takes place in comparison with 2001. Among these: 45 percent falls at soy-bean production, 10 percent -at corn, 20 percent -at cotton and 11 percent- at raps. In the USA, the transgenic crops production is following: 75 percent falls at soybean, 34 percent -at corn and 71 percent -at cotton. Currently there is yet no legislation in Georgia in the sphere of genetic engineering and before adopting such law production of transgenic alive organisms and import is temporarily suspended, though, today it is necessary to elaborate the measures, which will ensure making the proper decisions in conducting the sound food policy for the population. Notwithstanding the food products safety control system, national procedure of risk assessment should be developed and a system of monitoring of safety of GMO food products should be introduced. We should in no way suggest that the GMO producers are interested in chaotic distri- bution of GMO: for instance, the Monsanto has developed the technology "Terminator," through which it make impossible to use the part of the yield as a seed material, and this is why it turns out this way, that every year one should address the Monsanto representatives. Nowhere in the world is appreciated production of genetically modified wheat or its use for human consumption, that in the USA and Canada through enormous funding (USD 500 million annually) wheat resistant to herbicides has been developed by Monsanto, its commercialization is planned to commence only in 2005. Does it actually mean that no genetically modified wheat is used on experimental plots? Of course, does not. In April of 2003, Germany met the request of Swiss firm Syngenta AG on trial of genetically modified wheat resistive to fungi "Fuzarios" on 400 square meters of plot in Turing; In 2002, farmers of Kamar, living in 50 kilometers far from Kabul, within the frames of Afghanistan recovery program, were provided with genetically modified seeds and the experimental plots yielded in triple harvest then usual; In 2003, they will be given 200 tons of this wheat for planting (it means to plant nearly 1000 hectares of land). It should be mentioned also, that, as declared by a representative of German Greens, Henning Strodthoff, today it is nearly impossible to distinguish the modified wheat from usual one (Reuters, 15.04.2003 : German Wheat Stopped after Sabotage ). It should be mentioned, that the US Wheat Associates, Inc. has obtained quite strict position in relation to the separate storage, transportation and export of genetically modified wheat (piterson, 2000), though it is linked with extra expenditures for cleaning of elevators, combines, underground shelters and coaches. It should be taken into account, that use of the part of the yield of geneticaIly modified crops is strictly prohibited and all buyers of GMO production sign an agreement about this. Monsanto has informed up to 400 farmers about, that legal cases will be raised against them. Most scientists consider the current generation of biotech products as safe to eat. The industry, noting that hundreds of millions of people have eaten genetically altered ingredients, argues that there has never been a convincing case of harm. Most environmental groups knowledge that to be true, but counter that there have been few long-term studies of the effects. They also argue that the products pose at least theoretical environmental risks that haven't been studied thoroughly. Consumer groups are tactically allied with the environmentalists, supporting the technology in principle but wanting a tougher regulatory system that answers safety and environ-mental questions more thoroughly before a new crop is commercialized.


Crop yield
genetically modified organisms
Pest control
Genetic resources


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