Farmer Richard Sithole Discusses Impact of Bt Maize on His Farm and Family
St. Louis, MO (PRWEB) July 29, 2008 -- In a new online video released today, South African farmer http://www.monsanto.com/biotech-gmo/asp/farmers.asp?cname=South%20Africa&id=RichardSithole [Richard Sithole] shares his family's experience farming genetically modified Bt maize. Since planting his first genetically modified Bt maize crop in 2000, Sithole has increased the size of his farm, increased his income, and improved his family's standard of living.
"The new kind of maize is important to me because I can grow enough to feed my family and also have some surplus leftover to sell," says Sithole, who, in 2000, farmed 25 acres (10 hectares) of land and today farms 37.5 acres (15 hectares). "Previously, I failed to make this farm produce as much as it could, but now, because I'm well equipped, I'm farming all of my hectares."
In 2007, approximately 57 percent of the total maize acreage in South Africa was planted to genetically modified maize. Including maize, soybeans and cotton, South African farmers grew more than 4 million acres (1.8 million hectares) of genetically modified crops in 2007 - almost 30 percent more acres than in 2006.
The adoption of genetically modified crops in South Africa has been progressive and steady over the last decade due to significant on-farm economic benefits. A 2008 study by Brookes and Barfoot estimates that South African farmers have increased their farm income by using genetically modified crops by US$156 million in the period 1998 to 2006.
"When I was using conventional maize, I was losing too much money because I had to buy chemicals to control insects like the corn borer. And, sometimes, when
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