By J. D. Heyes
The state of Hawaii has become the new battleground in the controversy regarding GMO crops and pesticides, according to a watchdog organization that monitors the industry.
With the crop seed industry — conventional as well as genetically modified crops — reaping some $146.3 million a year in sales from Hawaii-based farming activity, out-of-state pesticide and biotech firms like Monsanto, Syntenta, DuPont Pioneer, Dow Chemical, BASF and Bayer CropScience “have brought substantial sums of corporate cash into the state’s relatively small political arena,” reports the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch.
These “Big 6” firms have become very active on the islands, making use of the three to four annual growing seasons in the region’s moderate climate to develop new GMO seeds even more quickly. This development goes hand in hand with heavy pesticide use in some of the islands’ experimental crop fields, according to new data obtained by PR Watch:
Kaua’i County — consisting primarily of the island of Kaua’i, known as Hawai’i’s “Garden Isle” and home to Waimea Canyon State Park — passed a law in November 2013 that requires disclosure of pesticide use and GMO crops sewn by growers and created buffer zones around schools, parks, medical facilities, and private residences. The law is set to go into effect in August 2014.