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However, NCFAP's report has been roundly criticized by some agricultural economists who believe the extra cost of biotechnology seeds is seldom offset by higher yields or lower growing costs.
While the NCFAP bills itself as a "non-advocacy research group," most of the funding for the study (except for initial support from the Rockefeller Foundation) came from the biotechnology industry: Monsanto, the Grocery Manufacturers Association of America, the Council for Biotechnology Information, the Biotechnology Industry Association and CropLife America.
This also means that it's good practice to view skeptically "think tanks" (like the NCFAP) that depend on support from industry.
But perhaps the NCFAP study was an exception: although industry-funded, it could be a careful, impartial analysis, as Stephen Strauss and William Thorsell of The Globe and Mail implied.
The NCFAP report estimates the yields, costs and pesticide usage of GE crops now in cultivation to determine the benefits they bring--at best, a highly uncertain exercise.
Estimating the benefits and costs of GE crops is a highly complex, uncertain business; the NCFAP authors, however, appear to believe it to be as simple as counting one's pocket change.
NCFAP researchers imply that their key results--that farmers increased yield, saved money and cut pesticide use by planting GE crops--contradict those of critics because they have taken into account more growing seasons.
The NCFAP researchers can hardly claim that they use a longer historical record when their numbers are based on fictional scenarios.
The NCFAP report is replete with unjustified methods and interpretations that determine its eventual conclusions.
NCFAP (National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy).
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