EU Farmers Ditch GM Crops

Industry data released on February 22nd is expected to confirm that farmers are abandoning GM crops in Europe, following a trend of increasing public rejection in the EU, said Greenpeace. The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), a biotech industry-funded body, will publish its annual report on the acreage of land planted with GM crops, showing continued decline in GM cultivation in Europe.

Official figures from the European Union show that in 2010, the GM maize cultivation acreage in the EU declined by 13% compared to the previous year. [1] ISAAA figures that will be released later today are expected to closely mirror this decline. The sharpest decline took place in Romania (-75% compared to 2009) and the Czech Republic (-28% compared to 2009). In 2009, the ISAAA had also reported a 12% EU-wide decline compared to 2008. [2]

The cultivation of Monsanto’s GM maize MON810 is currently banned in seven EU countries due to environmental and health risks. [3] Cultivation of Amflora, BASF’s antibiotic-resistant GM potato, the only other crop authorised in Europe since March last year, is restricted to only 268 hectares (or the equivalent of 375 football pitches) in Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic, with cultivation expected to decline to under 20 hectares in 2011. [4] Meanwhile, public rejection of GM crops in Europe has increased to 61%, according to EU polls. [5]

Greenpeace EU agriculture policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer said: “Today’s European data shows that GM crops are failing in the field and on the market. Farmers and consumers are not falling for biotech industry propaganda. GM crops are not more productive and are less resistant to extreme climate conditions than normal crops. They do however present a serious risk for our environment.”

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