Protests at a site of GE Novartis maize.
On the day of the trial announcement, the company that has tried
and failed to introduce GE crops to Europe said that it is
withdrawing its European cereal and seed business. This is a
retreat in the face of GE controversy in Europe and means that GE
wheat and barley is unlikely to be grown in Europe for the
Monsanto also faces strong opposition to its GE wheat elsewhere.
In North America both farmers and the wheat industry worry about
their markets. Meanwhile, the Canadian Wheat Board has threatened
to sue Monsanto in Canada if the company does not drop its plans to
introduce GE wheat. Numerous farmers' organizations and wheat
producers have put ads in Canadian newspapers in which they clearly
state: "We are not ready for Roundup Ready wheat". Roundup Ready is
Monsanto's trade name for its genetically modified wheat.
Monsanto says that it is ending its GE pharmaceutical crop
experiments. We look forward to the end of these dangerous field
trials and to the safe disposal of the experimental materials. We
hope others will follow also withdraw from this particularly
dangerous GE pharma-crop experiment.
It's been a bad few days all round for GE crops. Earlier this
week EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom accused US GE
companies of "trying to lie" and "force" unsuitable GM technology
on Europe. Exposing the myth that GE companies claim they are
developing crops to "feed the world" she said: "They tried to lie
to people, and they tried to force it upon people. It's the wrong
approach. You cannot force it upon Europe. So I hope they have
learnt a lesson from this, especially when they now try to argue
that this will solve the problems of starvation in the world and so
on. But come on ... it was to solve starvation amongst
shareholders, not the developing world."
Adding to the woes of the GE industry, two days ago the Southern
State of Parana in Brazil adopted a law that prohibits the
planting, commercialisation, processing and exports from its port
of Monsanto's GE soya.
The trials have vindicated our stance, and that of other
environmental groups, who have maintained that GE crops are harmful
to the environment and that the industry was promoting mythical
"These trials... clearly show that the alleged benefits of the
use of GE seeds do not exist. For years, the GE corporations have
been claiming that their crops would reduce weed killer use and
benefit wildlife. Now we know how wrong they are", said Dr. Doug
Parr, Science Director of Greenpeace in the UK.
We believe the real comparison should be between GE and organic
agriculture. But organic is so obviously better for the environment
that the GE industry refused point blank to have this included in
the trials. Instead, the trials compared one highly damaging form
of agriculture with one that's even worse.
GE crops are being pushed as the only solution to world hunger.
However there are different approaches to meeting the demand for
environmentally sustainable agriculture. One example comes from
China, where efforts to achieve ecological farming show a possible
solution which governments should explore. Angus Lam, an expert in
ecological farming for Greenpeace in China said: "The UK trials
make it clear that the world should close the door on GE for good.
GE food is not the solution to world hunger".
Today, together with around 80 other institutions and
organisations from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, we
launched the first Chinese
Farming Solutions website, which presents an array of
successful ecological farming stories from China. Governments
should ban risky GE crop trials and to support the real sustainable
solutions to world hunger.