EU farmers ditch GE crops

Industry figures show drop in cultivation

Press release - February 25, 2011
Industry data released this week confirms that farmers are abandoning genetically-engineered (GE) 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, published its annual report on the acreage of land planted with GE crops, showing continued decline in GMO (genetically-modified organisms) cultivation in Europe.

Official figures from the European Union show that in 2010, the GE maize cultivation acreage in the EU declined by 13% compared to the previous year. [1] ISAAA figures 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 GE maize MON810, which is approved in the Philippines, 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 authorized 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 GE crops in Europe has increased to 61%, according to EU polls. [5]
 
Greenpeace Southeast Asia Sustainable Agriculture campaigner Daniel Ocampo said: “GE crops are failing in the field and on the market. Farmers and consumers are not falling for GMO industry propaganda. GE 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. “Greenpeace is calling on the Philippine government to ban genetic engineering of all food crops in the country. Only by halting the further entry and approvals of genetically engineered food crops can the DA achieve its goal of food security and sustainable agriculture in the country.”
 
 
Notes to Editor
 
[1] See tables in
 http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/press-centre/press-releases2/eu-farmers-ditch-gm-crops-22-02-11
[2] ISAAA, global status of commercialized biotech/GM Crops: 2009. By Clive James, ISAAA brief 4, pp. 181-182.
[3] Countries with a ban on MON810 are: Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Luxembourg and Bulgaria.
[4] http://www.basf.com/group/pressrelease/P-11-142
http://www.foodprocessing-technology.com/news/news109205.html
[5] Special Eurobarometer 341 - 73.1 on Biotechnology.http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_341_en.pdf

Contact Details:
Daniel Ocampo, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner, +63917 8976416, (632) 332 1807 loc 112,
AC Dimatatac, Media Campaigner, +63917 8686451, (632) 332 1807 loc 121,

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